I didn't steal the BLM sign- It's a habit to pick up non-natural debris like candy wrappers, water bottles, and even fragments of shattered fibreglass trail-signs from otherwise pristine places.
Anyhow, important things to know are this- the sandstone, like an underpainting is "keyed" to be of similar make and colour- trying to make the rocks not stand out from one another. To keep them low profile, like one burnt-sienna stroke next to another. Nothing too exciting-feeling yet; I want the plants to be the exciting bits. The stone supplies the form (shape in 3-D terms), and plants should supply texture, colour, and yipee. (another technical term).
The goal is to leave the composition unfinished, welcoming the plants as the centrepoints and not distracting from them.
Art point number two: the vinyl fence is not my cup of tea; but it is there. It is a strongly contrasting white shape, almost a line, horizontal- and so I will break up that line with other lines- desert shrubs- growing vertically and effectively bisecting its strength by bisecting its length.
What follows is my natural bibliography- moments in nature this winter from the desert wilderness that are quoted in the rock garden:
(West of Zion National Park, Utah)
(Near the Gunnison River Bluffs, south of Grand Junction, CO)
(Dominguez Canyon: Yucca harrimaniae)
(Zion National Park: Shepherdia rotundifolia, an evergreen desert olive. Glorious....)