Low Light, High Impact

Checking the flowering status of Sophora on some streetscape work, I really had some excellent lighting. I remembered that S. x ‘Silver Peso’ wasn’t specified, but rather it was S. x ‘Sierra Silver’.

Photos from Picacho Mountain, celebrating daylight savings time, 3/12/2017.

PicachoMtn_AnthemN02_2017-03-12-SML

north towards the development’s namesake

That’s on Anthem Road, the first area one sees before buying a lot, or returning home.

I’ll need to dig out some earlier photos, before the demise of flowering groundcovers among the agaves and some other accents. There were some good combos that are tough and reproduce madly, but not with roundup or lacking initial rabbit control.

I’ve been blamed on not using rabbit-resistant plants, no matter how explained.

PicachoMtn_AnthemN01_2017-03-12-SML

Sophora x ‘Sierra Silver’, the main reason I visited

Yet these native volunteers of Aristida purpurea are appreciated and their forms left the best way between the boulders and under the Yucca faxoniana.

You may have spotted a few maintenance issues on your own by now. “Giving most landscape maintenance people your trust here is like giving whiskey and your Porsche’s keys to teenaged boys.” – my local adaption of Wasowski ala O’Rourke.

PicachoMtn_AnthemS01_2017-03-12-SML

same median looking south, I’m also impressed how the wild Larrea tridentata / Creosote Bush are all left on the street sides…classy

Desert plants used well offer an understated elegance.

The low lighting really added some drama on this secondary neighborhood entry. About a half-mile away over the hills, onto Calle Vigas.

PicachoMtn_CalleVigas01_2017-03-12-SML

agaves and rocks just work

Agave neomexicana is also elegant – not the most interesting agave to many, since it isn’t zone-pushing, unusual, or glamorous enough. But it’s our’s, so just use it well and experiment well with it.

After a few years in my own garden I was blessed to own, I got such things right after enough cuts and flesh wounds.

Then I was free to unleash such things correctly the first time on loads of “paying projects”!

PicachoMtn_CalleVigas02_2017-03-12-SML

the mountain that used to be my workout hike

Looking back on the original development on Anthem Road, sunset! The Sophora there and on nearby plantings are barely blooming, just a little higher…maybe 4200′?

PicachoMtn_AnthemN03_2017-03-12-SML

the orange is ongoing water main work

Looking more closely, I only wish I could bottle up the fragrance for you of each Sophora x ‘Sierra Silver’.  But I did sacrifice life and limb on these bloom close-ups versus a rather territorial carpenter bee.

 

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.

RobRes-Front02_2014-07-18-SML

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!

Journey / Destination

The journey is the destination. Or as the long-sleeve tee says, which I’m wearing from Life is Good!

That partly depends on your company and how you travel, but some of that is being open to what your roadtrip reveals. I drove to and from Hobbs, New Mexico to give a presentation at a mini-conference. From 2/25/2014 and 3/1-2/2014 –

On my 4 hour drive to Hobbs NM, I could no longer hold back from stopping for photos! A stand of Palmilla or Soaptree Yucca / Yucca elata in gypsum sand dunes…Texas’ high point, 8,751′ Guadalupe Peak…

Continue reading

Spikes, Scallops and Stuff

Some scenes from my several day stay here over this Thanksgiving, on the sand hills west of the valley. Though I can see the lights of El Paso just 20 minutes away, it’s like being hours from anything.

Almost peaceful –

Datura-RanchoM-Sml

Jimson Weed / Datura wrightii after some hard freezes…another name for this or a related species is “Thorn Apple”

Continue reading

Patio Home Progress

Most of a growing season later, a decent monsoon season in there, and two tiny, new garden spaces…on the sandy bluffs west of the Rio Grande.

Albuquerque’s west mesa has some of the most amazingly warm, soft breezes of anywhere I’ve been.

Here, the owner is really connected to his plantings, then sharing it all with his array of friends. And did I say he likes to work in the garden? Yet I design low-maintenance and low-water-use, anyway, because it’s only right.

RobertsonRes-FrontN02_2013-09-25-Sml

maybe Predock would be proud of this 1970-ish La Luz patio home garden redo…maybe…I like the concrete lintels, and the colorful containers for foothills-native Beargrass…lighter, green foliage dancing against the earthy stucco walls…and another accessory used

Continue reading