Common is Never Overdone if Native

Common? Boring? Effective?

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It’s just another scene here with natives Chilopsis linearis / Desert Willow and Yucca torreyi / Torrey Yucca.

Evocative of place? Namely natural place or ecoregion?

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How about something else so native, it was already here? Complete with a focal point right in front of my neighborhood volcano, Picacho.

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That landscape is typical of the hills east of the Mesilla Valley with sparse desert grasses like Bush Muhly and Fluffgrass, Creosote Bush and Mariola, all cut by arroyos lined with Whitethorn Acacia, Littleleaf Sumac, and Apache Plume.

But no matter what, the Dasylirion wheeleri / Blue Sotol with the new flower stalk stands out. Yet it’s in more front yards than I could count.

To me, it might never get old.

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I’m now on the best part of any design, which is the construction observation phase. That’s the fulfillment of intellect, addition, and then reduction. It’s for the future home for a couple who’ve been married many moons, with the request and means for plants and other features nobody else has.

This tree, Monterrey Oak / Quercus polymorpha, is not native but is adapted. It’s perfect for the limited oasis area either side of the pool.

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To the architect and myself, what “nobody else has” required more thought. Of course it meant some uncommon plant species, methods, and hardscape. It also meant using the common in an uncommonly purposed manner – even species native to the western bajada of the Franklin Mountains, used well or poorly in many landscapes.

Are you glad I didn’t do the trendy misuse of “curate” in the above?

Stay tuned for more on that project, which will now evolve quickly with the specimen trees in. Everyone’s vision is coming together.

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I’m about to re-pot two poor agaves that have traveled with me since late 2012 in the same now-undersized terracotta pots! Though it’s too warm outside for that right now.

So, I’ll begin sketching visions for my own house.

But first, some notes for a suburban home along an arroyo here in Las Cruces and another upcoming, mountainside residence in El Paso. And a proposal for the first, though I know it’s Sunday.

And a margarita before I grill up dinner.

6/10/18 weather:
98F / 70F / .00″ or 37c / 21c / .00 mm

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Before and After the Plant Sale

After I gave the FloraFest lecture at the University of Texas at El Paso two Friday nights ago, they put me up at the campus hotel. That way I would spend part of Saturday helping with their annual plant sale.

And that I did, most of the day.

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I didn’t answer many specific design questions, nor did anyone ask about that 1 plant to buy. You know, a plant that needs no water, flowers all year, won’t attract bees, is evergreen, and has nothing to do with anything else they have. Instead, most people asked me about their entire front or back yard as a coherent space – that’s a first.

My kind of people. I must have advised on and sold 4 gardens, plus various plants.

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I didn’t buy 1 plant. My own landscape plan must come first.

I know, “boo, boo”! I’m setting a good example. And try keeping container plants alive in a shady spot with our wind and single digit humidity, plus some rear-record warmth on top of all that.

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Before showing up, I took a quick look at an in-progress hospital renovation I designed just blocks away. Many plantings are just months old, and we’re awaiting the sculpture tree installation from Seattle’s Koryn Rolstad.

I didn’t ID materials and plants, but you can always ask.

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After the sale, I enjoyed perfect weather walking UTEP’s Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, adjacent to the Centennial Museum.

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Instead of driving home to start unpacking, it was more enjoyable to first check on the growth of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects’ Centennial Plaza.

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All kinds of impromptu and ceremonial activities go on here, where it was once a wasteland of asphalt, vehicles, and lawn on 2:1 slopes. I’ve happened upon quinceanera, wedding and graduation photography, Frisbee throwing, and of course studying, but never dance practice.

Work it!

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Back to hardscape and planting design…

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I’ve had a very busy 3 months involving a move, speaking engagements, travel, and trying to keep up with working out and just living some.

I’ll start posting on my latest travel in pieces, including the Garden Blogger’s Fling in Austin. Though these last few months gave me far more to post about than possible.

Only my need to get settled and design my own garden exceeds my ideas to post!

Repetition

Different methods use similar elements to create continuity.

Repetition, rhythm, massing, and echoes are just a few design principles among many. Design principles are easily and repeatedly observed in an array of creative fields that people respond to: visual arts, horticulture, and music included.

It is that simple!

Any design principles noted, in the below median or parkway?

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Aristida purpurea, volunteered from the seeding specified on the plans, is now in its autumnal tan.

Agave neomexicana does the same within the parkway’s Aristida.

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Nearby, Dasylirion wheeleri was repeated. Its color and spent bloom stalks, plus a similar look of Agave parryi, help unify the scene.

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10/24/17 weather: 71 / 42 / 0.00