Every "Sustainable" Check Box Checked

I spotted an interesting garden on the way home from a Mother's Day celebration ("Honey!  Stop the car!  Now!").  It was a garden surrounding a cluster of small buildings behind a fence--I wasn't sure if it was a senior center, school, or church social center. 
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As I gawked and snapped photos, a staff member arrived and invited me inside the gate to look around.  She explained that the facility is a skilled nursing unit for the adjacent senior living compound.  It is designed to be more home-like and comforting than the usual sterile hospital setting "where you have bare bottoms sticking out of hospital gowns."   She graciously let me wander and snap photos while she went into work.  So I wandered and snapped. 
Carpenteria californica:
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The garden appeared to check every single item on the "Sustainable Garden" list.  Rain chains?  Check.
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Permeable pavement in the parking area to allow rain to be absorbed into the soil?  Check.
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A native Carex no-mow lawn?  Check.
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Contemporary style horizontal wood fencing from sustainable sources?  Yep.
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Low-water requirement plants?  Of course.
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Grevillea of some sort:
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I love Lion's Tail, Leonotis leonurus, though I am told it can get  ratty looking after a while if not properly maintained.  
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Not ratty yet.  The garden looks to have been installed within the past couple of years.  It has had time to settle and grow.  It's been getting good maintenance as well--everything--yes, everything--was thriving. You don't see that often.  Someone spent money to get it right.  It was right.
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And the maintenance guys hadn't hacked the--Ozothamnus(?) into cubes--at least, not yet. 
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The tree selection was quite good--only the native Sycamore is likely to get really large--everything else seems likely to grow to a size in scale with the single story buildings.  The trees included Parkinsonia 'Desert Museum', a Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp aspleniifolius , Arbutus unedo, and Desert Willow.
'Desert Museum', and another rain chain.
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The Lyonothamnus is perhaps a bit close to that wall... 
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One of several Arbutus
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Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis inside a small private patio:
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Walkways, a sitting area, benches, lighting all well crafted.
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The plant highlight (and therefore overall highlight) for me was a long, narrow mass planting of Kangaroo Paw, Anigozanthos, along a walkway.  Mostly a pale yellow, with just a few reds mixed in as an accent.  Not the brightly colored short hybrids, which I find disappointing.  No, the outlandish, bold, tall species--the good ones.  The flowers shoot up past eye level.  My eyes were in love.
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Oooh!  Ahh!  Happy happy happy visual cortex!
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Quite a satisfying project--good design for a medical facility that needs to be accessible, appropriate plant choices appropriately placed (except maybe that Lyonothamnus), at least at present, skilled and proper maintenance.  But what is "sustainable", really?  This beautiful garden took a lot of thought and money.  Lots of money.  How "sustainable" is that

Oh well--whatever--bring on the rain chains! 
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Comments

  1. Wow dear Hoover, so pleased you stopped and captured some photos of this wonderful place. Many interesting and practical design ideas, great gardens and a wonderful mix of beautiful plants, I love the colours of nature.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  2. At least they put some thought into it, all you can hope for is that the volunteers keep up the good work as currently it looks much better than so many of these types of spaces.

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    Replies
    1. Without a doubt, a cut above the ordinary.

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  3. Very nice! Lion's tail is better as a perennial -- when grown as an annual as I must do it gets much too tall before starting to bloom. These look to be the perfect height though!

    Nice cataloging of all of the details here. :)

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  4. Great discovery, glad you got to take a closer look. Since all we see up this way are the short kangaroo paw I enjoyed seeing the tall ones too, takes me back to my last visit to LA, it's been too long...

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    Replies
    1. Feels like Phoenix today, not LA. :(

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  5. Looks like a lovely garden, so nice that they invited you inside the gate. I've been tempted lately to buy kangaroo paw, but it would have to be either planted as an annual here or wintered over in the greenhouse. So far I can't bring myself to spend the money. Such an interesting plant, though. Looks like nothing else.

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    Replies
    1. It's an expensive plant, and looks dreadful out of bloom. If not for those flowers...

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  6. Check it out! It's nice that facilities like that at least think about the contribution of gardens to their clients' well being. All it needs is a loquat :)

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    1. I'm going to bring a bucket of Loquat seeds to the Fling and contaminate everyone's yard. Then you'll be sorry.

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  7. Very well done (on the part of the care facility and by you in catching photos to share)! Coincidentally, I'm on a search for a lawn grass replacement so it was interesting to see Carex used this way - any idea of the species? Disappointed in the Anigozanthos 'Bush Eternity' I've got along the street, I've also found myself looking for a source of the tall yellowish-green flowering variety I've seen in a local retail setting but I've yet to find anything other than the bright 'Yellow Gem.'

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    Replies
    1. Goooood question. I read Berkeley Sedge is not actually C. tumulicola but C. divulsa (from Europe); Carex pansa makes a lousy lawn, but Carex praegracilis is often sold as C. pansa and makes a good one; not to mention supposed native Fescue glauca--aint--so, I would not even make a guess.

      I think Anigozanthos is best for me in Other People's Gardens...

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