Hospital: Daytime This Time

A coworker has accompanied me every few weeks to bustling El Paso, so I can take care of some wrap-up work.

Combined with barbecue at 2 restaurants, dinner time trips caused too many late arrivals here to see much. This time was a morning trip to close out bank accounts, so I finally saw my work in daylight.

Without overplanting, this new landscape is thin. Some looks good…

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…some other plants and many grasses not so good, the daytime arrival under a scorching May sun revealed the brown, bad news.

And poorly-placed signage added to a few changes. Striping seems less obtrusive, until the owner implements their wayfinding consultant’s excellent signage

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Out the canopy-shaded walkway to the front doors, the Salvia clevelandii are already growing in to soften the Yucca rostrata.

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So Cal: meet the Texas Big Bend. This side was barely interesting to me originally.

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It now may be my favorite spot there; the curtain wall effect with the simple yucca and shrub grouping is better than I envisioned.

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Oh yeah, Hueco boulders and yuccas. Or, I need to branch out more from using scenes from desert hikes and mountain biking.

Finally, I’m including my plant lists…

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The clouds are mostly where I had to change some symbols that my CAD program didn’t generate at the correct size.

Salvia clevelandii again –

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The break patio, some more concrete seat walls. And after the monsoon season, time to prune up the Forestiera neomexicana.

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The mostly unoccupied medical office building (MOB) has this great razor-like entry canopy.

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It’s flanked on either side by a spare but purposed green ribbon between a tree grove for shade…Prosopis glandulosa trees and Baccharis x starn groundcovers.

And a rhythm of Dasylirion wheeleri of course, every 12 feet or so.

The bump-outs use many Hueco boulders filled in with spikier or flowering desert plants: Agave parryi ‘Estrella’, Chrysactinia mexicana, Fouquieria splendens, and Dasylirion wheeleri included.

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And out via the service road, with a swale and Sporobulus wrightii along it. Plus Larrea tridentata, Fouquieria splendens, an Agave lechuguilla beyond the swale, to tie in with the desert background.

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The blank area between the grasses and curb is an 8 foot wide, future walking path. I prefer compacted, small crushed gravel – I’m sure the owner will do pricier concrete.

I’m showing some of the good parts; I’ll try and follow up sometime with some odd plant issues I saw driving onto the project.

5/16/17 weather: 76 / 55 / T

Civic Space 101: Filling In at JUTEP

That’s actually UTEP for “the University of Texas at El Paso”, but this region’s “border Spanish” makes “U” and “Y” have a noticeable “J” sound. I may have heard “jucca” said as much as “yucca” during 2+ decades at this region’s jobsites.

Our area’s largest showcase of native plants in a public garden is at year 3. That age often marks when a garden gets much better.

By Ten Eyck’s office, visited by me last weekend:

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Without several hours to spend, I try to start in a different place depending on the lighting – this was late afternoon.

The clean, walkable, and permeable groundplane of decomposed granite isn’t kitchen floor enough for some, but it has multiple benefits. Sound of footsteps included.

An excellent massing of plants and hardscape to take it all in.

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Those are Hesperaloe x ‘Pink Parade’, a hybrid of old, massive favorite H. funifera and more common H. parviflora. Agave ovatifolia is in the background, seeming to float on the aggregate.

Onto one of my favorite accent plants, with those tall, almost comical bloom stalks – Yucca pallida.

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Looking the other way, away from the dinner theatre, below R is a mass of H. parviflora ‘Brakelights’.

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Fallugia paradoxa are overgrowing the yuccas; not sure that was the intent, so I asked Ten Eyck herself a couple years ago on a conference wrap-up visit.

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A sunken placita (mini-plaza) with Nolina greenei under the young trees, as retaining seat walls take advantage of the grade change.

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Do those pricey Kornegay pots look worth it, like they do to me? Of course, it helps using hardy, effective Dasylirion quadrangulatum inside them.

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And on the other entry of the same Psychology building, these steps.

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More Dasylirion quandrangulatum in the planters along the stairs, plus other native and adapted plantings. Something like that at NMSU and especially UNM would completely overcome past ways.

A low area with water harvesting below one of many outcroppings of andesite rock, and voila – Gaura lindheimeri.

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Closing out with series of seat walls, providing a layering effect going downhill.

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More vigorous Apache Plume taking over.

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A hike a few days later showed my sentimental favorite cactus, Opuntia engelmannii, in bloom.

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A number of Echinocactus horizonthalonius were blooming, too.

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Have a good rest of the weekend!

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5/13/17 weather: 91 / 64 / .00

The Power of Green

My land is one of brown to olive shades and accented by blue-greens, under big blue skies and sun. It can be stark. Yet gardens can tap into the beautiful power of place by emphasizing that.

I learned to run when a prospective client gets that in nature, then switches into a belief that gardens need many flowers.

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Hesperaloe funifera, with Agave bracteosa and A. parryi var. truncata L…Yucca pallida and Zephyranthes candida R

Even a few attractive flowers, but it took some “wetter” weather periods to grow those. Don’t fixate on the flowers.

Green, earth-toned stucco, and indirect light = a desert trio.

Mid-winter frames the building entry to our local state park. In a bosque ecology being restored along the Rio Grande, there were and are no bold plants native.

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Nolina greenei in both containers

To bring interest, gray and brown forbs or dormant grasses won’t work. Nor would beds of winter pansies or summer lantanas be authentic to compliment the pueblo revival architecture.

The designer borrowed from where similar grassy forms, but evergreen, tend to dominate – mountain edges, also fairly hot and dry. Containers elevate more to eye-level, and provide drainage that can lack along the river’s floodplain soils.

It works and no flowers.

5/5/17 weather: 90 / 57 / .00