The Edge: Change and Repeat

The edge is key when designing a space. When maintenance fails or rabbits defy the rabbit-proof plant lists, something must provide interest to movement.

Even in a car, even with our huge skies, repeated Dasylirion wheeleri provide rhythm out in front of the hills of creosote.


Fouquieria splendens provide strong vertical accents, using seed-grown plants specified from Mountain States nursery. Extra humidity and periodic soaking rains in the monsoon season keep ocotillos leafed out, making the vertical masses even stronger.

Small Agave neomexicana punctuate curb edges. Even with the original wildflowers “gone”, they grow in spiky balls.


The agaves at the edge with cactus and seeded grasses stop, as endless Larrea tridentata and median plants fade in along the road’s rise. Then a change to other accents, then another change, and repeat, is how appealing streetscapes are often designed.

More Dasylirion wheeleri, Leucophyllum zygophyllum, and Aristida purpurea clumps accented with Yucca faxoniana continue uphill.

This area was limited in plant choices that won’t mature to block neighboring homes’ views towards the left – east to the Organ Mountains. Hence no trees anywhere on the climb.


Other successful parts of this streetscape you haven’t seen are next.

8/9/17 weather: 93 / 69 / 0.00

Better Than Median

I became distracted on the way to my hike, since I waited too long to depart, and the sun was now up. Why?

Forms first, then flowering.


A windows and sunroof down morning, and the iPhone is ready.

Apparently, some desert plant freak who wants to turn Albuquerque I mean Las Cruces into Phoenix landscape architect designed medians, where the monsoon season is bringing out an unexpected surprise in the way of flowers.

I plead guilty, except the “…who – – – Phoenix…” part.

Others’ slighting of me aside, Yucca faxoniana, Leucophyllum zygophyllum ‘Cimarron’Agave neomexicana, and Aristida purpurea do the trick. But now, the 2nd plant is stealing the show.


A recheck of my plans is in order, as I’m almost certain my design had a mass of purple in the background median, not a few. Like how my low entry wall was deleted…

I never did get in more than a mile of walking, before the best, more rugged and workout parts. I had to go home and get ready for work. Next time!

8/5/17 weather: 92 / 65 / 0.00

Unpruned Abundance

While our sun is as fiercely hot as ever, temperatures are cooling and the humidity is up. So are the flowers.

You’ll notice none of these plants have been sheared into submission, even one with too little space!


Calliandra x Sierra Starr above (?), Leucophyllum below.


And the most common here, plain-old Leucophyllum frutescens. They even smell good.


Their fleeting presence in extreme temperatures and dryness can keep flowers from being the backbone of a desert southwest landscape. But as flowers respond to our seasonal weather cycles, flowers are one of the best impacts, though brief.

8/3/17 weather: 91 / 67 / 0.00