Evening Light: A Drive-by

Someone is reading my casual or pointed rants via Instagram. Or so I think.

Back from a hike at the neighborhood volcano (extinct), it appears the landscape lighting is being moved to correspond with the plants. Possibly like the original design.

Fingers crossed that’s not just a coincidence.

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Most every time I flew home from Las Vegas, I exited 215 to McCarran past a series of widely-spaced Dasylirion wheeleri. That and the sotol spacing on medians near my then-Albuquerque house may have inspired me. (the latter I pirated several years earlier – yes, it’s true)

But lit up, they add ambiance to the dry breeze wafting in at dusk.

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I need to find old photos of these Fouquieria splendens soon after installation. They’ve really grown in from the smaller, seed-grown plants – not wild-collected.

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What I do as a landscape architect is much about evoking moods using light and shadow.

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5/31/18 weather:
99F / 64F / .00″ or 37c / 18c / .00 mm

 

 

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Stunning Verticals

While I rely on ample evergreen plants in my 2 dormant season climate, I also rely on contrast. Light / shadow, soft / sharp.

These recent scenes should help illustrate why.

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My Saturday breakfast ritual, as near-native Nolina microcarpa tangles its coarse foliage into adapted (?) Echinopsis species from South America and Astrophytum species from deep in Mexico.

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Gray concrete container, dark brown wall in the shade, bright green, and intense spination.

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On a hazy day with pesky high clouds clearing later, the 8 foot Cylindropuntia imbricata looks formidable.

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Road run-off and time for Yucca faxoniana near Valentine TX. A year later, needless effort by TxDOT. It’s hard to look at that.

With chlorophyll production halted on an old yucca, I hope it recovers.

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That Agave salmiana or A. ferox row in Marfa compensated.  The background a clean-up chore for some new, starry-eyed property owners.

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Back home, native Dasylirion wheeleri in its winter look at an old development entry project.

Are three better than one?

Do blue-green and spiky add interest on a blah day, with winter’s hills of creosotes in olive-drab?

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3/3/18 weather:
75F36F / .00″ or 24c / 2c / .00 mm

Winter Interest: Arizona Rosewood

Though we skipped winter this year, like 2016-17 but with a more normal, dry moisture regime, the high desert always has some winter dormancy. Even the bluegrass fairways aren’t so green with many hard freezes at night and a handful of lows in the teens.

But do you see anything in the distance?

A green, shrubby, and dwarf tree or two?

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Not the olive-green Creosote Bush or assorted cacti and yuccas.

That’s the fairly-common and almost bullet-proof, Arizona Rosewood / Vauquelinia californica. I prefer mine pruned up to perform as a small evergreen tree in tight areas, but I’m not sure of this person’s accompanying landscape.

This looks good, too, and both stand at least 15 feet tall.

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When I move, I’ll likely miss my glimpse of 4,950 foot Picacho.

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This rosewood thrived in many landscapes others and I designed back in that other place 3 hours north as it does here. It needs some winter moisture to supplement the summer monsoon season, and it has 2 related species that to me look more refined – Vauquelinia corymbosa var. angustifolia and almost tree-like Vauquelinia corymbosa var. heterodon.

All Vauquelinia species enjoy the moderate temperatures of USDA zones 7a to 8b, between about 3,000 and 6,500 feet elevation in the southwest. The coldest climate I’ve seen V. californica grow decently in is the east side of Santa Fe; the couple ones in Denver look horrible.

I’ll let you look up the long, serrated and evergreen foliage and other attributes.