Monday, July 16, 2012

Foliage Followup - 7/12

Thanks Pam, for your monthly celebration of foliage, even as The Death Star torments you by day, while you just can't seem to out-run it in your dreams. Help Pam feel shaded and rested; enjoy the other posts - here!

This time, I'm leaving out my usual oaks, cacti, sotols, etc., in favor of other plants with healthy foliage. Just a few are below, in order of native to non-native, which should be paramount:

Local Native Plants


Honey Mesquite / Prosopis glandulosa (the graceful leaves and fine leaflets are so soothing, for
such a denizen of places that broil or boil in heat for months)

Same tree, but a part of it ravaged by aphids, as seen by the extreme leaf disfigurement. Too many, too fast for lady bugs and birds to eat and too much area to spray with something safe for the environment. Less aphids than usual on this tree, so maybe a positive side to our drought? I'm just glad this butterfly (monarch?) is enjoying the shade and probably the sweet, sticky "honey" on plant surfaces.

The dappled shadow pattern of the same mesquite, which allows sun-loving plants to grow near it's pleasant canopy (here, non-local Big Bend Agave / Agave havardiana L and local Mariola R)

Mariola / Parthenium incanum (those leaf hairs and gray foliage help reflect sunlight to conserve water...and the thick, oily leaves smell so incredible, as a by-product of that same foliage...it's compact, likes sun and limestone or other rocky ground)


Ecoregional Native Plants

Ocotillo / Fouquieria splendens (2 of the 3 plants here leafed out within a few days after the
onset of the monsoon season, when dew point temperatures and humidity rose sharply -
1 of those ocotillos flowered and leafed out this spring like the others, but is hesitant so far)

The same Ocotillo - had it rained more than our recent 1-1/2" since July 1, even larger foliage
might have developed, but this is typically sized at about 1/2" to 3/4" long. 

Autumn Sage / Salvia greggii (taking this close-up of a 'Furman's Red' cultivar was the highlight of this post, with that incredible spicy scent...the shine or gloss on the leaves might partly be the oils that makes its aroma possible)

Scarlet Bouvardia / Bouvardia ternifolia

Red Yucca / Hesperaloe parviflora (the leaf filaments are stunning, but those dark spots on the
lower leaves are a concern - just noticed them today)

Deergrass / Muhlenbergia rigens (almost a bluish cast to the foliage in optimum lighting, and it really completes the cool, oasis scene started by the fountain - all directly facing the front door for guests as they leave)

Rock Penstemon / Penstemon baccharifolius (note the small leaves by clicking to enlarge...this is a cultivar I don't think is sold anymore, called 'Del Rio' by Mountain States Wholesale Nursery)

Those leaves! They are semi-evergreen here, but definitely evergreen in less cold and
wind-prone parts of central and especially southern New Mexico.


Non-Native or Adapted Plants

Glad for the exterminator...this house was built in 1998, and back then, none of these. I'm told
these 3/4"-1' long beasts are oriental cockroaches, and this year, they are everywhere...
outside. Apparently, it takes 10 or more years to get roaches in a new house, but if it is 
connected to City of Abq water, it will get roaches in time. Hopefully, something already around
here will eat them, but no dice...so far.

Cockroaches are also a metaphor for the non-native, invasive trees plaguing my region, such as
siberian elm, tree of heaven, russian olive, and so on. Those don't deserve capitalization.

Aloe Vera / Aloe barbadensis (this potted one looked fine - inside in winter, then outside after
hard freezes are unlikely in late March...it started looking terrible by May, with a sickly gray-blue 
color, whether I watered it or not at all...in the last 2 weeks, since temperatures came down to 
the 92F range, and humidity went up, it turned green...I've done nothing different with watering!)


32 comments:

  1. Always fun to see what foliage shines in another zone. Up here in southern Wisconsin, we are feeling very much like the southwest this summer: hot and dry. We haven't had water restrictions in our city yet, but we are not allowed to use outdoor grills because of the dryness. Only a bit over 1/4 inch of rain since early June, instead of the usual 5-7".

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    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by. You win on Pam's and my blog for first visit! Yeah, odd, how this year, you are just like what Texas had last summer...just like! Hopefully you don't hit 112F in August...

      Water restriction...can you believe none here, well you can only water how much ever you want from 5 pm to 10 am / every-other-day, or something like that. I'm doing cartwheels my house, in a wetter part of town, is up to 3.43" of rain since Jan 1...2" or more below average. But at least the rainy / monsoon season is here.

      I am now heading up to WI to visit your garden and see how it looks!

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  2. I seriously can't get enough of your warm desert photos! The honey mesquite is really stunning! I love its shadow and Agave havardiana close by of course. And that rock penstemon is a real beauty! Everything just exudes warmth.

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    1. Very cool...I hope to take some soaking wet, monsoonal garden photos this week, a cool and humid 88-90F for us, but still warm for many!

      I like the mesquites with that dappled light from compound leaves / small leaflets. We are too cold for most tree-form acacias that I know of, not to mention other warm desert trees, unless they are from higher areas of the Chihuahuan and Mojave deserts. Warmth - I think you are really onto something, that desert denial gardens here miss, as they try to be something our place is not.

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  3. aloha,

    wow, what a real contrast to my area and seeing the harsh dry environment and yet the beautiful red yucca and penstemon add so much texture and color to this garden, thanks for sharing your garden.

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    1. Thanks for visiting! And that is precisely why such plants are used, as we are wishing for some more rain this week. You are most welcome.

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  4. So glad your monsoons have arrived!

    The rock penstemon is a beauty. I'll look up the agave. I bought an unlabeled agave a few years back that looks like it but is now significantly bigger.

    After my brief visit to New Mexico a couple of weeks ago, I'm even more impressed by the plants that grow in your region. The desert is a harsh environment.

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    1. Slowly, we're getting some rain and more to come! Hearing reports from central TX are amazing, like you're in on it, too.

      That agave gets 3-4' tall and wide, but mine have no irrigation, so a little slower. It is quite the harsh environment for plants to grow in here, but then again, the more I think about it, almost every place has it's challenges. But less challenges with locally-native plants, combined with being used in the right place.

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  5. Hey really like the S.greggi. I suppose that variety is zone 7? Don't see too many with glossy foliage. The rock penstemon foliage looks like osmanthus leaves.

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    1. No, Salvia greggii is most definitely 6b, and the Furman's Red is probably 6a - is definitely hardier to cold and heat. With your name, you should have some!! Mine reseed freely...if you want, I can send some seed.

      That penstemon is a favorite, though rabbits here laugh at spines, especially those soft leaf margins. All lettuce to them!

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  6. love the big bend agave against the texture of the wall

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    1. Thanks for visiting! That agave is a nice contrast, as usually a wall is smoother and a plant more textural.

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  7. You've featured some nice plants. Several which are hummingbird magnets. My first thought was a Queen. If the wings opened up, I'd be able to tell you for sure:) They both look similiar on the outside.

    I really like that fountain. Nothing splashy...but I bet it sounds very relaxing.

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    1. Great point, as bringing in hummingbirds is always nice, and our natives do that. Thanks for the butterfly ID...I'll see if I can get some open wing shots, as there are a number of them now. Fountain - just enough sound to help cancel out the freeway, and that wall behind it helps, too!

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    2. I thought some more about the butterfly....the Queen loves to hang in the shade on Mesquite or any of the silver type foliage plants like Texas Ranger etc. And in the sun, it will feed. They are about to explode in numbers soon with our rains beginning. At our Tucson Botanical Gardens, the Queen and Fritillary have taken over the landscape. I have several posts coming up on the butterflies in the gardens and the plants they utilize....I don't know why I'm fascinated by this stuff, but it makes for exciting gardening in the desert. I love when a kid comes into our courtyard at El Presidio and says "Look at the butterfly!!!" I smile and think about all the research that went into attracting that Swallowtail. The key? Citrus:) The latest are the Peach Trees. Several people stopped by and picked ripe peaches off of the trees here. "We can grow peaches here in Tucson?" Yep:)

      But the water....that has been frustrating. I have our fountain picked out but we need the money and the HOA doesn't it have it right now. Once we get that into the space, it's going to transform our courtyard space even more. We just got rid of more rotting wood around here and that has been a good thing. Little by little:)

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    3. More great info - thanks. I had wondered about the butterfly, and I'll try to get more photos of that one with wings open, etc. I think you and I are into these plant - human - wildlife interactions because, we both see ourselves as a part. So cool to participate with them!

      Citrus...if only up here.....

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  8. David, I like your selections, especially the fuzzy, gray Mariola. But WHAT is the blue, bushy plant with red berries growing atop the wall in the background of your first ocotillo picture? I photographed that plant at Denver Botanic Garden -- was fascinated by it -- but couldn't find a label.

    We haven't been too bothered by the Death Star lately due to all the clouds and rain. 8 inches in a week -- speaking of monsoon! BTW, there are large gaps in two places in your post, almost as if a couple of pictures are missing. Does it look that way on your monitor?

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    1. Thanks, and almost everyone likes the form, size and details of Mariola...the mass grower out here could not get anyone to specify them, probably 20 years ahead of its time?

      The blue plant - Ephedra equisitina / Ma Huang or Bluestem Joint Fir. A friend in Colorado gave me that in a 4" pot, and I watered it last about 2005...exceedingly heat tolerant! Glad your death star has been covered, and I hope all that rain goes a long time.

      But not so glad this post has some gaps on others' monitors...in Google Chrome, no gaps. In Internet Explorer (I kept it just in case), huge gaps between each of the 3 sections. Thanks for telling me. My annoyance is growing with Blogger's ability to easily, accurately format text, photos, and captions together, and until I migrate over to Word Press (unless it stinks, too), I may have to switch to one photo / caption posts.

      &^@###@****#% (pardon my Greek)

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  9. Looks so beautiful--havardiana especially--like old silver. I need a visit to the desert every so often to restore my soul. Really enjoyed your post, thanks!

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    1. Thanks, that's a good description of silver for that plant. I have an idea...photograph that very agave every hour, from dawn to dusk...with the blinding light here from different angles, it should be a good one!

      I need to stop working so I can restore my soul in the desert, sometime...

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  10. You always have some of the coolest-looking foliage around! This month's fav for me: mariola. Very cool with its little white hairs. So sorry I can't smell it from here...

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    1. Thanks very much...some unique traits to all this dryland plant foliage, as you know even more with all those Med. climate plants. Mariola...imagine that? Only the Silver Cholla here has been more popular. Can't buy or even find either in most landscapes here...I pull out Mariola seedlings all the time, or transplant others when I need one.

      Someday, I'll get a blogging program that transmits scents....mmm!

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  11. The way you divide natives is very helpful. So many plants native to the surrounding region grow well here and this is a good way to distinguish as I get more informed on the subject.

    Still on the trail of Rock Penstemon. So many available, but not that one yet.

    No gaps in text and photos today, I did see them yesterday.

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    1. Good luck finding the Rock Penstemon...I had to buy these ones at a plant sale in El Paso! I like to draw attention to where the plants can be found in nature, especially those that are from the local area - some plants have a huge range where they adapt, but others really don't.

      Gaps on post - glad it works better. I couldn't delete them in the edit mode, so I tried it in the HTML code editor...voila...many odd, repeated formatting lines. Always had trouble with this issue, but now it's worse on the new template.

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  12. Very cool foliage, as always...I'm a huge fan of Muhlenbergia rigens...and eagerly awaiting for mine to bloom :-)

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    1. Thanks, and it is a favorite grass to use. I didn't know you have that plant? It should be right at home up your way with wet, cool winters and warm, dry summers. Mine have reseeded a little, but the one along the house slab is not budging...bedrock!

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  13. Leerte es un placer, se vive intensamente los sitios que visitas, las plantas y animales que nos muestras,vaya hasta los olores y texturas de muchos de ellos.

    Saludos David.

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    1. ¡Muchas gracias! Me gusta ser capaz de salir a trabajar en el jardín, cuando no puedo trabajar en mis diseños paisajísticos. Las plantas del desierto tienen olores agradables!

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  14. Hi! thank you for your last visit! I didn´t answer to you and I wanted to tell you that you can download the Garden Design issue for free in the top of the post, in the link. http://paisajelibre.blogspot.com.es/2012/05/numero-de-abril-de-diseno-de-jardines.html
    Love your blog.
    Best regards from madrid

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for the link, I missed it (getting older, my eyes not as good:-) I really enjoyed the water features, and the stairs-water feature in France w/ lavenders either side won me over Steve Martino's modern feature by a slight margin, not easy to do.

      And thanks for visiting my blog - keep stopping by! Enjoy summer in Madrid - what a beautiful city; I must visit Spain again, 3 weeks was not enough...

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  15. Replies
    1. Especially the new foliage since we've had some rain and cooler weather!

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