Houseplants and gardens of Chihuahua

Good morning! We’ve entered the freezing rain stage of our cold snap in western Oregon. I’ve gone out, thawed the hummingbird feeders, scattered some bird seed, and brought in a few more chunks of firewood. Linnaeus is in the window, watching the Steller’s jays and juncos and we’ve got electricity (for now). So, what better way to celebrate being inside on a cold, wintry day (21°F as of 11:30 am) than to blog about houseplants and gardens in Chihuahua, Mexico?

Linnaeus spending hours chattering his teeth excitedly at the birds

I’ve got just a few pictures (ok, 17) for this 12th installment of the Mexico series, starting with this assortment of houseplants at one of the homes we visited. Nothing out of the ordinary, but it made me happy to be surrounded by so many healthy plants, including a philodendron, peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii), and pothos (Epipremnum aureum).

I loved the way the pothos stretched overhead.

Another home we visited had something I had never seen before, a planting bed underneath the stairs! Again, nothing rare, but there was a nice bed of pothos being munched by blue and white porcelain bunnies. The larger potted plants included a sansevieria (Dracaena trifasciata ‘Laurentii’), a flamingo flower (Anthurium spp.), and a prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura ‘Kerchoveana’).

Plus, this upcycled can planted with a starfish flower (Stapelia gigantea).

A different house and stairway. I loved the pothos dangling off the ledge, the Monstera deliciosa growing in the corner (imagine what that will be like once it gets older!), and the growing collection of plants underneath.

I couldn’t help but take a photo of this trailer out in traffic one morning. Nice to see that someone will be getting a rather large specimen agave soon.

Next, I just wanted to show what a typical backyard was like. This one was very utilitarian because the family living here has kids. It’s a pretty small space.

Looking the other direction, there’s ivy on the wall, a bougainvillea blooming at the far end, and a small patch of artificial turf, which provides a softer surface to play on. Out of view, along the right, is a small arborvitae.

The entrance courtyard to another house with lots of potted plants. The brown awning overhead provides protection from the sun. There was a nice cape plumbago blooming (Plumbago auriculata) in the corner.

Inside, I loved this painting by Oscar Basulto from Guadalajara.

The backyard was pretty fabulous. The kids have left home, so the couple living here installed display shelves for their containerized plants. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get close-up photos, but I know that those sticks poking up in the background are ocotillo, and that those are citrus trees in each corner (potted on the left, in ground on the right). The vine on the right is a giant star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), which was just starting to perfume the air with its sweetly scented, white flowers.

Later that night, I got a decent close-up of the water feature. The husband built it himself out of milk cans from his old family farm.

Now, we are just out wandering about town. I love, love, love the bright orangy-red and golden yellow flowers of the Mexican bird-of-paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima.

This might be one of those cases where just a single plant makes a generic yard suddenly become a garden.

I’ll leave you with this fabulous collection of houseplants that I spied on a porch during one of our jaunts around the city. It is so well put together designwise, artfully combining texture, form, and color. I see an arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum) on the lower left, a giant Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) in the middle, a very nice variegated Schefflera arboricola, and an old cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) on the right. I don’t know what the yellowish-green plant is in the upper left. Somebody living here has obviously been taking care of these plants for a long time.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Kris P

    I loved the ceramic bunnies in the stairwell cavity! Indoor planters were apparently a “thing” in mid-century modern homes built here in Southern California – I came across one at a neighbor’s house a few doors down years ago. (Our current house, built in 1951, didn’t have one of those but it did have an indoor BBQ until we removed it.) The healthy green houseplants look great against the stark white walls and stairs too. The milk can water feature was clever.

    I hope you don’t go stir-crazy with the hideous weather. At least Linnaeus is well occupied.

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      I wonder what most people ended up using the indoor planters for in the end? I can’t imagine that there were that many families who were into houseplants, but you never know – different times, different trends.

      We did okay during the ice storm. Electricity went out for one day, but we have a woodstove and generator that helped us weather it out. The roads are still bad this week and classes/work have been cancelled for 2 days, potentially 3 depending on where people are.

  2. danger garden

    Yep, that last shot steals the entire post, although I must say I love the indoor stairs and planting spaces around them.

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      There are a few plant people down there! I keep thinking I just need to find the right person and then I’ll find a truly great Chihuahuan garden.

Leave a Reply