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

The Power of Green

My land is one of brown to olive shades and accented by blue-greens, under big blue skies and sun. It can be stark. Yet gardens can tap into the beautiful power of place by emphasizing that.

I learned to run when a prospective client gets that in nature, then switches into a belief that gardens need many flowers.

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Hesperaloe funifera, with Agave bracteosa and A. parryi var. truncata L…Yucca pallida and Zephyranthes candida R

Even a few attractive flowers, but it took some “wetter” weather periods to grow those. Don’t fixate on the flowers.

Green, earth-toned stucco, and indirect light = a desert trio.

Mid-winter frames the building entry to our local state park. In a bosque ecology being restored along the Rio Grande, there were and are no bold plants native.

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Nolina greenei in both containers

To bring interest, gray and brown forbs or dormant grasses won’t work. Nor would beds of winter pansies or summer lantanas be authentic to compliment the pueblo revival architecture.

The designer borrowed from where similar grassy forms, but evergreen, tend to dominate – mountain edges, also fairly hot and dry. Containers elevate more to eye-level, and provide drainage that can lack along the river’s floodplain soils.

It works and no flowers.

5/5/17 weather: 90 / 57 / .00