Common is Never Overdone if Native

Common? Boring? Effective?

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It’s just another scene here with natives Chilopsis linearis / Desert Willow and Yucca torreyi / Torrey Yucca.

Evocative of place? Namely natural place or ecoregion?

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How about something else so native, it was already here? Complete with a focal point right in front of my neighborhood volcano, Picacho.

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That landscape is typical of the hills east of the Mesilla Valley with sparse desert grasses like Bush Muhly and Fluffgrass, Creosote Bush and Mariola, all cut by arroyos lined with Whitethorn Acacia, Littleleaf Sumac, and Apache Plume.

But no matter what, the Dasylirion wheeleri / Blue Sotol with the new flower stalk stands out. Yet it’s in more front yards than I could count.

To me, it might never get old.

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I’m now on the best part of any design, which is the construction observation phase. That’s the fulfillment of intellect, addition, and then reduction. It’s for the future home for a couple who’ve been married many moons, with the request and means for plants and other features nobody else has.

This tree, Monterrey Oak / Quercus polymorpha, is not native but is adapted. It’s perfect for the limited oasis area either side of the pool.

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To the architect and myself, what “nobody else has” required more thought. Of course it meant some uncommon plant species, methods, and hardscape. It also meant using the common in an uncommonly purposed manner – even species native to the western bajada of the Franklin Mountains, used well or poorly in many landscapes.

Are you glad I didn’t do the trendy misuse of “curate” in the above?

Stay tuned for more on that project, which will now evolve quickly with the specimen trees in. Everyone’s vision is coming together.

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I’m about to re-pot two poor agaves that have traveled with me since late 2012 in the same now-undersized terracotta pots! Though it’s too warm outside for that right now.

So, I’ll begin sketching visions for my own house.

But first, some notes for a suburban home along an arroyo here in Las Cruces and another upcoming, mountainside residence in El Paso. And a proposal for the first, though I know it’s Sunday.

And a margarita before I grill up dinner.

6/10/18 weather:
98F / 70F / .00″ or 37c / 21c / .00 mm

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Borrowed View: To My East

Each day after working around those I must work around, this is what I see once I change into summer clothes and open the blinds.

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Sure, the foreground of my rental property lacks. Though the spare look of retained native plants in brown gravel mulch helps – Soaptree clumps and a few Fourwing Saltbush.

The neighbor’s horse fence trellis nicely compliments the space, adding an additional edge to their house, irregular desert plants, and low wall.

More closely, a nicely-framed Sotol is in the shadow of a Desert Willow.

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A borrowed view is a powerful design tool, when it’s good.

Even when you borrow it with what you choose to frame, but certainly more when you design frames into such a view.

Just a tempering of our near-record heat to something less obscene, and more flowers are appearing on that Chilopsis linearis.

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Though none of this is mine, it’s certainly a nice welcome back to my real life when I get home each day. Or just each day that I’m home.

It is my own view of serenity.

7/8/17 weather: 96 / 65 / 0.00

Bench and Tile

If you like tile, you’ll love the desert southwest and California.

I captured more views of a good-looking bench at a placita (small gathering place) in midtown Marfa, across from the Presidio County Courthouse.

Enter…

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Shaded by my ecoregion’s ubiquitous Chilopsis linearis, with an assortment of other natives like Nolina lindheimeri, Nolina nelsonii, but a dying lawn that needs a change.

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The bench, I first photographed years ago, but forgot to get any closeups of.

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Some of the tiles are abstract, others are quite obvious.

Even in Marfa, people associate saguaros of the Sonoran Desert with their desert grassland. Some tiles tell stories, others about their spiky Opuntia and Agave.

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So many handmade tiles together tell so much.