A Garden’s Teen Years

A garden goes through it’s awkward teen years right after it’s terrible twos. I think that’s when everything is soon to be revealed as incredible, or to fall apart.

But that beats the fate of all too many landscapes, merely designed to live for today. It’s best to have fun and thrive for the long-term. Part of why I embrace place and local native plants from my ecoregion and elevation. That’s staying power.

Photos from Albuquerque at the 2 year old Robertson Residence, 7/18/14 –

a small space, yet eclectic among a trace of simplicity…about to fill in some more…


gray velvet and orange of Buddleia marrubifolia, massive adobe, and powder-blue Agave neomexicana, intended to surprise behind the higher planting…
in front, more powdery blue but shade-loving Yucca pallida, Rhaphiolepis umbellata ‘Blueberry Muffin’…

It’s all made intimate by an original tree, Piñon / Pinus edulis. Some shade isn’t bad in that part of town, either.

plants on ledges – Agave bracteosa among Zinnia grandiflora, and much more…

Ledges are made of rock outcroppings in the wilds of the desert and nearby mountains. This time, it’s working with the same-old exposed aggegrate concrete, there long before my design, but departing from the original planting, into something more regional and textural.

There’s enough plantings, so the rabbit-ravaged cosmos used as a “seasonal wow” by Bill’s bell sculpture are not too noticeable. At least to me.

Bill shifted a couple plants with his metate, and voila!

Looking good as intended! The drip irrigation tubing needs more pinning down and additional gravel mulch on top, though. Twos and teens…

off to a few more places, golden containers of golden Thymophylla tenuiloba, green Nolina texana

The background Chilopsis linearis is a graceful but structural native symbol of the Chihuahuan Desert, even if overused at the expense of other native trees.

Shooting into the setting sun, with such a tough native plant scene, is part of what makes better xeriscape less zero. Even between two and teen!


The Wide Shot – December 2013, SW Edition

Heather at Xericstyle is doing something generalists like me appreciate…the big picture or the wide shot meme.

Many blogs show close-up images without much context, but I find contexts with some details more helpful. Since this post’s photos are from over 5 weeks ago instead of today, I’ll compensate by showing gardens I intend to post more on in the future: 2 are homes, 1 is a recently-installed streetscape I designed. (hoping I can soon participate in 1-2 various memes / month)

I no longer have my own home garden, but I do have many gardens that I design, of various scales and mostly modest budgets. At least for what I deal with in the high desert region!

Photos from 10/22/2013, in Las Cruces NM –

Jeff Anderson’s Las Cruces home, planted just 2 years ago…native and adapted plants, plus some trials

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A Unique Local Nursery

Colleague and friend Michael Gaglio recently opened a nursery, as a way to store and sell plants he’s been salvaging from local construction and mining operations. His focus is on lower water-use plants native to the Chihuahuan Desert Ecoregion, adjacent areas, plus some other adapted plants. It’s is a refreshingly unique concept from most other regional nurseries.

If Pam at Digging still has her “support your local nursery month” meme, here’s my contribution from far-out West Texas. As in the Trans-Trans Pecos!

Enter High Desert Native Plants in El Paso TX –

Eagle Claws Cactus AKA Blue Barrel / Echinocactus horizonthalonius (R front), Texas Rainbow Cactus / Echinocereus dasyacanthus (L)…

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