Thursday, November 04, 2010


The leaves on the plants that turn are headed towards their November color peak. A signal Albuquerque is in the last, chilly half of fall. And we still have plants with blooms, at least until our first hard freeze.

Pampas Grass / Cortaderia selloana shines during autumn in Abq, so I forgive it's overuse - for now.

How many colors do you see in each photo? Hint - color with me is not just floral, or even fall foliage.  

Brown is not normally a color that I would emphasize as a focal point, but in this case, it makes me delight. When it is dark here in such a context, it means water and some organic matter has washed down to nourish the spare plant life nearby.

Recent downpours in the desert southwest brought my house just across the freeway almost 1.5" of rain, and up to 2" in some areas nearby; storm runoff has not only gouged deeper into an existing wash, on the way down into town, so these Brickelbush are still green. So, is the brand of outdoor living space that I design, one not that reliant on irrigation life-support or fleeting flowers.

A Valley Cottonwood gallery forest at the bottom of Tijeras Arroyo:
Nice contrast to the surrounding and vast arid uplands. But not all is dried-out up here, Beargrass and Comanche Prickly Pear, unfettered by lean soil and rocks:

Almost at the top of my regular hike, 6500' - Indian Paintbrush: 

Cholla, Mountain Mahogany, Beargrass, with Valley Cottonwood WAY below in the canyon, where there is far more moisture availability than up here. Many colors, including a color that is the mix of ALL colors:

Threeleaf Sumac and Banana Yucca:

That sumac usually turns this pale orange-yellow, with only a few coloring up magenta or bright burgundy, but still nice.

In front, Fluffgrass / Erioneuron pulchellum dotting the dark, gritty soil; in back, a mass of many Sideoats Grama and a few Arizona Cottontop:  
Symbols of Chihuahuan desert grassland. Patterns of vegetation originating from patterns of climate and soils.

Apache Plume, with it's last flowers of the growing season: 


  1. Wonderful pics!! Beautiful area you live in.....I love the last pic of the Apache Plume.

  2. Thanks for your comment today at Hill Country Mysteries. I was tickled to follow you back here. I'm fascinated with desert gardening--the starkness and drama, and the swings from vibrant to dormant. Gorgeous photos with your post.


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