Desert Dweller + Shaper of the Land
I’m a landscape architect, but unlike many I’ve met. It’s important to embrace and know the intimate connection between climate, place, process, and patterns.
So, I tend to only make more time for peers who also get it, especially those who I can learn from and who also want to learn. Time is too short for anything less or skimming the surface.
Those who don’t get it can be college educated practioners or not; they’re unteachable, easily spotted when they have less experience or training than you, yet argue each thing that counters common perceptions they parrot.
Those who get it are teachable; some haven’t planted a seed or start since they were a 1st grader, many don’t have a degree and/or do not design “professionally”; a decent number do some or all of the above, including some of my true colleagues.
Garden tours are always helpful, organized or personal, if they include good design and/or plantsmanship. Plants create a local sense of place better than even locally-sourced hardscape, though the latter is important to some degree. It’s the seamless interplay and merger of function and form that are what gardens should aspire to, including how plants and stormwater move.
Good food with great people in inviting settings helps me put in the long hours in what I do, as you’ll come to know!
Spending time undoing mistakes of the past in my region, I often must travel away. I take time out to mountain bike, hike, and re-charge. Always striving!
Philosophy on Plants, Including Native Plants
+ low water-use native plants first
+ adapted, non-native plants if natives unavailable or won’t perform a needed task
That should make it clear that I’m not natives-only in landscapes and gardens. I’m limited by design options and especially one of the most outdated business mindsets on earth – the nurserys of our high desert towns. This excerpt includes the best definition of a “native plant” I’ve seen –
That’s from Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond – Volume 1, by Tucson’s Brad Lancaster. It’s far more useful than confused ones actually dismissing the importance of conservation. Garden design strives to organize outdoor living spaces, so function and form dialogue nicely. Including where water needs to move from and to, and the plants that grow in either.
Since my ecoregion has less diversity than his, my definition is broader…more like, low water-use native plant palette of indigenous vegetation found within about:
Plants are materials but not just any material; plants convey an identity more than probably any landscape element or material, so find the best ones for the site and use well.