Hi Watermelon slices, and happy Monday.

I’ve lived in the desert for 11 years now, and I’ve found that it’s a land of extremes. Either it’s too dry and hot, or it’s too rainy and hot, or it’s too cold (Albuquerque sits at 5,000 feet – we definitely get winter) or it’s too windy and dusty. Don’t get me wrong – this city is my favorite of every place I’ve lived. I’m just sayin’ that as a resident of the desert Southwest, you spend a good deal of time trying to find a balance. Trying to create a balanced life in the throes of extreme weather. It’s not easy.

I think that’s why I’ve been drawn to medians lately.

That’s right. I said medians. The slices between the streets. The slivers that separate the drivers.

Medians are the center. They should have, well, curb appeal.

Medians are a hot topic in Albuquerque lately. I mean, not among my friends or people I talk with, but someone is talking about them, because newly planted ones are popping up all over town.

Really gorgeous ones like the ones in Nob Hill. They’ve gotten prettier every year I’ve lived here.

This is how most medians around town used to look – the city has a ways to go.

There was some flap a few years back (maybe it’s still flapping, I don’t know) about the grassy medians in the heights using too much water.

So the city has been redoing them into xeric gardens. I’m looking forward to seeing what this stretch of Academy becomes – I drive this road all the time. I like the view of the volcanoes in the distance.

Sunport Boulevard has the best medians of all. They really outdid themselves. Beautifully landscaped with funky desert plants.

The whole boulevard is decorated with cool pots like this one, which I think doubles as a rain barrel to help irrigate the plants. I’m not entirely sure, but I’m working on finding out if that’s true. It would fit right in line with their sustainability goals.

I remember an article in the newspaper about what visitors to Phoenix see when they step off a plane versus what people in Albuquerque see at the airport. There was a photo of a beautifully landscaped Phoenix airport next to a photo of a mattress up against a barbed wire fence here in Albuquerque. Made me laugh, but I think it might’ve pissed off the mayor, because now the airport looks gorgeous.

I did not even see the “Keep off the median” sign until I downloaded the photos. Haha, oops!

There was another article in the paper recently about the landscaping projects causing some controversy. There’s a guy named Ben who’s been taking care of the median outside his house, which is just down the street from Isotopes Park. He’s been adding plants and sculptures over the years. City workers said they were going to remove his work and landscape their own way. He cried foul. Now they are working with him. I think the plan is to take his sculptures out, plant around what’s already there, add irrigation, then put his sculptures back in place. I read that Ben’s not the only one who’s taken ownership of his median – lots of people have, so the city is proceeding carefully as to not upset these folks. Which I think is sweet.

So do you think I’m a big weirdo for being drawn to the middle? I see a space between the roads like this one, and my imagination races. What will be planted there, how will it look 11 years from now?

Yeah, that probably makes me pretty weird. I’m ok with that.

I’ll be back tomorrow. Until then, happy gardening!