Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Wednesday - Wide to Close

Over time, gardens change. This one is nearing 14 years old and is in the midst of being changed. By man, plus weather extremes - record heat 10 years ago, record cold in recent years. And often, drought.

The below photos go from large to small, then left to right.

The parkway gravel and weed fabric will be pulled away, "soil" removed to form a water harvesting swale, and that soil reused in low areas on-site. The swale will then be planted w/ native desert grass clumps.

Most media and blog posts, even some of mine, show gardens in a fleeting state of good maintenance, optimal lighting, etc. Here, raw reality. Though our weather was splendid beyond what many imagine, yet common here in early May - 80F, no humidity, a gentle breeze.

Optimal weather sees optimal blooms and growth here, but other posts reveal what holds together once summer hits.

First, 1 of 2 tough trees. Maverick Mesquite recovering from 2/11, after taking 7 years to finally grow, rooting into the granite bedrock.


Firecracker Penstemon from seeding ten years ago in fall. They pop up and live several years until their life spans are up, or I pull them from an unwanted place. And some volunteer Mariola and Damianita.


Potted Red Yucca plants about to bloom, and another volunteer Damianita in the paving crack against the house.



Just over the tan stucco wall, a fall 2011-transplanted Big Bend Agave pup and years-old planting / reseeding of Crimson Sage, S of the firepit.

Crimson Sage hiding a newly-blooming Texas Rainbow Cactus, that I salvaged prior to a Quercus school project's mass-grading of an El Paso mountainside. It loves it here, too...on tan granite, and cooler.

More Damianita, planted and volunteered; more volunteers to come. If only those were easier to transplant from this rocky soil...


And a Claret Cup Cactus...the White Sands form?




















In back, against the taller purple block wall, cactus replacements of Beargrass, Parry Penstemon finishing blooming with newly-added Rock Penstemon, and a slight view of native Oreganillo in the upper right corner.

And work to do - weeds to pull, landscape lighting to repair (to regain that night mood), pots and walls to repaint, etc.

18 comments:

  1. I don't know, I think "raw reality" is looking pretty damn good!

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    1. Thanks! The hummingbirds and bees must agree, pollinating everything in sight to make sure we get more free plants!

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  2. Looking good there, I like the pink and reds mixed against the purple wall. Those good natives and self seeders in your courtyard are looking great too.

    I also find blogs that mix in "big picture" reality much more interesting.

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    1. Gracias, Shirley. I look forward most to putting some yellow paint on that metal furniture and the lighting working...but that day job!

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  3. I love how you give the background information here on how these plants will do or have done historically in and around the house. Very interesting information! I am constantly changing the plan here. That which survives stays, but then I have to search for an equivalent xeric plant choice. It's very interesting and providing a nice layer to the plan.

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    1. Thanks, I hope you get what I do out of it. Especially that it is more adjusting than change...refinement over acceptance. (and just changing minds!) Have fun...I hope to visit Tucson soon.

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  4. Even if you think this garden shows a few rough edges I think it's come together over its lifespan. The little scenes with the smaller plants look great now. And ti won't be long when the bigger picture, with the bigger plants, is ready for its closeup.

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    1. Good points, and what is also interesting is how I think this garden's second life is going to be better than it's first life. Much learned in those years!

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  5. It looks really good.
    I love to see the 'long view' of gardens. Sometimes gardens have a mind of their own, and we just nudge them in the direct we want them to go. That may be the best way to garden. If we listen, they'll teach us.
    I think you're nudging in the right direction there.
    I love those potted red yuccas.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts and affirmations...I need it. Gardens are such a metaphor (I hate that word, though) for life. Roll with the punches!

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  6. What great tough plants. I really like seeing the progress - from "raw" to grown. Gardens really do evolve, with climate changes and growth habit changes and even dying off or old, diseased or traumatized plants. Guess that's why I love blogging - I can go back and relive the journey!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. Perhaps I'll run into you if you are with Pam/Digging Saturday...decided I needed a garden tour and Austin roadtrip. I can't wait to go back on your blog, like I am trying to do w/ a few others!

      Seeing that progress, or year-to-year change is amazing. In 2000, I never imagined a monsoon season with no rain...in 2002, I never imagined cold weather...in 2011, I never imagined warmth or a wet year. But the pics show otherwise!

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  7. David, Isn't it interesting how quickly gardens change? I've had several clients recently who have finally taken a good look at their gardens and realized they are overgrown and in need of some serious TLC. Another issue many homeowners here in CT have is that they lost a tree, or three, in the storms last year and now have much more sun than they used to. It's difficult when their shade garden is now in full sun. But I guess that's part of what makes gardening so interesting...and maddening.

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    1. Yes, even with proper maintenance, things out of our control can change a garden. And accelerated with poor maintenance, over-watering, etc. No wonder some people only sell boulders and gravel...longer "lifespan"!

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  8. It's always interesting to see which plants prove themselves to be hardy and which don't. Especially in the face of summer heat/winter cold/water in the desert. I'm really digging that cactus and sage. What struck me about the 1st photo was that it really was like an unfinished painting. With the composition comprising a foreground(the strip), middle(wall area), and background(house). You want the right balance-not too many/few plants, not too much/little color, not too busy/congested, the right lighting, and a smooth transition between each section w/o the fore/middle/back dominating the other. Should be a fun project and it'll be interesting to see the results. Good luck!

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    1. Yes, unfinished, especially the foreground (parkway). Thanks and will keep posted!

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  9. Sounds like you have a few irons in the fire. At least you have a plan, in your mind anyway. lol. I'm still trying to finish my winter projects. You commented on stipa tenuissuma, sound like you had a seedling issue. It seems the seed is more virulent in colder climates. My mother has the same issues in Wyoming.

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    1. Some of the plan is drawn, with some substitutes. Can't wait to diagnose the lighting and get it all working again! On the Stipa (used to be in the parkway strip), I noticed it reseeded all over a garden in Austin TX, and it is being considered an invasive species in California due to problems in San Diego, LA, etc...Abq is in the warmest reaches of USDA 7b, but perhaps it's rocky soil, too?

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