The Horizontals and the Verticals

“Small gestures get lost out here.” – Kornegay


That scene along US-90 says much with Torrey Yucca, Texas Beargrass, and dry, pre-monsoon season grama grasses.

This Alpine mural with local ranch brands says something similar.



From Alpine back to Marfa, colors and forms without one flower.



Of course a Volvo is parked at the building of this word mural!



“When no one else can, a Mexi(can)!” – many before me


I wonder where those tall and heavy South American cacti are headed?

Almost home, a quick drive-by detour.


Low Down

Water runs downhill, so look to the right side of this photo. The planted and naturalized areas offer proof.


Another person just told me how “it’s not a good idea to plant in ponding areas and drainage swales.” Like this:


I bet my person would find that acceptable, if only the weeds were herbicided. It’s even a historic plaza on El Camino Real.

As a designer who values enduring aspects of history or nature, that basin would be much better with native arroyo trees filling in and softening all the gravel plaza area behind it. Human and wildlife habitat.

These basins in my decade-old design were perfect for the latter, on the right side of the first photo and now below.

Prosopis pubescens L, Celtis reticulata R / distant, some grasses and Atriplex canescens

I’m not sure all the grasses specified and installed in the pond bottoms made it, but some did. Most of the unirrigated native trees made it.

Xeric trees were specified, typical of settings getting deluged then staying dry, yet the deluge elevates soil moisture enough for long-term tree growth…similar to what’s observed in many of our arroyos.


Trees were planted from smaller sizes than is regional convention. No irrigation was used in the basin, except DriWater or water truck applications the first year. That same idea was used in other basins in the same development, with similar success.

Soil: sandy loam or gravelly sand, which allows water and roots to develop deeply.

6/14/17 weather: 100 / 60 / 0.00

Stopping by Another Hospital

Returning from my jazz party trip, I stopped at the far east side of El Paso to see what I had missed on a project addition of mine installed 2 years ago.

The Quercus buckleyi are doing well, as is this portion of the only Cynodon dactylon lawn on the hospital campus.


The oaks in the entry alcove are struggling, as are the Nolina.


The portion of lawn in front is not so happy; when I walked over it, the rotting, anaerobic smell of over-watering was obvious.

Of course, I wonder if the facilities manager or other administrators here actually are holding community movies projected against the back wall? That was one curve ball thrown at me, resulting in my having to take out a few red oaks, even though they would not block views. My guess is no, and for that, I had to fight not to move all trees off the lawn to appease the non-designer admin people.

I either had 3 or 4 trees moved from the lawn opposite the walkway. I hope it was not another apparent fail, like their community / hospital kitchen garden whim…


From the above, you might see another blog post coming on about shaping grasses and plants for no reason, over-watering to increase greenery, etc. If so, you’re right.

For now, some of the jazz party in Odessa the previous night.

The musicianship was stellar, and dressing up made sense for that occasion.

I enjoyed watching this older couple finally dance. His wife wanted to dance immediately, while he was tired and just wanted to sit down before dancing.

I bet they have some history in Odessa.

A final positive note: the granite boulder-covered mountains near Sierra Blanca.


About half-way from my home to Odessa, I always enjoy driving both directions through them. The Yucca torreyi with Dasylirion leiophyllum on the slopes always show off the west Texas ruggedness and hospitality.

5/31/17 weather: 83 / 58 / T