Thursday, January 31, 2013

A few drive-by’s in T or C, New Mexico...


While chatting with the owner of the Cactus Ranch Andrew asked him the question I’d been wondering about all along “are there any gardeners in Truth or Consequences?” the owner kind of chuckled and I added “it’s not really a plant focused community is it?”

After thinking for awhile he came up with one (!) "sort of" garden. It turns out the owner of a local art gallery had a penchant for desert plants. Whenever he’d sell a painting he’d drive over to the Cactus Ranch, pop the trunk on his Cadillac, and say “filler up!”

The gallery/Cadillac owner is gone now (whether down the road or to the great art gallery in the sky I did not ask) but his plants live on, for the most part (photos above and below).

The shrub on the left was the greenest thing I saw during our visit!

Anyone know what it is?

This poor guy has seen better days.

His spikes still look good though.

And I’ll never tire of seeing cactus back-lit by the sun, especially against a colored wall. It’s one of the most magical things…

As I was about to leave I spotted this...

...a desert rose.. "desert rose is the colloquial name given to rosette formations of the minerals gypsum and barite with poikilotopic sand inclusions. The 'petals' are crystals flattened on the c crystallographic axis, fanning open along characteristic gypsum cleavage planes. The rosette crystal habit tends to occur when the crystals form in arid sandy conditions, such as the evaporation of a shallow salt basin." (source)

After that somewhat successful garden visit I decided to see if I couldn't find another one or two gardeners in this small town. There had to be a couple right? Driving on I spotted these tall spires...

So beautiful silhouetted against the blue sky! As I framed my shot the homeowner, and his very large dog, came around the side of the house. At that moment I was happy to be observing my number one rule of photographic adventures...stay on the sidewalk (or at least the public right-of-way), do not trespass. I mentioned how gorgeous I thought these were and asked for a name. I was told they were bamboo, I'm not sure if I was dealing with a local common name for a plant or a language barrier...anyone have an idea what this actually is?

This white tree against a blue sky is pretty enough in it's own right but really caught my eye were the dozens of Mourning Doves, for me there is no sound more evocative of the desert than the song of the Mourning Dove.

Rock houses are not uncommon here. This is one of the nicest versions I've seen...

More green!

Now I understand the appeal of Ice Plant in the desert...

The color went just a little funky here but I had to share this stairway...

Only the bravest of the brave dare climb it.

Blooming dasylirion?

Sometimes they get sleepy...

Louis this palm shot is for you!

Clean and tidy this garden is. There is a lot of empty space but also several choice specimens and quite possibly the biggest and best looking agave in all of T or C...

The chain-link fence doesn't really provide the sexiest of backdrops does it?

This garden was my favorite!

True it does prominently feature part of a car...but it has personality!

Entry stepping "stones"...

Which double as a back-scratcher.

Of course in true T or C style there are rings around the agaves...(thankfully not scalloped concrete!)

But they take it up a notch continuing the circular theme to the fence...

I wish I could have gotten a better shot of the rusty bit on the side fence, it looked vaguely floral...

Love the coloration on this large opuntia planting!

Especially framing a couple of powdery agaves.

These would be very wonderful in my garden!

And this! I just stared at this composition for awhile. The fence, the house...angles everywhere!

And a mass planting of opuntia and agave...

This one is a little on the sad side, but there's so much going on here I had to include it.

I think the power company came along and whacked back the agave bloom...

But it refused to give up! Look at those beautiful little plantlets.

Around the corner was another old bloom...

And we end our tour here...

26 comments:

  1. Wow, so much to see! I have to go through these photos a couple more times to take them all in.

    Lots of neat stuff in addition to the plants. I love corrugated sheet metal in conjunction with desert landscaping. Saw some of that in 29 Palms a couple of years ago and have been wanting to replicate it ever since.

    The "bamboo" is definitely not bamboo. Maybe some sort of reed?

    The agave bloom stalk with the plantlets is awesome. I wonder what will happen when the stalk dries up completely?

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    1. It was very hard for me to smile and just agree with the fellow when he told me it was "bamboo"...I wanted to say "no it's not!" but really where would that have gotten me right? Instead we both just nodded and agreed it was beautiful, and I'm left wondering what it really is...

      In my dreams that agave stalk will dry up and fall over into the yard and those little plants will root. In reality it will probably fall into the street and they'll get run over. Sad.

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    2. Your comment about the bamboo reminds me of a discussion I had with a nursery owner at Thanksgiving. He claimed in the most vigorous terms that there is no bamboo native to the Americas. I chose to let it go.

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  2. Great tour, loved the metal fence, rock houses and all the great combinations.

    Your green shrub is Sophora secundiflora or Texas Mountain Laurel which gets beautiful flowers in the spring. They smell like grape soda. It is winter hardy and drought tolerant and literally native in my neighborhood. It was also my father's favorite plant so I learned to love it quite early on.

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    1. Thank you! Sophora secundiflora...figures, I seem to have a thing for Sophora! This one looks to be a must for dry climates.

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  3. What a great tour of real desert gardens! I love that palm, it looks like it's wearing a grass skirt. Also, that garden with all the rusty bits on the fence, and the car parts in the garden, love that!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the tour Alison! Have you spent anytime in the desert?

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    2. Does Las Vegas count? When we were there, we rented a car and drove out to Red Rock Canyon, which I think is considered desert. That was pretty fabulous. Oh, and we also went to the candy factory garden there, in Henderson, I think. But I've never really been on a tour of the Southwest.

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    3. Yes Las Vegas definitely counts! Sounds like you did it up right.

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  4. Great shots!!! I love driving around when we are out of town and looking at all the different landscapes. That one green plant you had a question about is the Texas Mountain Laurel- they are evergreen and really tough and drought tolerant. (Sophora secundiflora). They are great, grow relatively slow but are nice and the deer tend to leave it alone which is a huge plus here in Austin. They have really neat purple grape like blooms, like a wisteria. I enjoyed the tour!!!

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    1. Garden spying is a wonderful sport...glad you enjoy it!

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  5. Thanks for this tour...the one you liked with the metal fence, all the details, and plants is nicely done...even the agave rings are not that bad! Must re-read ten times, or more.

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    1. I'd give you the location so you could do a drive by and check it out in person the next time you're there...but since I drove around in circles I have no idea where I was!

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  6. Beautiful blue sky and some great desert gardens. Much as I like these plants, I'm glad that we live in the soggy PNW.

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    1. No moving to the desert for you eh outlaw?

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  7. Every time I see pictures of the desert I get upset thinking baout losing all my pictures of Arizona....sigh...i love your shots..the kitty one is fummy but i love the rest in peace but no alcohol..hahahaa

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    1. That kitty was VERY friendly. I don't think the poor thing had seen a human for days...

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  8. It's so totally different to where We live. Like the shot of the backlit plant up against the coloured wall.

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    1. But where you live is pretty amazing in it's own right Karen!

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  9. This post reminds me of BBC Four - Hollywood's Lost Screen Goddess: Clara Bow - I watched it resently , and thought you would enjoy seeing some of the stills of her at her ranch in Navada , after retiring from films . Great photos of her posing with some "danger Garden" plants and a very interesting film.

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    1. Thank you! Great info Linda and I'll check it out!

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  10. I'm fascinated by T or C, such a curious looking place! Im glad you found some gardens and good plantings later on during your stay there, and love that shade of magenta(?) wall!

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    1. Well said, it is! I'd say you should visit someday but since it is in the middle of nowhere maybe not...

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  11. Wow!! I love the ice plants at that stone house! They are gorgeous. And thanks for the palm shout out. It reminds me of David's post a while ago of El Paso where the Washingtonia filifera were alive and the washingtonia robusta were dead.

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    1. Some of those ice plants were even blooming. I took so many photos there but had to whittle it down. Someday I hope to be able to do palm identification. You should do a post teaching us what's what Louis!

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  12. That "bamboo" is Arundo donax. Probably less thuggish in the desert! Those Opuntia masses are AMAZING. The cat cracked me up.

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