What Makes It Work?

Note the whitish layer in the soil (called caliche), overlain with gravels (called desert pavement), and the widely-spaced olive-green creosote bushes on top. As the wind blows the clouds about, which of course don’t rain.

calichecreosoteclimate-sml

this, catching my breath on a Sunday mountain bike ride

No coincidence or randomness in that.

Geology, biology, and meteorology conspire to grow things where there is no drip irrigation, nobody wearing black and glasses, or a municipal client with an open pocketbook – for those who stay in line.

During a conversation about our pasts, a landscape architect years ago asked me how my original college major of meteorology even related to my final degree in landscape architecture and becoming an LA.

Yes – I’m also confused!

Potential replies to that and a few times since have gone off in my head, “how does graphic design relate to the 4-D canvas of land and horticulture?”, “how does overplanting by 3 times help your client?”, or “how does it work using plants observably hardy only in the life zone warmer than you up in the mountains, only to copy Des Moines down in the desert?” All common themes in that group.

She asked in all sincerity, not out of shooting me down. Instead of getting uppity with her, I mentioned some things about working with one’s native vegetation and climate goes further when one gets their interrelatedness.

Of course, it all relates. Even other design fields, graphics to fashion.

But most certainly soils, life forms, and weather – caliche, creosote, and climate.

High Desert for Azalea

With our high elevation sun, cold dry winter winds, dry heat in the warm season, and heavily alkaline soils, azaleas are no option for spring flower pwoer. Our irrigation water can approach one step less alkaline than sea water!

But we can grow great India Hawthorn / Rhaphiolepis indica.

(addition: since my area doesn’t have many deer to eat it to the ground, especially in the middle of town, it can be enjoyed in or out of bloom!)

Photos from today –

on a northwest side…still cool during spring flowering…

Most India Hawthorn are hardy to as cold as USDA z 7b / Sunset z 10a in the intermountain southwest…Albuquerque, El Paso, Sierra Vista, Las Vegas, etc. Organic or inorganic mulch OK. Irrigate deeply 1x week once established, less in winter.

but gravel mulch and drip irrigation…not bad for the desert!