Inner El Paso

A coworker and I were in El Paso, to learn about their proposed Paso del Norte Trail. Our El Camino Real Corridor work and New Mexico’s Rio Grande Trail all have potential to link their system to the Colorado border.

The entry planters to the Hotel Indigo are still there, though I’m unsure about these plants’ health.

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A former coworker who’s now a planner with the City of El Paso was in attendance, and we surprised him.

The view from where the Paso del Norte Trail boards and meet-and-greet event were held. A 5th floor pool and patio area the bar and restaurant open to, revealing attractive plantings, hardscape, places to sit, and an elevated view of downtown.

Yucca torreyi and cacti in a hip planter setting finish this off.

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Walking back to my car, this parking garage mural is by my former neighbor Dave “Grave” Herrera. He also works part-time at the hotel, when not involved with his creations. He was glad to see us when we arrived.

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Of course, there was a hearty meal in the way home.

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That baked potato with a heaping of brisket was almost 1 foot long. I took half home!

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2/3/18 weather: 7336 / .00″

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Terraces and Barriers

It was the end of a long day visiting the southernmost section of El Camino Real de Adentro in New Mexico.

I turned around at the south end of our county near the workplaces of two friends.

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Husband Robert runs the restaurant with his sister, while wife Jennifer runs a 4 person landscape architecture practice; they live in adjacent El Paso. And they are often starting a new project on their land hugging the railroad tracks and Mexican border.

Jenn is checking out her Agave ocahui.

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We’ll just ignore the invasive Pennisetum sactaceum…for now.

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Otherwise, really good details and thinking all over this property. Speaking of which, this is where I stayed a number of times before moving down. It’s now a bridal suite.

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I think these agaves in nursery pots were in front of their house in town – 3 years ago. Will they get planted…ever?

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I really enjoy the few who make a difference by example. Then, responding accordingly with creativity.

7/26/17 weather: 95 / 70 / 0.00

Night Effects

I smile when others “discover” garden lighting, especially subtle methods that don’t detract from night skies.

My first job out of college was being a design grunt at a firm in San Diego’s Mission Valley, in pre-AutoCAD 1989. They often used lighting, aware of its high-impact dimension in outdoor living.

What a difference, even in a new landscape.

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Forestiera neomexicana in containers, Salvia clevelandii in front

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In San Diego nearing the beaches, shade trees aren’t as necessary, and people there live outdoors all year like few others. Yet they appreciate night lighting, to extend garden time. In the high desert, even with low humidity and shading from trees and architecture, summer days outside are not so pleasant.

Then night comes, blissful except the hotter periods: that’s when garden lighting allows the landscape to be savored. Forestiera neomexicana in containers will be pruned and lifted once established, for more wow factor.

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Winter isn’t bad to enjoy lighting, either, sans the breeze.

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I must drop by as hospital staffing grows, to see how many break out on the patio. Not to mention what these Prosopis glandulosa trees will develop into, lit up at night.

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That mesquite grouping will be joined by the Yucca rostrata as they also mature.

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Yucca rostrata with Salvia clevelandii

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You may remember my former house from 1998 to 2013.

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Agave scabra with young Verbena wrightii and Salvia chamaedryoides
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Nolina greenei, with Parthenium incanum and Salvia henryi in front

I rolled over in bed awakening to this many spring mornings, sleeping all night with the sliding doors open.

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Yucca rostrata, Lavandula, Salvia greggii, Quercus fusiformis, with a potted Aloe vera that came out in the warm season

After specifying landscape lighting for a few clients who valued it, I figured I deserved it, too. Mine was low-voltage, but a quality brand – FX Luminaire.

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Of course, luminarias add to the scene, but that’s only in chilly December.

Someone once asked (challenged) me, “why light up a cactus?”

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Opuntia engelmannii with Chrysactinia mexicana

That’s why!

The purple wall probably bothered her, too.

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When trying out garden lighting, first experiment with a big box store brand to find where it will work and the effects you want, before spending more money on a higher-grade system to truly reveal your spaces.

Free advice: really, really rethink copying the “airport runway” look of path lights, which many default to.

Indirect lighting does something, not drawing attention to itself. The former provides a professional touch others will want to copy but you get to live with.

4/29/17 weather: 60 / 43 / .03