Thursday, January 24, 2008

Winter Green in ABQ - Part 4...closing thoughts

Finally, some of this tired issue about Albuquerque being "so brown" is really about not knowing the above plant options, or stubborn reliance on ones' perceptions getting in the way of reality. And don't forget that some of the plants which still display their green best in winter or drought are cacti and other succulent accent plants, a tough reality for xeriphobes to embrace. But quite a notable and true reality!

And some of this issue is design and one's perspective; the following images were taken at the same place, but you'll agree which captures the place better.
1) note what you see if you just look down...

2) note what you see if you look at the whole picture, by just moving your eyes up...

Make sense?

The first image looks like many local "xeriscape" designs that are flower-based but seem to celebrate the colors brown and gray for at least 5 months. But in the second image, do you see the evergreen oaks plus a couple evergreen junipers scattered in the desert grassland? (several other plants on the above lists are also in the background, but are hard to see at this scale)

So, there is no need to wish you were somewhere else, as you "suffer" through an Albuquerque winter; know and apply all your opportunities here! (if you think Abq is cold, try the Great Lakes region sometime)

By the way: all the photos on this 4-part blog post were taken on 1/21/2008, late afternoon, and it was the first average 50-ish day in well over a week. Relax, perhaps watch the sunset, and embrace where you REALLY are.

But at sundown, it might be best to get back home!

(probably the tracks of a female cougar [or older cub], the last 5 minutes of my hike back to my car)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Winter Green in ABQ - Part 3

Now, if you are also happy with "green" to include blue-green colors (I am that way), there are even more plants for adding bang to the winter landscape! The desert southwest, plus adjacent uplands and foothills, are blessed with a bountiful floral paletten of blue-green evergreens, to say the least.

Below is just a sampling of blue-green plants with winter interest (a couple taken previous to today):

TREES (& skyline accents):
Nolina nelsonii / BLUE NOLINA
Quercus grisea* / GRAY OAK
Quercus turbinella* / SHRUB LIVE OAK

Yucca rostrata / BEAKED YUCCA

SHRUBS (& vines):
Lavendula angustifolia / "ENGLISH" LAVENDER
Lavendula stoechas / SPANISH LAVENDER
Salvia dorrii / DESERT SAGE
Salvia pachyphylla

Agave americana / CENTURY PLANT
Agave americana var. medio-picta
Agave havardiana / BIG BEND AGAVE
Agave ovatafolium / WHALE'S TONGUE AGAVE
Agave palmeri / PALMER'S AGAVE
Agave parrasana / CABBAGE HEAD AGAVE
Agave parryi var. parryi / PARRY'S AGAVE (taken a previous summer)

Agave parryi var. truncata / ARTICHOKE AGAVE
Agave parryi var. huachucensis / HUACHUCA AGAVE
Agave parryi var. neomexicana / MESCAL AGAVE
Agave scabra / SHARK SKIN AGAVE (taken summer 2002)

Agave utahensis / UTAH AGAVE
Dasylirion wheeleri / SOTOL
Yucca neomexicana / NEW MEXICO YUCCA
Yucca pallida / PALE LEAF YUCCA

GROUNDCOVERS (& grasses, perennials):
Teucrium aronianum / GREEK GERMANDER

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Winter Green in ABQ - Part 2

SHRUBS (& vines):
Arctostaphylos pungens* / POINTLEAF MANZANITA
Cistus spp. / ROCKROSE
Ericameria laricifolia / TURPENTINE BUSH
Garrya wrightii* / SILKTASSEL BUSH
Heteromeles arbutifolia / TOYON
Rhaphiolepis indica / INDIA HAWTHORN
Rhus ovata / SUGARBUSH
Rosmarinus officianalis / ROSEMARY

Agave chrysantha / GOLDEN-FLOWERED AGAVE
Agave lecheguilla / LECHEGUILLA
Agave lophantha / CENTER STRIPE AGAVE
Agave mckelveyana / MCKELVEY'S CENTURY PLANT
Agave montana or A. macroculmis / MOUNTAIN AGAVE
Agave salmiana / MAGUEY DE PULQUE
Agave schottii / SHIN DAGGER
Agave striata / ESPADILLO or SOTOLITO
Agave toumeyana / TOUMEY AGAVE
Agave victoria-reginae / QUEEN VICTORIA AGAVE
Agave victoria-reginae var. compacta / COMPACT QUEEN VICTORIA AGAVE
Dasylirion leiophyllum / GREEN SOTOL
Dasylirion texanum / TEXAS SOTOL

Hesperaloe capanulata / BELLFLOWER HESPERALOE
Hesperaloe funifera / GIANT HESPERALOE
Nolina matapensis / TREE BEARGRASS
Nolina microcarpa / ARIZONA BEARGRASS
Nolina texana* / BEARGRASS or SACAHUISTA

Opuntia chlorotica / PANCAKE PRICKLY PEAR
Opuntia dillei Opuntia ellisiana / SPINELESS or CACANAPA PRICKLY PEAR
Opuntia engelmannii* / DESERT or ENGELMANN PRICKLY PEAR (back of boulder on right)
Opuntia valida*

Sabal minor / DWARF PALMETTO
Yucca baccata* / DATIL or BANANA YUCCA
Yucca filamentosa / ADAM'S NEEDLE
Yucca recuervifolia / PENDULOUS YUCCA
Yucca rupicola / TWIST LEAF YUCCA

GROUNDCOVERS (& grasses, perennials):
Baccharis x Starns / THOMPSON BROOM
Rosmarinus var. prostrata / TRAILING ROSEMARY
Teucrium chamaedrys / TRAILING GERMANDER

Monday, January 21, 2008

Winter Green in ABQ - Part 1

"All the leaves are brown
And the skies are gray..."

While Albuquerque is in yet another winter pattern of below average temperatures and icy NW winds, dessicating normally evergreen plants in the foothills, people and landscapes need not suffer. That 1960's Mamas and Papas song has little relevance here, though, with cobalt blue skies that coastal Califiornians would actually be dreamin' about, but that we actually get more of!

Below are a sampling of plants with winter green interest that thrive in Albuquerque, depending on soils, irrigation, space, or elevation, of course (* = locally native to Abq):
TREES (& skyline accents):
Cercocarpus breviflorus* / HAIRY MOUNTAIN MAHOGANY
Cercocarpus ledifolius / CURLLEAF MOUNTAIN MAHOGANY
Juniperus monosperma* / ONESEED JUNIPER

Ligustrum japonicum / GLOSSY OR TEXAS PRIVET
Magnolia grandiflora / SOUTHERN MAGNOLIA
Photinia serrulata / CHINESE PHONITIA

Pinus edulis* / COLORADO PINON

Pinus eldarica / AFGHAN PINE
Quercus arizonica* / ARIZONA WHITE OAK
Quercus fusiformis
Trachycarpus fortunei and T. takil / WINDMILL PALM
Vauquelinia angustifolia / NARROWLEAF ROSEWOOD (turns bronze in full sun)
Vauquelinia californica / ARIZONA ROSEWOOD (turns bronze in full sun)
Yucca aloifolia / SPANISH BAYONET
Yucca elata* / SOAPTREE
Yucca decipiens / PALMA CHINA
Yucca faxoniana or Y. carnerosana / PALM YUCCA
Yucca schidigera / MOJAVE YUCCA
Yucca schottii / MOUNTAIN YUCCA
Yucca thompsoniana / THOMPSON YUCCA
Yucca torreyi / TORREY YUCCA