Focal Points in the Flatlands

Warm winds blowing, heat ‘n’ blue sky
And a road that goes forever…
I’m goin’ to Texas – Chris Rea

This weekend, I took a road trip to a jazz party in Odessa, Texas. It’s been running as long in years as my age is.

Crossing the Pecos River and continuing to enter a seemingly featureless setting, Yucca elata disappeared as Yucca campestris took its place.

 

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I stopped by my father’s WWII flight training post outside what’s left of Pyote and the Rattlesnake Bomber Base. Checking ahead of each step, of course.

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The main hangar is barely there, and below, the base was later re-purposed into…

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…a juvenile correction center. Even that didn’t last, though Pyote alone might be really good punishment!

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Then it was Monahans, the town where my late parents were married.

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The flags and this corner monument area aligns well with the courthouse, from where one passes by. I overexposed the allee of Quercus virginiana looking to the courthouse, so here it is looking away from the courthouse.

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Then there were this Yucca rostrata, at the end of the alley I was using to get back to the main street, pointing my now-washed car back onto the freeway.

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The jazz and my room later that night were great, too! Odessa – no pictures this time.

5/24/17 weather: 95 / 58 / 0.00

Prepare for a Yucca Explosion

With all our moisture until spring set in to scorch it all, our local yuccas seemed primed to go into full bloom. That they did.

My first year in this house, I only pruned a few of the huge, dead flower stalks off, without a truck to haul them to the dump and also enjoying the interest of “dry arrangements”.

This year, seeing all the new flower stalks forming, I cut off all the old stalks so the better blooming year could shine and knowing I would find a way to haul.

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The large, dead stalks are bold to look at, plus some smaller birds perch on them.

Of course, birds have plenty nearby to perch on. For a garden to look better in less than geologic time, we can do simple, beneficial maintenance practices.

I’m finished with some Yucca elata clumps, their dead stalks bundled.

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One of many vigorous flower stalks that will soon shine.

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All done, looking back to the N.

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I’ve met some hobbyists, a couple architects, and others, all with a belief system that won’t grasp maintenance and pruning. Yet the same often switch and then regard gardens whose staff knows what, why, when, and how.

Have you met any people like that?

Now, to pull all those weeds and mooch kindly ask to borrow someone’s truck for a delivery to the dump!

5/15/17 weather: 88 / 53 / .00

Civic Space 101: Filling In at JUTEP

That’s actually UTEP for “the University of Texas at El Paso”, but this region’s “border Spanish” makes “U” and “Y” have a noticeable “J” sound. I may have heard “jucca” said as much as “yucca” during 2+ decades at this region’s jobsites.

Our area’s largest showcase of native plants in a public garden is at year 3. That age often marks when a garden gets much better.

By Ten Eyck’s office, visited by me last weekend:

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Without several hours to spend, I try to start in a different place depending on the lighting – this was late afternoon.

The clean, walkable, and permeable groundplane of decomposed granite isn’t kitchen floor enough for some, but it has multiple benefits. Sound of footsteps included.

An excellent massing of plants and hardscape to take it all in.

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Those are Hesperaloe x ‘Pink Parade’, a hybrid of old, massive favorite H. funifera and more common H. parviflora. Agave ovatifolia is in the background, seeming to float on the aggregate.

Onto one of my favorite accent plants, with those tall, almost comical bloom stalks – Yucca pallida.

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Looking the other way, away from the dinner theatre, below R is a mass of H. parviflora ‘Brakelights’.

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Fallugia paradoxa are overgrowing the yuccas; not sure that was the intent, so I asked Ten Eyck herself a couple years ago on a conference wrap-up visit.

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A sunken placita (mini-plaza) with Nolina greenei under the young trees, as retaining seat walls take advantage of the grade change.

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Do those pricey Kornegay pots look worth it, like they do to me? Of course, it helps using hardy, effective Dasylirion quadrangulatum inside them.

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And on the other entry of the same Psychology building, these steps.

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More Dasylirion quandrangulatum in the planters along the stairs, plus other native and adapted plantings. Something like that at NMSU and especially UNM would completely overcome past ways.

A low area with water harvesting below one of many outcroppings of andesite rock, and voila – Gaura lindheimeri.

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Closing out with series of seat walls, providing a layering effect going downhill.

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More vigorous Apache Plume taking over.

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A hike a few days later showed my sentimental favorite cactus, Opuntia engelmannii, in bloom.

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A number of Echinocactus horizonthalonius were blooming, too.

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Have a good rest of the weekend!

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5/13/17 weather: 91 / 64 / .00