Tierra Verde – Saturday

While on a recent HOA consultation, we diverted down a few side streets. Some front landscapes stood out, many with good designs and plant choices.

Here’s one example of several simple but effective and low-cost front yards. A multi-trunked, native tree, with adapted grasses and several different shrubs. No gestures to inapplicable places, plus potential if one wants more.

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Compare the pruning of the Prosopis glandulosa above to the one below.  One is correct and the other is incorrect / counterproductive. Learn more at ISA and SNAG.

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My area has many seniors and part-time residents escaping northern winters, so the gravelscape is common, since some aren’t here summers to broil on a bed of rock. They’re swatting armies of mosquitoes by Lake Wobegon!

Yet they did this, like what a few skilled gardeners we know might do if in NM. A great container display, even if some are seasonal.

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Ordinary all over the southwest: yawn at the lawn, with or without the palm. And there’s a struggling chitalpa, one celeb’s recommended tree, as bacterial leaf scorch attacks it and all its kinfolk around.

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But wait!

Massed Hesperaloe parviflora, clean lines of the stepped wall, red tile, and the palm fronds all add up. Hopefully it’s not a Washingtonia filifera: the trunk and roots will not have room to develop, then destroy the wall.

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Free “expert” advice: learn each plant’s mature size in your locale, then apply.

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Oh, Ocotillo! Fouquieria splendens with local compadres, Fallugia paradoxa starting to flower and Ferocactus wislizenii. Ample room, too.

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Ha!

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This looked like a good start to an “Asian theme” using native and adapted plants. They’re onto something. No, I didn’t lose my mind.

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The pruned Leucophyllum only need to be sheared with more stems and foliage left, so the bases of each are broader than the tops. /-\  not  \-/

The Vitex agnus-castus already works with its natural form and proper pruning.

Here’s to effective use of a cool color in the gate and containers, with fuzzy Oreocereus celsianus ready to snag a woman’s dress looking snazzy.

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Potted Nolina texana greenei and Rosa banksiae: as tough as any gravelscape.

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Last stop! This resembles some of the original design at my last home in Albuquerque, but a twist of Las Cruces: “diversity unified by repeating similar forms”.

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A tougher tree than Phoenix-pushing Palo Verde: Koelreuteria paniculata. Imagine this in several years, much broader and clothed in sweet yellow flowers.

What else is there?

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Opuntia santa-rita losing the cool season purple and budding out, among a pincushion Dasylirion wheeleri and a bushy Sphaeralcea.

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Sphaeralcea ambigua ‘Louis Hamilton’

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Fouquieria splendens was salvaged from development partly to save the Echinocereus triglochidiatus at it’s base. Staying together.

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The Bouteloua spp. and the small outcropping really work, rock type similar to the distant sandstone boulder and gravel mulch.

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A tough trio of Las Cruces commoners: Washingtonia filifera, Pinus edulis, and Juniperus. Except under desert conditions, the greener J. chinensis ‘Torulosa’ or Hollywood Juniper becomes more like our native J. monosperma.

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The palm seems more stately and insulated against weather extremes with the dead foliage skirt left.

4/18/17 weather: 86 / 49 / .0

Desert Doorways

The way we can travel from one area to another on many properties can be quite interesting.

Views from some trips this past year –

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12/13 – you might recognize some of my favorite colors on each door and window, on one Corrales NM adobe…

 

Yet, the gloomy, non-native landscape scene misses the bold colors, which make the house stand out and almost festive.

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1/14 – a cowboy scene in the hometown of cowboy Rex Allen, welcoming travellers like me to the high prairie Chihuahuan Desert grassland around Willcox AZ…

Here, someone put it all together.

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1/14 – a shady, low-key entry in the low desert town of Borrego Springs CA…

Their summer heat requires shading glass and doors, more crucial to welcome guests than elsewhere in the southwest. On a warm January afternoon, the Chuparosa / Justicia californica planting adds a subtle red.

And they got the whole picture, with a mid-century-modern grocery store-to-gallery renovation. Including many other locally-native plants in their front landscape.

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recalling a past quote, how “small gestures get lost here”…

That pilaster-latilla fence seems odd in this powerful setting, unlike the sunny, voluminous creosote bushes and the mass of a shady mountainside. I’m also comparing the steepness of those mountains to what I’ve hiked in the last 10-15 years!

a modern but rustic doorway in a Borrego Springs neighborhood, playing light and shadow with desert native plants and those skies…

That put all the elements of a doorway into one place – their place. No mistaking it for a misplaced adobe in Iowa or Siberia! The happy meeting of regional architecture and flora, hardscape and powerful geography.

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1/14 – returning home after my San Diego trip…I wonder where?
a rest area with shaded portales, this table serving to take some work calls, though even a warm day turned chilly fast…

Specifically near a place named Lordsburg, on more vast Chihuahuan Desert grassland!

of course…2-1/2 hours to go, a classic NMDOT rest area

How do you utilize light, shadow, and your brand of local interest to define a doorway?