A Neighbor’s Garden

Charles lives across from our large community mailbox cluster. With his friendliness, he probably knows many in our neighborhood from seeing us get our mail, daily.

Like many properties here, his is an attractive home and landscape with many native and adapted plants, plus some interesting accents.

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Near his driveway, a trio of Texas Sage with Ocotillo, gold Lantana, and a growing number of volunteer Damianita march up his sidewalk edge.

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An El Paso native, but a Las Cruces transplant over 3 years, must have a tribute to the state bird: the roadrunner. The real thing or something manmade representing our unique bird can be found everywhere.

This one made of metal, wears a bandana normally reserved for coyote art!

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I forgot to take overall photos of his landscape; odd for me. The Rudbeckia are in full bloom by his front door. And a jackrabbit; this area has more of the real thing than even roadrunners.

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Both of his dogs followed us around!

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Geraniums in various colors are in pots – medium pots, small pots, in front, and in back.

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Of course, he has quite the view to soak it all in on his back patio, over a glass of wine. No wine for me this time.

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I also didn’t get photos of his side area, though it’s what I see the most getting my mail. That planting includes strictly natives from our area including Soaptree, Ocotillo, Lechuguilla, and many Hedgehog and Claret Cup cacti. Next time.

But inside, on the way to his back patio, are some masses of plants like white and pink Gaura, or individuals of others like Desert Olive and Flame Acanthus.

I did tell Charles that I’ll help him with pruning his desert olives into the dwarf trees they want to become!

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Front Fun Before Driving Home

When I lived in El Paso a few years, I was surprised how many landscapes were different than in Las Cruces – 45 minutes away and only 200 feet elevation difference.

Driving down often from Albuquerque for business, and for years, all three places seemed more similar.

The differences became obvious only by living in each. Before leaving El Paso, I saw a few landscapes with no prying eyes around.

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That front yard near my “fortress” project caught my eye. I get the need for unity and raising up interest to eye level, and I think El Paso does that well. But a pair of golden barrels potted all over the front isn’t registering.

I used to like Echinocactus grusonii, until I saw that was the Phoenix-default cactus on two trips this past spring. Stop it already, El Paso.

But not to worry, Paso del Norte region climatology will stop it.

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The last photo is for someone in Orange County CA, who has expressed their “love” for Washingtonia robusta. That’s what happens to the majority at 4500 feet elevation here, about every 20 years. She could only be so lucky!

While I’ve seen worse use of W. robusta, it’s a canyon tree and fails without the right context or climate. El Paso climate 3 – Baja California flora 0.

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Now, let’s pick on or pick out good from one of my nearby designs. Done under an extreme and counterproductive, architect-driven rush. Like a .357 magnum to my head in one hand, but with some bundles of money in the other hand, for me if I can take it.

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See why I go to Dasylirion wheeleri as my default accent plant? All the softening Melampodium leucanthum and Viguiera steneloba are gone – facilities or contractor-driven Roundup or pulling.

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The chainlink fencing, decided upon before I was hired to locate it properly, kept this revegetation area from becoming a moonscape.

See, it’s all good!

Seeding plus salvaged Fouquiera splendens, Yucca torreyi, and Agave lechuguilla are doing their thing and protected from “the treatment”.

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So are Fallugia paradoxa, Dasyochloa pulchellum, and other natives.

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And of course, Chilopsis linearis volunteers along sidewalks, through evil chainlink fencing, and about anywhere stormwater soaks in. And those blooms!

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Ending my drive-by landscape critique on the way home, the usual native plant suspects do what I envisioned, though the desert willows are stunted for some reason. Of course, the flowering, herbaceous plants are long-gone…..

But the blue-green of the sotols, with that curve of red wall tiles, is just what I ordered.

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Yowza!

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Seen On the Way to My Other Work

I first drove past this landscape in 2011. I was amazed at the sheer amount of mostly spiky plants used. Since, the owner has only added more and grouped some plants differently.

In face, this is where I sometimes park to do construction observation work at a nearby residence.

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Potted Yucca recurvifolia and Hesperaloe parviflora, in-ground a specimen Agave salmiana, a Ferocactus wislizeni, and some Yucca thompsoniana clumps.

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This looks striking as always against tiled, Mexican-Mediterranean hybrid architecture seen occasionally in a few higher end neighborhoods in El Paso.

My main question is the use of so much large rock much instead of something finer textured or smaller in size? That would allow many plants to show up more. Also, sunken grades might help hold in water to benefit the plants and still provide terrain interest.

I cropped out the hose, but hand-watering by hose might be the irrigation method over drip. I’m not sure.

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Echinocactus grusonii overload, of course. Some Yucca faxoniana appear in back, to add height and show well against the home’s shady portal.

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On the east side, there are some great examnples of Opuntia engelmannii and O. lindheimeri growing among Dasylirion wheeleri and Agave parryi.

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And more golden barrels and yuccas.

Even a Larrea tridentata is growing against the wall, it’s wispy form adding softness to the sharp Yucca thompsoniana or Y. rostrata. And more E. grusonii.

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In this spot, I can’t tell if the greener sotol is Dasylirion leiophyllum or D. acrotrichum. And what looks like a relative of Yucca faxoniana, though some will attribute the smaller head to Y. torreyi…too even of foliage growth for the latter, methinks.

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I really enjoy this landscape, ahead of many with vast lawns and mesic plants. A few houses in this neighborhood are starting to update their front yards with lower water-use and native plants.

This landscape is already there, and then some.

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8/20/18 weather:
96F / 73F / T or 36c / 23c / T