Native, Annual Grass

I need to confirm with my next-door neighbor and his rain gauge, just how wet it’s been in 2017. My guess is at least 10 inches of rain, which is over 2 inches or 25% above average, but for the entire year – and we have 2 months left.

Below, the same tan grass now was a green carpet over most every hill here.

Six Weeks Grama / Bouteloua barbata is a common, native annual grass in the southwest.

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We had another 1 inch or even more in a late night downpour and more lightning than I’ve seen in a couple years. But no matter how much falls, Six Weeks Grama will not re-germinate – the temperatures are cooling into fall levels, and that grass only seems to germinate in late summer and no other time.

As long as native grasses don’t grow too rangy or leggy in key areas, I just assume keep them for aesthetics and function.

Even as an annual, this grama does a good job holding in the loose soils here with their roots, while gravel mulch can only cover the soil and soften the blows of wind and hard rain. Gravel cannot root.

My fingers are crossed for restraint in such areas.

The tan really creates a good visual contrast to the greens of Yucca faxoniana and Larrea tridentata.

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Sometimes Leaving It Alone…

Most landscape architects cannot control every aspect of a project once it leaves their hands on the design board, installation or maintenance.

Only an exceptional client works more collaboratively.

Yet sometimes those who direct or allow poor maintenance take a break. Hopefully a permanent one!

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After several years and the 2011 freeze, the ‘Sierra Sweet’ Acacia trees died and were replaced with Screwbean Mesquite. Many of the golden Turpentine Bush died, and I’ve heard over-watering was the culprit throughout this project.

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There certainly are signs of over-watering in parts of the project, such as a Pampas Grass volunteer in one parkway section. But there are other signs there is little to no over-watering in many other places.

So, on irrigation issues, I don’t know for sure.

And what I notice the most is despite some grasses and shrub volunteers that aren’t removed to preserve the design intent, this section is holding together.

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The mixed gravel  mulch sizes now look more natural.

The Turpentine Bush here remains, and it should serve as a model for replacing the same species downhill, which are now dead.

I would hope regard for maintenance could take over. But I have to enjoy what I can from this, while it lasts.

10/18/17 weather: 81 / 55 / 0.00

Bold Flora and Fauna in Marfa

On my first morning’s walk, I found no fresh croissants or anything baked at Farmstand Marfa. Not in the mood for tamales at breakfast either.

This car and the wall with evenly-spaced Salvia plants compensated.

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I like the car’s color, though I often see drivers of these Chargers act like too many who have European sports cars and SUVs…no turn signal, cutting corners, and all things offensive.

But for this post, I’ll trust they’re much better than that!

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Any ID on this Salvia? Anyone? Email me if you know!

Salvia penstemonoides was one guess emailed to me, but that one’s flowers are reddish.

Another online search reveals this could be a variety of Salvia leucantha / Mexican Bush Sage. Given the garden wall is about 36″ tall including the cap, my vote is it is not one of the dwarf varieties.