A Lonely Desert Grassland Road

The last day of my long weekend, I was ready to be back home.

But first, after breakfast, I finally drove out on Pinto Canyon Road, into the pastoral morning light.

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After one truck there was not one more vehicle, for miles. In fact my entire 30 minutes there.

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New agaves a start to a stronger entry?

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Gracious yet expansive. Peaceful.

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Some Little Walnut / Juglans microcarpa trees where the occasional stormwater collects along the draw…

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…the effects of a late spring freeze on these trees’ foliage.

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Almost back in Marfa, this looks like someone is working on the concrete buildings Donald Judd sketched but never realized.

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Or are these remnants of incomplete construction when Judd was alive?

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A simple but bold monument to enter a small housing area, complete with some of the finer plants in the desert world…

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Streetscape: On a Good Note

While there are more pitfalls a designer cannot anticipate, experience, knowing the ecoregion, and what it produces are a plus.

Even though city facilities overruled better ponding areas, the vegetation came out like I pictured. Basins with salt-tolerant grasses, and slopes with low shrubs and grass clumps, which will show more once our monsoon season gets serious.

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The densities are aided by the rotary irrigation, but are still typical of the dense end of Chihuahuan desert grassland.

The gently swaled median is doing well: Leucophyllum zygophyllum, Cercis texanum, Yucca rostrata x thompsoniana (?), and Bouteloua gracilis.

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Of course the common-for-good-reason Chilopsis linearis is thriving…most I specified here were the Bubba variety.

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Lightly-fragrant, loving abuse including caliche, how could I go wrong?

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It’s great when the maintenance sheets are applied to a maturing landscape like here, instead of counterproductive shearing and shaping – grasses, shrubs, trees, and anything else with chlorophyll.

I’m happy because the owner is getting what they payed me for, which is what they entrusted me to design for the near-term and future.

7/12/17 weather: 99 / 69 / T

Home on the Range

“Xeriscape (native plants) won’t work with this kind of architecture.”
– ex-clients

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I don’t agree, either. That Alpine TX front garden is simple yet interesting, but it does take some savvy. Which is easy if one steps back and organizes just a little.

Hence a reason I drove 4 hours SE instead of 3 hours N…

My last day in Marfa, I cruised down Ranch Road 2810 aka Pinto Canyon Road, which leads far beyond town to the south.

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Had I driven one more mile, I might have never returned home to my job – too alluring. So, I turned around at this modern version of a Texas ranch gate.

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There’s a house way back, so large it’s actually in scale with the vast scenery.

Returning, I saw this before the drive home.

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Across town, these neighboring houses…

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Agave parryi var. truncata is a ball-like sculpture with a regular spacing, adding interest to the other plant massing.

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I like the idea of walking through a gate and an Opuntia ellisiana hedge.

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A former industrial building is now someone’s house. Good use of Fouquieria splendens and Agave scabra.

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