Winter Interest: Arizona Rosewood

Though we skipped winter this year, like 2016-17 but with a more normal moisture regime (dry), the high desert always has some winter dormancy. Even the (crazy) 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 or dwarf tree or two?

Vauquelinia_californica-PH01-SML

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.

Vauquelinia_californica-PHCC2-SMLVauquelinia_californica-PHCC3-SMLVauquelinia_californica-PHCC4-SML

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, and even more 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 Vauquelinia corymbosa var. heterodon.

All Vauquelinia species enjoy the moderate temperatures of USDA zones 7a to 8b, between about 2,500 and 7,000 feet elevation in the southwest.

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

Advertisements

Forms and Feel

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?

LCROGB-Contrast02_2015-06-24-SML
by the main doors, where visitors park

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.

LCROGB-Contrast01_2015-06-24-SML
I wasn’t given notice to place those agaves more per plans, but the clearances to the various panels and lights should still work out

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′.

LCROGB-AgaveSteel01_2015-06-24-SML
a good marriage of industrial metal, edgy agaves, and rock mulch color

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.

Thanks for accompanying me to one last, lingering wrap-up post from an old trip to Reclamation’s Green Building in southern Nevada.

Desert Landscaping: Maintenance Fails and Fixes

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 –

Maint-Date100200Brz02_2015-06-24-SML
Do you see what the Honey Mesquite in front needs?

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”.

Rabbits. Yet, there reaches a point when the wire cages can be removed, after the plants established and are no longer salad.

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.

Creosote Bush / Larrea tridentata
Creosote Bush / Larrea tridentata

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.

LCROGB-SideW02_2015-06-24-SML
see anything missing between both panels of windows?

A Joshua Tree once stood there.

LCROGB-FrontE05_2015-06-24-SML
position the Joshua Tree replacing the one that died, just like this one

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…

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?