Cram-it: El Paso Edition

Last fall, I returned from a rattled mountain bike ride to zip by a home landscape I’d only seen once before. Lo and behold, it’s the home of a local architect, but so different than her office – architecture or garden.

Then again, can’t office and home be related, yet complimentary?

Martina sketched this out about a decade ago, with plants installed over time and edited since – edits are part her ideas / part weather extremes. Her goal was to create a Mediterranean cottage garden, and much is layered and crammed in here – in a good way. She has to do all her maintenance due to the usual lack of horticultural expertise – though no shortage of lame excuses by those who should know better – but she enjoys the mellow, restorative work involved!

Photos from 3/20/2014 – the vernal equinox –

great bones from mature palms and great architecture…

Continue reading “Cram-it: El Paso Edition”


A Warm-Up: Anza-Borrego Edition

With colder, gray weather wearing out its welcome to some of my readers, perhaps desert sun and plant scenes can warm some bones.

Feel free to send some rain in exchange, even if just a blog post!

Scenes from mid-January at and near San Diego County’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, <800′ elevation, 75F:

the visitor’s center…that deeply recessed entrance and place to rest comes in handy much of the year…

Continue reading “A Warm-Up: Anza-Borrego Edition”


While driving by some addresses provided to me from a past mid-century modern tour map, I noticed the use of rammed earth – not adobe. As well as board-formed concrete walls. Not that there weren’t more earth-toned stucco walls and plenty of Pueblo-revival or Santa Fe-style homes, too.

For this post, I’m interested in the visual qualities of layering, and how it adds a pleasing testure.

Photos from Borrego Springs CA, mid-January 2014 –

note the distant mountains…visual layering of lower to higher mountains…

Continue reading “Layering”