Cool Season Interest: Nolina

I spotted a few hillsides of Nolina microcarpa on one hillside. Photos from 11/29/2019.

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That illustrates why winter interest goes way beyond the longings of some, flowers as many month as possible.

It must include evergreen foliage, and not just some basal leaves that stay alive in the cool season.


I was driving back from a cold and wet Thanksgiving trip to a friend’s weekend lodging, hidden in a deep valley at the edge of the Gila region. Any colder, and it would have snowed there.

It did snow up here, over 1,000 feet higher in elevation, the day before and the day after Thanksgiving.

Snow Tgiving-Silver City 1-SMLSnow Tgiving-Silver City 2a-SMLSnow Tgiving-Silver City 2b-SML


The rolling hills grabbed my attention, the heater blasting in my car. Where ecoregions fade into each other: Chihuahuan desert grassland becomes the Arizona-New Mexico Mountains. That’s one of my favorite things to see, everywhere it occurs.

Spacing_Nolina_microcarpa-Silver City W02a-SML

Other than the evergreen foliage, did you notice the plant spacing? This elegance: letting the process of infrequent rain events and slope determine the quantity of plants that can be sustained.

Spacing_Nolina_microcarpa-Silver City W1b-SML

There’s no over-crowding here. Not only are the Nolina microcarpa spacing themselves where precipitation can sustain them, but so are the native bunch grasses. (no ID)


Taos Townhomes

A colleague called me years ago, stating a familiar problem in the region, “the city is now requiring landscape plans for my project to have an irrigation plan and all be stamped by a licensed landscape architect.”

I obliged, reviewed her plans and did the rest. Several years later, here is Puertas Pintadas in Taos.


Having well-designed architecture doesn’t hurt, but skilled maintenance made me smile for once.

Even the door and window colors with the twisted columns…


While I would have preferred a native grass instead of maiden grass, and more natives overall than what were used, I also know I had the next phase to design myself and the reality of plant suppliers, too.

The purple smoketrees are ready to prune out, already interesting in series.


Hawthorns remind me of native chokecherries in the Rocky Mountain foothills, and those stepped balcony walls under the ramadas look perfect to sit out under the cool night air.

Chinquapin oaks are not native, but they really love many soils and are quite stunning in leaf and vigor. I only wish more were used.



Speaking of the last phase I designed plantings and irrigation for…stay tuned.


10/3/17 weather: 89 / 54 / 0.00

Go Up, Cool Down

I can no longer pop my laptop or folding chair in the car, and drive 4000′ uphill in 20 minutes to cool off 20F.

To cool off the same way – going 4 of the world’s 7 life zones cooler – it now takes 2 hours of driving, though most of that change is in 20 minutes from Alamogordo. And I’ve still done that, though not nearly as much as I would like.

Enjoy the cool down to near-9000′ elevation Cloudcroft NM. And this mega-photo post.


Trip #1 after Labor Day 2013 –

for me, all this water was great!

Continue reading “Go Up, Cool Down”