Streetscape in Spring

Between my hikes and home, I was finally able to spend some time admiring spring growth of one old streetscape design.

It lies within the Doña Ana County street right-of-way, leading to a private development.

.

Evening, 5/6/20:

Some views of where ornamental planting meet revegetation seeding and planting on the parkway.

All of this scene except some of the medians include 100 percent native species*, which combine better than I ever imagined. That’s partly due to some very-appreciated maintenance thinking and deeds.

Plants except the seeding and median yuccas were installed from seed-grown plants as specified, which have matured mightily.

Those desert sunsets, a clean and dry finish to the day

.

Morning, 5/7/20:

The first view, evergreen and bold, with an openness to distant landmarks

There’s something about cool, dry mornings and low, softer light.

I think it relates to a colleague’s telling me how our thoughts and planning peak in the morning hours. Here it’s a fresh view of the expansive terrain and landmarks.

Even a few remaining Penstemon superbus are left, being colonized by Aristida purpurea. I wonder what grew in the now-open area

The Dasylirion wheeleri march on, and then the Ericameria laricifolia march along.

The blank ground under the Dermatophyllum secundiflorum ‘Silver Sierra’ mirrors the payment for my design and drafting of the pilaster-gate combo.

Rhus lanceolata adds a needed tree element.

Its mature height doesn’t violate those ever-crucial viewshed requirements throughout the greater community, including this development or my own block one half-mile away.

Hope is always important, and not only hoping what’s good about the maintenance keeps going.

Rather, I hope that the next wet period occurs during warm not cold temperatures, and the contractor doesn’t shape the Leucophyllum for at least a few weeks after. May it all coincide, so those poor shrubs enduring months of heat will blossom forth.

More Spring Flowering near My Home

(I forgot to publish this post, so we’ll whiplash back 2 months)

Here are more images of spring coming on around my block in the hills west of the Mesilla Valley.

Some people believe the Las Cruces area has no seasons, claiming “it’s always summer” or other oddities. Such provincial bias and negativity isn’t helpful. It’s better to embrace the annual cycle of our moderate 3-1/2 seasons. Spring often comes early but leaves early, too.

Spring is the 2+ months between our “winter-light” and summer, mild and increasingly dry though windy at times. Photos through 4/2/20:

.

Texas Mountain Laurel / Dermatophyllum secundiflorum puts on a show in a more clipped but free-form garden of mostly arid-region native plants such as a mass of gray Texas Sage.

Dermatophyllum_secundiflorum-Leuc Shape PH1-SML

.

Near-native Parry’s Penstemon / Penstemon parryi, some possibly crosses with nearby P. superbus, grace and bounce in the breezes around Pulque Agave / Agave salmiana.

Agave_salmiana_Penstemon2-PH_2020-04-02-SML

Across the street from the home with the Texas Mountain Laurel, is this attractive pergola softens the garage, covered with a relative to that neighboring plant: the more common Wisteria / Wisteria sinensis.

Wisteria_sinensis-PH_2020-04-02-SML

.

A few blocks away, an Oklahoma Redbud / Cercis reniformis is at peak bloom. Merging an irrigated lawn and non-thirsty ocotillos and cacti, it’s happy.

Cercis_canadensis_reniformis-PH_2020-03-25-SML

.

These 2 species of quince are not common today or in Las Cruces, but this home dates back to when they may have been used more. This Flowering Quince / Chaenomoles speciosa is in a neighbor’s front garden area.

Chaenomeles_speciosa-PH2_2020-03-25-SML
Chaenomeles_speciosa-PH1_2020-03-25-SML
Chaenomeles_speciosa-PH3_2020-03-25-SML

Stepping out of my car, I got to meet my neighbor Bruce, who lives here with his wife. They retired here from Phoenix.

.

Japanese Flowering Quince / Chaenomoles japonica has a more pale, scarlet flower.

Chaenomeles_japonica-PH2_2020-03-25-SML
Chaenomeles_japonica-PH1_2020-03-25-SML
Chaenomeles_japonica-PH3_2020-03-25-SML

.

I’ll get back on track with upcoming posts, or in other words, catch up to early summer. Though not without a few flashbacks to this spring.

The Drive: Exit into Tucson

I’ve admired many landscape designs along the freeways and arterial streets in Arizona’s two largest cities for decades.

A critical mass in their horticultural community gets sense, place, and designing for traffic speeds. Photos from 12/22/19:

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 01-SML

This is the first time I exited onto West St. Mary’s Road. Always informative and fun, colleague and friend Scott Calhoun suggested meeting at a parked food truck for lunch.

Since I arrived early and Scott was riding from afar, I had extra time. Burger King was good for a free parking space, so I walked the rest of the way.

ADOT designed some attractive concrete accents at the bridges.

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 07-SML

There’s no shortage of cyclists in Tucson. One cyclist on a mountain bike…

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 02c-SML

Desert Willow / Chilopsis linearis above a mass of Beargrass / Nolina microcarpa makes a pleasing vignette while waiting for the light to change. Both are seriously bulletproof species in a wide part of the southwest.

And the other cyclist on a road bike…

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 02a-SML

.

I’ll work back to how I exited I-10. Room for plants to mature.

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 02b-SML

Regarding a request to see more Las Cruces pics on my blog, which I’ve shown many, I replied, “I have more to post on Arizona because there is more good arid-region design and plantsmanship in a few blocks of Tucson or Phoenix than in a mile of Las Cruces and El Paso or 2-3 miles of Albuquerque.”

These huge, almost trailing gray shrubs are…Texas Ranger / Leucophyllum spp. During the monsoon season, I’m sure many locals or visitors are very impressed.

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 04b-SMLTucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 04a-SML

They are spaced well for rhythm, as are their masses for structure. No need to design 3 times as many plants for immediate effect, only to later remove half or more. Or shear into muffins, cylinders, boxes, …

Occasional accents were tucked in, but one must be stopped to appreciate them. Or rolling the dice by walking along the right shoulder, protected only by a curb.

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 05a-SML

A minor detail, but some different massing of plants away from the yuccas, then placement of the occasional yucca further from those masses, especially from the drivers’ direction, would have shown off the planting better.

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 05b-SML

A few Texas Olive / Cordia boissierii were used, but those were off to the right side and not too visible.

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 06-SML

.

It’s time to walk back, to join my cyclist / plant nerd friend for some lonche.

This ocotillo had a hard night, yet it’s still trying to hang on by blooming.

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 10b-SML

Now, I’m stumped…

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 10a-SML

.

The color combos work, but I’m stumped at the tallish Dasylirion mass in front of the interesting design motif at the corner.

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 01b-SML

The plants appear to protect the artistry from taggers, yet they block a large portion of it from view.

I’m standing taking this, so that’s not far off the height of a typical pickup truck or SUV driver. Though perhaps the art is more visible from a Bubba Truck height?

No matter it’s still very appealing.

 

An inlet shows where passive water harvesting was employed, to allow storm water from the street to soak into the median plantings.

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 03-SML

.

Both of us showed up for lunch for one of the best tortas I’ve had. And we’re wearing short sleeves in late December!

Tucson Frwy Intersect_I-10 St Mary 08-SML