Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Foliage Follow-Up - 10/2012

Foliage - fall has been in swing in ABQ for over a month, weather-wise. But our "wet season" being more of a nonsoon season, this will not be a banner year for the cultivated plants and few natives that show fall color in the city and other lower elevations. But that's OK - I didn't come for the fall foliage.

I came for the sun, mild 4 seasons, short winters, striking scenery, and opportunity. I got or took most of that for myself, to share.

Thanks Pam at Digging for your showcasing this monthly treat; join the conversation - here
Ocotillo / Fouquieria splendens has green leaves now spotted by many gold leaves, and has
for a couple weeks. I'm really not sure how this plant can muster up foliage given how dry
you see the nearby plants are.

This narrowest of the three Ocotillo behind my house is always the most golden.

A form reminiscent of the golden Scott Calhoun, sans his groupies :-) Would be
a hoot if he stumbled onto this post...

Desert Olive / Forestiera pubescens showing it's autumnal side

Thar's gold in those Deergrass / Muhlenbergia rigens plants!

I appreciate how most of the blades are green, a few are entirely yellow, and several are green streaked with gold.

Hairy Mountain Mahogany / Cercocarpus breviflorus losing some leaves, as other new leaves
come on. I am having to really water in my trio of them in this drought, as foothill stands of it
are starting to die all over. I won't let mine!

Here is one of those mountain mahoganies, the one seen facing out my dining room's door,
but this time, from my master bedroom patio.

The Zoyate / Yucca rostrata I nicked the roots off of and killed the entire top is sprouting nicely.  The foliage is interesting...powder-blue on the older, outer leaves, while the newer foliage is green or gold-green. This one is set to punch out two trunks in short order at this rate. I may just dig out the dead trunk...carefully, leave the rest for the next owner.

Hazy light; it is just not going to rain. But those potted Silver Cholla / Cylindropuntia echinocarpa
are simply splendid, the way the reflect the lower lighting angle, all engulfed with Deergrass!

Too warm mid-day here, but the mornings and evenings are off the chart gorgeous. The nights
would be cool and better if I could fix my lighting so you could get a subtle look at all this.
Too pitch black to enjoy it until I do that...

In my "spare time".

The fountain is not a bad sound in all this, either.

Met a prospective client at his job site N of my house a few miles and look who's out, running about and jumping into the air eating grasshoppers!

Señor Roadrunner is into all kinds of meat, it seems. Not just lizards and snakes. But as usual, I digress - note the golden in about the happiest honeylocust trees along Tramway Boulevard (still not happy, nor of our place). They get irrigation, are 25+ years old, and turn early most years. Can't make them think this is the midwest.

The same person has a rental house being renovated nearby...even in the small space, his 10-12
year-old Blue Atlas Cedar / Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' is really developing some form, and his
pruning is taking decades off that distinctive form to happen.

A perfect balance of letting things alone on a tree, while encouraging their full expression.

Those gnarly trunks makes me want to visit their homeland in the middle elevations of north
Africa. My father's old pics of that area showed something quite similar to the ABQ foothills.

A Purple Plum / Prunus cerasifera in front. It's always purpleish, though this one is not the
dark "Krauter Vesuvius' variety, far more common in Abq. Looks 'Newport'? They stay in
leaf here just like that until late November or December.

Here's a weeping form of Blue Atlas Cedar, planted opposite the above tree about 2000,
the owner said. Growing into a leaning form, right along with the similarly-aged Chaste
Tree / Vitex agnus-castus
planted too close. But check out the foliage on the cedar...

Wow - mingling! Some fall color on the Chaste Tree, but no flowers, unlike some.

The foliage on the cedar almost looks like thicker, bluer Spanish moss!

One final view. Again, great pruning to allow both plants to thrive in a tight space and together. I'm
so glad I ran into both of his Blue Atlas Cedar forms. So stunning, including with that Vitex.

Not my usual foliage post, thank goodness!


  1. LOVE the Deer Grass...they are so graceful...and tough! I can't wait for mine to really bulk up over the coming years to get as full as those :-)

    1. I should post on some of the deergrasses around town that have more room...so big, billowing, and rounded.

  2. That trio of potted silver cholla is about the coolest thing ever! Shame those two great trees were squished -- but unfortunately I completely understand the impulse to squish.

    1. Thanks - they are a favorite of all who visit this place! The squish worked out well under the right hands.

  3. That Cedar tree is really cool...it looks like Spanish moss. Your black pots are great and I like how the 3 are arranged.

    Got your message last night and sorry that we didn't get to meet up this time around. There's always next time. Conferences get crazy sometimes plus you caught me on vacation:) Hope you have a safe trip. I hope you got to see some amazing landscaping. Sounds like yesterday was a blast:) Buen viaje amigo!

    1. Agreed - I only wish I had more soil area behind those chollas, but none available.

      Next time, señor - and it may be soon. ¡Gracias!

  4. I've always liked weeping blue atlas. They too are beginning to be overused I'm afraid. I have a normal fastigate form that I'm pinching the new growth in Spring. Your garden looks great.

    1. Fortunately, Blue Atlas Cedar in Abq went through the popularity phase in the 1990's for 10+ years. A favorite place to plant them was against walls, ignoring that plants grow...and there are a number of 60'+ ones in Abq to see their mature size. Glad that fad is over!

      Thanks - still have to fix my lighting and replace a few things!

  5. I love, love, love the ocotillo! We saw one the other day in an Austin garden on tour. I think Pam may have posted a pic of it. We don't see too many of them around here as you know. I wonder how it will do with this wet weather we've been having. Lucky you to have so many in your garden

    1. I should post more on ocotillos...when seed-grown or correctly salvaged and rooted into a new container, they really take well. But over-watering or a lack of roots bad,

  6. I have never worked out the growth pattern with ocotillo. I originally thought it grew leaves and flowers when the weather was cooler and water was more freely available but with the ones I observe, I can't see a clear pattern.

    A newly landscaped park near where we live had a whole load of new ocotillos but the landscapers had left them wrapped with rusty wire like ugly bundles of sticks. We couldn't resist 'liberating' them and allowing the branches to spread. Two years on they look fantastic. I do wonder if we had left them, whether the gardeners would ever have unwrapped them.

    1. Some say ocotillos are in leaf with increased humidity, but that's not always true - one of mine stays in leaf all summer, even with no humid monsoonal pattern (like this year)...and all the ones I recall in Borrego in April and May, and just increasing heat and uber-low humidity. Probably numerous university dissertations on ocotillo leaf-out!

      Your account great - liberating as fun as guerrilla gardening.

  7. I loved seeing leafed-out ocotillo in Tucson -- such a striking plant, although I have to say I don't quite see the resemblance to Scott... Your trio of cholla in those dark pots, against the lavender wall, is to die for. I bet it would look beautiful softly lit at night.

    1. They are something in leaf...that particular ocotillo was tall, thinner, with a golden hue compared to the others, hence Scott!

      You remind me that I have to repaint that wall...it is so faded! Lighting...hmmm.