Walking to a Park

After enjoying breakfast and walking a neighborhood I may move to, I visited a tiny park missed on cross-town drives.

Mostly bullet-proof plants for Las Cruces’ arid Zone 8 were used.

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The ubiquitous Chilopsis linearis and Fallugia paradoxa are near a small, cobbled swale, plus a sturdy, appealing upright Juniperus and a few unidentified Opuntia with a healthy dose of cochineal.

Nothing exciting for the hoarder collector of what nobody else has.

Though for the realities of a public space, these are appealing and tough plant choices. There are also inviting, shaded places to sit. The economical site furnishings and colors are a plus.

This park demonstrates good plants in a harmonious composition, and there is a healthy amount of shade using trees that thrive here.

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Now, onto the concerns I have, though I won’t refine or redo the design in this post; I get paid for that kind of gig.

You can call me “Captain Obvious”.

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1. Most of this park doesn’t demonstrate the “lush” part of the title, nor is there adequate relationship between water harvesting and a denser planting, or even fragrance and sound, which could compliment.

2. This was a light traffic day, but this street is often busy. Being a medium-sized agricultural town, picture the sound of huge pickup trucks all day, many missing a muffler.

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Wouldn’t visual buffering or softening of Spruce Street be in order? Either plants died or also likely plants were removed due to the loud words of a few misguided folks unable to balance safety and aesthetics. That view needs better psychological separation; screening with reasonable visibility. Balance!

3. Don’t demonstrate over-maintaining and ugliness with such pruning. Who wants to lose winter interest or seasonal flowering, and get less for more money?

This pruning and hot siting of Nandina…ugh. But the use of Calliandra…more of that in such a spot!

LushLeanPark1-Front5-SMLLushLeanPark1-Front6-SMLWith my main criticisms, for a low cost and maintenance public space on unusable land, this is mostly a good greeting from 35 mph.

With more thought, it could become stunning from the front.

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Other functions are in back along a small side street: a permeable DG area to park vehicles, plus an easily-irrigated Bermudagrass lawn.

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When I wrote “bullet-proof” at the beginning of this post, you knew there had to be a yucca.

This time, here’s a single Yucca rostrata, which our 4,000 ft elevation sweet spot grows better than most. Phoenix and Tucson have native saguaros and palo verdes, Austin and central / south Texas have non-native but adapted agaves galore, so naturally we have our own spiky choices to provide power.

Cliche and heavily-used, sure…worthy, definitely.

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Near the sidewalk, the few Salvia greggii are declining. Perhaps that’s due to over-pruning, too small of drip emitters or under-watering, or too much late afternoon heat in summer from improper siting.

Everything else is common but tough; mostly native within 200 miles, 1000′ in elevation, and is low water-use.

I do tougher critiques on my own array of projects, so all I’ve related on this small park adds up to “good job”.

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2 blocks across Spruce Street. Will I or will I not buy this adobe, with a high asking price for the neighborhood and tight interior spaces?

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The cobalt blue sky is included, though. Stay tuned.

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12/1/17 weather: 62 / 44 / 0.00

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Looking In and Out

Driving home, I took an hour to tour the Transmountain Hospital landscape I designed in El Paso. It was actually daylight.

Looking towards the ER entrance, I was disappointed about not being able to utilize passive water harvesting to benefit these plants.

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The simple pattern of Muhlenbergia emersleyi ‘El Toro’ and young Acacia farnesiana in a part-curve compliments the Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’.

The lone Yucca rostrata stands as a focal point, swallowed by the swirl of grasses.

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The same scene, but looking out of the ER portico and far into the badlands along the US-Mexico border.

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Morning Gold

The light often does something unusual, and sometimes the difference are grand or subtle. Photos from early October 2017.

Take this adobe wall and concrete cap at La Mansana / The Block in Marfa TX.

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A leafy tree branch affects an otherwise bright wall.

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Time of day affects the light, but even 2 hours after sunrise versus 2 hours before sunset are often quite different. Those would seem similar sun angles, but perhaps morning light has less dust while afternoon light comes at a warmer time?

The change in seasons over a couple months can also affect light, and so can traveling from a humid to a dry place or changing elevation.

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The other side of the “Artillery Sheds” have a similar light, though they face the sun directly and it’s over 30 minutes later; there’s more gold than orange. Since my first sunrise visit, I’ve been addicted to this time of day here.

Yes – we were allowed to take photos outside.

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Bouteloua gracilis grows lush and happy in Marfa’s plateau, holding it’s green with the past monsoon season.

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There’s something about the contrast between soft morning light, the warm glow of concrete, and the cool glow of mill aluminum. Its sum promises an entire day ahead, completely free of toxicity.

The wide Trans Pecos skies don’t hurt, either.

I’m convinced the drudgery of everyday is not reality; this type of thing is reality. We must get real more.

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Texas’ state grass, Bouteloua curtipendula, is as stunning as the aforementioned Blue Grama, holding down the vignettes of Celtis reticulata L and Prosopis torreyana R.

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A closer view, using the above order.

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This is the late morning light on Pinto Canyon Road outside town, facing Cathedral Mountain to the east.

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Light only held a passing interest to me until I started photographing my own landscape designs and scenery much more.

Do you see different ways one can use or take advantage of light?

Do you see differences in light from where you are to where I was in this post?

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11/5/17 weather: 7847 / 0.00