Stop The Car! Pull Over! There's A Plant!

Happy Plumeria, above.  
 
We went to the super market for bleach, cheese, pineapple juice, and suchlike.  On the way, patient Beloved pulled over several times so I could gawk at plants.  Happy, happy Plumeria.   I killed the Plumerias I tried.  Admittedly I didn't try that hard.  I don't like them in winter, when they are leafless.  This particular ridiculously happy Plumeria has been planted at a house a couple of miles from here ever since I can remember.  It is trimmed down every few years to check its size.  


The homeowners removed the lawn this year, and simply left it bare.  They also added a couple of small trees.  I imagine they are waiting for autumn to do whatever it is they are going to do.
 The Happy Plumeria looks particularly fabulous this year.  Was it the warm nights, the two generous summer rains we got, or both?  It grows in a planter about 2 feet wide.  Plumerias don't have extensive root systems.
 Happy, happy Plumeria.
 I picked a fallen flower out of the gutter.  Still deliciously fragrant.
 Across the road, a violet Bougainvillea has eaten an Cupressus sempervirens.  Happy, happy. 
 Another Plumeria down the street from the Cupressus-eater.
 A youngling, only seven or eight feet (2.4 m) tall. (The wall is five). 
 This looks to be the Plumeria of which the previous one is a cutting.  Even bigger. 
Across the road,  a front garden recently de-lawned, with gravel and a few succulent plants.  Ulmus parvifolia (Lacebark Elm) is the large tree.  This was a very popular tree at one time in Southern California.  Its fast growth and eventual mature size put a lot of tree trimmer's children through college.  The cost of ownership made their popularity decline.
 Interesting little border there, pieces of rusting steel held in place with rusting pipe sections, the pipe filled with concrete.  Draped over it, Rosemary.
 And yet another Parkinsonia 'Desert Museum'. 
 Onward, to admire a Lantana-laden hellstrip.  If they were to mow it to the ground once a year, and tolerate a few weeks of cropped stems, it could looking this good for years.  Unfortunately, most people just Lantana planted as a ground cover, which forms an increasingly thick layer of dead material topped with one layer of green.  It eventually becomes a hedge.  But today, pretty. 
 Casual rock border.  I'm still thinking about edging the front slope.  Maybe I won't. 
 Diagonal to the Wilma Flintstone necklace, Thuja occidentalis, here commonly called Arborvitae, has formed a 10' hedge on one side of the walkway and a buzzed undulating block on the other. 
Closer to home,  a couple of plastic lawns.  Pretty design, plastic lawn really unecessary.
 A couple of gorgeous Zamias in here amidst all the other stuff. 

 Another one.  This was a big, big lawn.  They undoubtedly wanted to save some money on water.  Because there is a small hedge along the sidewalk, for those driving along, it's easy to mistake this plastic grass for the real thing.
 They made the lawn smaller by adding a strip of Myoporum groundcover.  Edging isn't well done.  The trees are mostly Lagerstroemia 'Natchez' but there's a concrete-buckling, pipe-clogging Ficus in there, too.  And some European white birch, short-lived here. 
 This property is meticulously maintained and cared for.  Of course, next door...
 ...looks like this.  Isn't that always the case?
 Around the corner was this.  I loved the house more than the garden (the photo doesn't show its charm), but the way the light is fractured by the trees, it made a beautiful moment of morning light and shadow.
 That is what we saw in the neighborhood this morning, on our way home from the super market.  Beloved's patience is vast.  

Comments

  1. I hope my Plumeria handles its confinement in a pot. There's a grove of Plumeria fronting a house a couple of miles down the road and their leaf-less state bothered me less than I thought it would but all are mature, well-branched specimens that have almost a sculptural quality when bare. If my baby plant does well, perhaps I'll try some of them down at the bottom of my slope.

    The plastic grass seems to be gaining a following, although I still haven't seen much of it here. My lawn (if it could even be called that) is now officially gone and, while I'm anxious to get something down to cover the bare soil, I think it's going to be a while until I've got the soil in shape to plant. I wonder if anyone sells plastic grass throw rugs?

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    1. I'm sure they do well in pots, just not for me. :(

      search on plastic grass rug. Apparently everyone sells them! (scary thought)

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  2. Vast patience is a quality much to be admired. How do you return the favor?

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    1. I keep checking for wings. He's an angel.

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  3. Beautiful Plumeria, the fragrance would be lovely. Some very interesting front gardens dear Hoover, the last garden and its house look wonderful in the filtered morning light.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. Shadows can add so much magic to a garden!

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  4. I have never seen a Bouganvillea that large! Do they always grow indefinitely large in your area? Same with lantana? It's funny that Phoenix uses the same species, yet they don't grow as enormous. Also, I want to grow a plumeria so much, but the dry air.... I love seeing your pictures, so beautiful.

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    1. Bougies get big, but not infinitely--they tend to stop when they reach the neighbor's fence line. ;^)

      Lantana will do all sorts of things like invading shrubs and growing up over them and covering them. The new hybrid dwarfy Lantanas seem like a huge improvement. I'm not usually a fan of dwarfed perennials but those are winners.

      It looks like people are growing Plumies in the AZ area, try searching on "best plumerias for Arizona", several things come up..

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  5. The palo verde pic reminds me how more inviting low-water landscapes are when they have a tree or two.

    Small correction: the American elm has been devastated not by the emerald ash borer but by an elm beetle and an associated fungus, but the cursed EAB is affecting mainly ashes (green and white), and some related trees like (sob!) fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus. One green ash succumbed last year, another's canopy is thinning alarmingly, and a white ash appears unaffected so far. But is probably doomed in the long run.

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    1. Yes of course, what was I thinking? Thanks for the correction, I changed it in the post. I was thinking of Dutch Elm Disease for some reason, which the Lacebark is highly resistant to.

      Probably subconsciously I'm hoping that something gets the trash-ash in our neighborhood, which reseeds like crazy and gets enormous quickly. Now we're also seeing Tree-Of-Hell moving in, even worse.

      I agree, something tree and some shrubbery-ness paired with architectural succulents makes a xeric landscape so much better.

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  6. That Plumeria is happy! My neighbor has one, but it's not that big yet and I'm not sure it will as happy in Riverside as the one by you.

    A few people in our area have removed their lawns and put in the prison-yard gray gravel (it's as bad as the white and the lava rock in my opinion) and not enough plant material. Their yards look so desolate. It would be depressing to have to look at all day.

    The last house looks really interesting.

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    1. Prison-yard gray gravel...oh dear! Hopefully the few plants there will grow...large..fast...

      They do like heat and may do well in Riverside. Might need protection on a frosty winter night, but how many of those do we have anymore?

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  7. Nice Plumeria. That palo verde doesn't look like a 'Desert Museum'...it looks like the weedy relative with less character: Retama / Parkinsonia aculeata.

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    1. Could very well be, I didn't look closely, nor am I familiar with Parkinsonia. The San Marcos website has some interesting comments on P. aculeata in our climate.

      See: http://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=1195

      Further sightings of Plumerias in the neighborhood, all looking fabulous, make me think the summer rain and warmer nights have made them look so much better this year...

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  8. Hooray for beloved's patience! I can almost smell the plumeria from here. Love the contrasting gardens. Maybe the well tended garden's owner pays the neighbor to neglect his yard to make the well-cared-for space look even better.

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    1. He's a much safer driver than I when there are plants to be eyed. When there is an airplane in the sky, the opposite.

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  9. Hah! Weedy indeed -- P. aculeata is common in fields and washes here, and I have two (potted) in my yard, both freebies. I just got a young 'Desert Museum' and I love it. Of necessity it will stay containerized, and I'm looking for a biiig planter at the moment.

    Love the 'Wilma Flintstone necklace' -- perfect description for this particular trend. Now, no one loves rocks more than I do, but IMHO it would look much better if they broke up the line with plants here and there.

    That last house is absolutely dreamy. Your Beloved is a peach! I'm always the driver, and am reprimanded for eyeballing plants (and birds) :~(

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    1. Interesting about the aculeata, is it an introduced species in your area?

      Well, there is bermuda grass sprouting in between the rocks. Does that count? ;^)

      We happened to drive by that house just as the shadows were at their most enchanting. Timing...

      He is a peach!

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  10. I have a question: are plastic lawns a safe choice in fire-prone areas?

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    1. Yes, that is a significant consideration here!!!! I did think of that and asked about it before we added our little bit for the dogs by the driveway. It is fire rated, yes, it's supposed to melt without releasing embers, flames, or toxic fumes that would overpower a firefighter. That was an issue I considered. Our bit is surrounded by concrete and stucco wall, so it's not going to greatly endanger anything around it. If we were told to evacuate I might have time to just pull it up and toss it farther away from anything at all. (Since when they were very young and destructive, the puppies pulled out all the staples holding it in place, and yanked it up and dragged it around a couple of times, it's just held down by gravity and some concrete blocks now. Ah, puppies!)

      Most of the ones I've blogged about in the neighborhood are away from the worst fire threats, on the side of the hill away from the predicted direction of disaster.

      A lawn is considered to be an excellent "defensible space" fire-block; it was shown in several of the So Cal fires that homes having a surrounding lawn (even an under watered one) with no or few foundation shrubs, and no trees near the home--those were the ones that were saved, while the houses with big trees and large shrubs right up against the structure were burnt to the ground.

      That has been an argument for some people in the neighborhood for keeping lawns, though some of them have large trees of explosive tendencies (pine, palm, eucalyptus) right up against their homes which wipes out the advantage of a lawn. When we had a fire inspection, the inspector was very happy with all of the stucco walls around our house and the lack of tall trees. He said the walls act as very good barriers, and planting only patio-sized trees (< 20') was a big safety advantage.

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    2. (a turf lawn is "defensible space" that is, not a plastic one)

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