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?
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.
When I move, I’ll likely miss my glimpse of 4,950 foot Picacho.
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.
Plants are crucial to gardens and landscapes distinctive of their place, not just anywhere. Tight budgets and extremes in winter and summer inform my bias towards species providing impact year-round.
That impact isn’t fleeting flowering, though I try to incorporate that too.
Photos from June 2015 in Boulder City, Nevada. You mean you don’t visit landscapes you designed when it’s 110F?
This softens the view out into the blazing Mojave Desert light, even though each Larrea tridentata isn’t growing the same, identical way.
I can’t wait to see the Yucca brevifolia ssp. jaegeriana grow more.
Here, budget limited the plant quantities needed to create flowering masses I like, as did the jackrabbit population and the nature of federal facility maintenance.
Summer is their 2nd dormant season, so little would flower in June, anyway.
Ocahui / Agave ocahui are the agaves, spaced about 25-30% too far apart, but who’s counting except me?
My plans specified native Agave utahensis, but this is close enough given availability. Plus the Mojave is parallel to Ocahui’s home in the Chihuahuan Desert, only the reversed wet seasons and some extra dryness.
And notice, no grasses. In Mojave Desert shrub communities, grasses are uncommon ephemeral plants in washes, if at all, below 4,000′.
Unlike my days of travel between here and Albuquerque, driving isn’t as much of an option from Las Cruces. That makes it hard for what I wanted to also do, even if for my own pictures…bring loppers and hand pruners for a few plants in need.
If only I could be in charge of each of my projects’ maintenance, but then, who would design them? Just a few adjustments are needed in the below areas, looking at the big picture and then close-up.
Musical pairing, little to do with Las Vegas except it has a great beat and is about nightlife; I hear that city to the west has some of that – here
Photos from 6/24/2015 –
1 thing: prune off the 1″ branch growing low and into the building wall. If only I still had loppers, and I had driven there instead of flown.
From my last posts on how I wish I had designed something differently, you can tell how important I view even our smallish desert trees – which old guard definitions from cooler or wetter places refer to as “shrubs”.
this Desert Willow is in a prominent spot, but no pruning, or checking why the cistern-fed drip line isn’t working…with one tree, this could be hand-watered 1X a week
this Desert Willow line is healthy, but needs some lifting of the base for visibility, which will still allow the west wall to be shaded as it matures
Screwbean Mesquite next to a walk and parking, where shade and visibility is the intent
yet this Screwbean Mesquite several parking spaces away is pruned nicely
Rabbits. Yet, there reaches a point when the wire cages can be removed, after the plants established and are no longer salad.
Angelita Daisy…given how this plant spreads when not dormant, are volunteers being sprayed?
this Creosote Bush is growing far outside the cage now
White Bursage…Nevada must have some rugged jackrabbits who would eat these even when young…BUR-sage
While the creosote bushes are growing, some are growing less so than the others. Such a difference, a simple light prune of taller stems back to the main stems is all that’s required to create a more appealing look, while maintaining some individuality in size. Even some of the lower, more dense creosotes could be thinned 10% to blend in some.
Balance, instead of unkempt or given the treatment.
Just imagine a little attention to some of the creosotes. While you imagine the few plants that die to be replaced by the same or similar plants.
A Joshua Tree once stood there.
I really enjoy the solar parking lights the architect specified. They fit the modern, space-age look there, with the sere Mars-like scenes beyond. But something else lurks…
if only they hadn’t switched Indian Ricegrass to Indiangrass…mine native, and fine on desert rainfall…the latter is the state grass of mostly humid Oklahoma
a subsurface irrigation issue on the edge of this Bermuda lawn (shhh…I do use lawn when the need arises)
Was there another Deergrass? Did it die because the drip wans’t working here? Or??
Overall, I’m happy with much of what I see. Anyone who works outside in their heat should be thanked, even if one has to be insane to be in that line of work there… Though I forgot to mention in the last post, plant changes are often made without me – we cannot rule that and the other pitfalls.
But don’t you wish someone would step back, and pay a bit more attention to important areas of a planting, as I do this one?