Associates Part 1

I take notice of plant groupings growing in the same spot with identical conditions. Yet when it’s time to design, I rarely apply any of that.

Architecture, busy-ness, and dealing with client realities / curveballs take over.

I wish that wasn’t so. This is from a 9/2017 trip to the Big Bend, between Lobo and Valentine in Texas.

Another rest area in the middle of nowhere with a large yucca…


Yucca faxoniana / Palm or Faxon Yucca, at least 20′ tall.


And what else?

And a gentle reminder, this won’t look 50% as good without the yucca.


Do you ever take advantage of groupings in the wild, then create areas in your garden around those groupings? How successful are they?

I’m already thinking of a simple way to use the above plants in a purposed design for a typical space, where we can’t rely on miles of expansive scenery. I might share a sketch or two of that soon.


Skyline Accents and Trees

Those who have never picked up their free pair of desert eyes often miss the basics that make desert landscapes what they can be celebrated for. The skies, and what points to them or softens them.

Even the tallest of the dismissive can stand under what they term as “shrubs”.

El Paso Community College northwest campus, 12/6/14 –

so common and thriving here…Desert Willow / Chilopsis linearis, Palm or Faxon Yucca / Yucca faxoniana…

Our slight scare how winter was beginning has thawed into the mildest December I may have seen in this region. We’ve not even hit freezing for 2-3 weeks, after a few more frosts and a few hard freezes.

Pointing skyward!

the bare winter form of one, the bold green of the other…

While we don’t count Sonoran saguaros as our skyline accents, we compensate with yuccas like Y. faxoniana.

I’ll check this out in May when the Chilopsis is in leaf and flower…

Do you have any locally native skyline accents to employ in the garden? Or any exotic ones adapted to your area? I’d be intersted in hearing about them!

Big: Not Just the Trucks

West Texas and it’s neighbors of New Mexico and Arizona have much in common: geography, culture and even some cuisine.

Many of those similarities must be insanely different from many coastal and international visitors’ realms. It’s fairly easy to see why people from even Austin or Houston visit! Photos from 9/27/2014 –

xeric Pinus edulis and Yucca faxoniana…

Happy together on nearby mountains, these two common plants don’t seem to mind being together at a relatively low 4,000′ elevation, either. The drip irrigation needs to be buried, to not be so unsightly, and some underplanting of compatible natives would really help.

always scalloped block and Italian Cypress somewhere………

While I like breaking down perceptions and elevating reality, there is a reason for some stereotypes. And that’s fine.

And I bet restaurants serve grits here, but not green chile – it might be 2 hours west for that.

any questions where we are…these are small trucks for here, though…

Now to something more typical, and more grand, stately Y. faxoniana; some on this hotel’s property look to reach nearly 20′ in height. When planted with live roots, they grow to a similar size in Albuquerque, where it’s often called Palm Yucca.

The coolest place I’ve seen this species still look good is Santa Fe, just smaller. I’m not sure how they mature in the hotter, low desert areas such as Palm Springs or Tucson.

a more typical truck for here…it’s huge…but the yuccas dwarf it

Can you imagine those yuccas instead of palms in a prominent garden location?