Winter Walk 2016

 A Tidewater Gardener's annual winter walkabout post details some of the history of his area.  An impressive history it is, with architecturally marvelous old homes and churches, a huge oak dedicated to the memory of those lost "in the world war", and more (water!).  What a gorgeous place to live!

My own neighborhood's history is far more brief and insignificant, as histories go.  Most of the "history" such as it is, is simply recent memories.  At any rate, highlights from a walk to the nearby park and back, on yet another brilliantly sunny, 75F winter day, weather we are all thoroughly sick of.  At least its not 90F.  

Over this past weekend, this homeowner moved a sizable volunteer oak from his gully and replanted it by his driveway.  I wonder how much root system he got and if the oak will survive.  An acorn is easier, and not all that slow.  Nice support job, though.

The new growth on it has died.  You can see it drooped.  Yes, that's our typical winter sky.
 Beautiful chickens!  Cool!  A couple of years ago they had beautiful turkeys.  We could hear gobbling all day long.  That was fun. 
 
Next neighbor has a show-off Bougainvillea that was cut completely to the ground maybe three years ago.  It receives no irrigation.  The generally accepted fact is that once a Bougainvillea is established, it's nearly impossible to get rid of--chemical intervention required.  A freeze?  Only if the ground freezes, too.  It will come back from the roots otherwise.  The searing intensity of the color doesn't come across in the photo.

Trash-Ash in trash-Palm.  I pull dozens of seedlings of one, and hundreds of the other, every spring and summer.  
 
Another Bougie.

Birch trees leafing out.  People around here love them, but they only live a few years after planting.  Ten is old.  Not enough water.
 

This Euc was planted circa 1970.  It was in a one gallon pot and cost a dollar.  

We call this property the House Of Palms.  It sat vacant for over twenty years until a guy who grows palm trees fixed it up to sell.  I don't think he made much profit--too many expensive problems needed fixing.  A very nice family bought it.  Judging solely by the repair and contractor's trucks often there, they've had expensive problems with it, too. 

This Opuntia came from a pad picked up behind a motel in San Luis Obispo more than twenty years ago.  The Opuntia owner told me that.  Trucks driving by keep it trimmed. 

Another Bougie.

Dying Avocado tree.  Of thirst.  Before it began to die, a woman from up the hill used to come every year and steal avocados from it. 
The survivor of three pines; two died last year.  
 Another Bougie.  This is bad for the roof.

Dying Sequoias.  Most of the Sequoias in the neighborhood have died from the drought.  A few hang on, but this year's pitiful rain amounts probably won't save them. 

Dead Sequoias supporting, yes, Bougies. 


This Euc has been declining for several years.  When we first moved here in '99 it was thriving.  The park people have been pruning it smaller and smaller for a while.  Its companion across the park walkway died a couple of years ago. 

More...you know.  Why are they all red? 
 Invasive reseeding "California" pepper trees.  They are from Argentina, folks.  I pull a lot of these seedlings, too.

View from the park.  Nice view.

I remember when this Euc fell over about six years ago.  They left the stump.  

More dying Sequoias

Dead Sequoia stump.  They cut it down a month or two ago.

More view.

This Bougie isn't red!  It begins orange and ages to pink.  

Red again
 Dead Dononea.  Dodonea are a good temporary small tree or airy medium shrub.  They are short lived--no need to live long when you produce hundreds of seedlings every year.  This was young and thriving in '99.  It didn't die from the drought; it died of old age.  The tree trimmers neatly removed a branch from it and left the rest.  Huh?

This trio of ornamental (non-fruiting) Loquat has looked this good, and looked the same, since '99.  The owners have it skillfully pruned nearly every year.  Good small tree for this area. 

Dead Eucalyptus.  Someone just spent a fortune redoing the landscape at this property--there was a semi-truck filled with plants unloading one day when we drove by.  Literally hundreds of Ligustrum shrubs and the like;  48" boxed olive trees, and so forth.
They should have taken the dead Euc out first.

A mix of Agaves with--Azaleas?  Azaleas and their small, delicate root systems that need regular moisture under trees dying of drought.  Brilliant.  If you look through the gate, you can see potted Ligustrums--they had leftovers.  Semi tractor trailers hold a lot of plants.  More dying Sequoias, too.  There's a healthy pine mixed in with them that makes them look green.

At night, teenagers come and drink beer and swing off these ropes in the park until the ropes break.  We clean up beer bottles and "medical" marijuana "prescription" bottles all the time.  Apparently "medical" marijuana "prescriptions" instruct "patients" to take their "medicine" late at night in parks with their friends while drinking beer and swinging on ropes.  

The view on the way back home.  Those homes crammed together there were not there when we moved here.  

Another one of those red Bougies.  This one was cut to the ground two or three years ago.  It is regularly trimmed so the stop sign is visible.  The stop sign will again be engulfed by September or October, I think.

These neighbors had this pergola built last year.   

Wouldn't it be fabulous to have coffee at sunrise here on a summer morning? Yes it would.

Here's the neighborhood wild beehive.  
 It's been there for decades.  There's a clay irrigation pipe in the slope left over from the 1920's, when this area was all commercial lemon groves.  The bees who live in the pipe pollinate our fruit trees.  It's why my garden is filled with bees.  The bees vanished suddenly last year.  We were heartbroken.  Then just as suddenly they were back.  No one knows why.  We just know we are lucky.
History is a funny thing.  So much is recorded that hardly matters; so much that matters is lost.  
It's not a spectacular Tidewater neighborhood, but by golly, we got dead trees and red Bougainvilleas!

Comments

  1. This was a fun post to read! Thanks for taking us along on the walk and providing the commentary. :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Wasn't sure it was at all interesting.

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  2. What a sad post1 ;-( I went to a park yesterday and saw the same thing--lots of ugly dead trees. These were willows and alders; the park people had shut off the water to the stream that had kept them alive.

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    1. Oh dear--sorry! Well, the weed trees here are thriving...hmm...guess that's not any cheerier...better quit while I'm behind.

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  3. Oh, I would love to have a red bougainvillea like in that fifth photo! It might be as common in your neighbourhood as hydrangeas are in my neighbours’ front gardens, but you won’t see many bougainvilleas outdoors in London. I have been drooling over pictures of red ones for a couple of years and now that I have a shed I am very tempted to give it a go. It is said that the pink ones are the hardiest, but I think they are a bit boring having seen mostly pink ones before, in Spain for example - a red or a white one – or even both would be so much more interesting. I would have to grow it in a big container and cut it down for the winter so I could put the container in my shed. Wouldn’t be a problem getting enough water. We do have frost nights here, although so far this winter we have only had 3 nights just slightly below freezing. Last winter - none. Just imagine, a deep red bougainvillea spilling over my white picket fence….that’s what I am imagining, although it won’t get to your neighbour’s size in a container, but that’s OK. Thanks for the photo, and thanks for the roundtrip in your neighbourhood, made my day :-)

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    1. Any spot with reflected heat from concrete, masonry? That would help. What they really love is heat. Warm soil, hot sun. Here the red ones are the toughest. Advice here is not to plant them until June, when the soil is sufficiently warm. The roots on young plants are also very fragile and loosening the root ball or even disturbing it much is a big "no!" I think a Bougainvillea in London would be awesome! Good luck if you try--if anyone can grow one there it would be you.

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  4. I use to be envious of people who lived in places where Bougainvillea grew, then I saw how it could swallow houses and blanket hillsides. Now I just admire it from afar. I guess the drought is really letting people know what they can grow and what they can't. Thank you for participating this year, I really appreciate it.

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    1. The Bougainvilleas I photographed are relatively tiny examples, hacked back. They get enormous here given the chance.

      Hey, a walkabout is a fun idea, I enjoyed doing the post. Thanks back atcha!

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  5. All these dead trees make me so sad. Then the bright bougainvilleas cheered me up. My bougie in a pot has survived in the greenhouse, and is flowering.

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    1. That's great, Alison. Just keep it warm enough and it will be happy.

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  6. sad about all the trees but i guess all the bougainvilleas add cheer... even if they are all red.

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    1. It occurs to me if all those dead 'uns were replaced with a native oak seedling, we'd have a pretty FABULOUS neighborhood and park in a couple of decades... Sadly, long-term thinking is probably foolish at this point.

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  7. It is sad but it is good to see that some of your neighbors are taking steps to deal with the situation. What part of California are in?

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    1. Near Dizzyland, as my Dad used to call it.

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  8. That was a fun walk! My own area is also full of dead trees but not as much red bougainvillea. The guy that owns the property along the entrance to our neighborhood had 2 dead trees removed in January but left a eucalyptus that is now obviously dead - I shiver a little every time I drive past it.

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    1. Here the Fire Authority can get on them to remove it quickly, as dead trees are a real fire hazard. They may have already been notified to have it cut down. Then there's the falling hazard--don't stop and park there, okay?

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  9. Oh that orange/pink Bougainvillea! I found one here a couple of years back, flowering even. I planted it out too early and that was the end of that.

    Thanks for the walk, I enjoyed your memories but hate to see all the dead trees.

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    1. It looked like living fire while I photographed it; the photo doesn't show the intensity and searing brilliance of the color, yeah it was awesome to experience! We get a tiny bit of cold damage on them once every second or third winter, but nothing that even slows them down.

      I didn't realize the dead trees would be so depressing--I guess I got used to seeing so many. The thing is they are the wrong trees--if the park people had planted native oaks in 1980 instead of adding fog-loving Sequoias and leaving the existing Eucalypts, we'd have a drop-dead stunning local park by now, supporting all kinds of native birds and insects. People sadly demand fast-growing trees, instead of thinking long-term. Oh dear, I guess that's depressing, too.

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  10. Such a sad post. I can't believe how people all want the same dozen plants when each area has its own wonderful natives.

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    1. Well, I was selective in my photo-taking. There are some CA native plants here and there original to the area, but I've blogged about then in the past. The Bougies happened to be attention-getters because of the bright light. But yeah there are a lot of trash trees, Eucalyptus globulus/Washingtonia/Schinus. I was so happy to see someone planted a native Oak.

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  11. The best I've ever done with Bougainvillea is in a pot indoors. And even then it died. Not enough light I suspect. Very sad to see all those dead trees.

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    1. They like it really warm, warm air, and especially warm soil, and when small the roots are like glass--they shatter and the plant dies. Once they are huge you can't get rid of them.

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  12. Our giant sequoias are happy and healthy, so what do we yearn for?...bouganvilleas.

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    1. As we down south here yearn for Sequoias and Hostas...gardeners! We want what we shouldn't!

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    2. But...thanks to blogging...we can have it all!

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  13. Ever so sad that the Sequoias are dying of drought. These colorful Bougainvilleas cheer us up, beautiful!

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    1. I think the park people now realize they need to plant climate appropriate trees. Too dry here for Sequoias. The Bougainvilleas bright color always cheers me up, too! Hope you are doing well, it is so hard to feel happy when the home has lost a good dog.

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  14. A small positive note about dead trees: a really living landscape needs some -- they provide nesting cavities for some birds, food for others (insects that continute to inhabit the trees), and perching spots for raptors. At least, that's true in the eastern woodland. Most people will cut down these drought-stricken trees, but leaving some substantial part up can make a big difference. Awaytogarden has posted about doing that in her (admittedly much more rural) garden.

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    1. Totally agree with you, but not in our high-fire-danger, auto-and-pedestrian-trafficked area. There was a tragic accident in a nearby city of a dying tree falling on a very young woman's car and killing her--everyone was horrified, and now municipalities are quicker to remove dying or dead trees.

      The raptors make do with telephone poles--we are very lucky to have many raptors here.

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  15. "A mix of Agaves with--Azaleas?"

    Your old landscape designer still in business, then?

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  16. Thank you for taking us along! I'd love a walk through my own neighborhood with someone who knows the history (if I can use that term for an area developed in the late 50s-60s) of the plantings. Maybe I just need to slow down and be more nosy when I'm out and about!

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    1. It's fun to play tourist in your own neighborhood. I think when we travel we're more curious and look and wander more...it's fun to be a little curious at home, too.

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  17. Wonderful and interesting photos from your walk, the bougainvilleas are brilliantly coloured and so many great trees and neighbourhood points of interest.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. All in all it's a pretty nice place. :)

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  18. I wonder if the dying trees will provide food or homes to some other wildlife, or encourage some insects that will provide food for something else. I guess a drought landscape is better than a fire burned one.
    Ray

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    1. Alas in our neighborhood with pedestrian/auto safety and fire safety an issue, the trees must be removed. We were lucky this year that we didn't get a lot of Santa Ana wind events, and we got a couple of unusual summer rainfalls--that helped!

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  19. I really enjoyed your walk but was saddened by the loss of so many trees. Azaleas and Agaves? Really? I baby a potted Bougainvillea with variegated leaves and hot pink bracts. What a beautiful problem to have them be so tenacious in your climate!

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    1. Your little Bougie must look great in your garagreenhouse! Bright color for a grey winter day.

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  20. We also battle with invasive Brazilian pepper trees. One bougie down, and the other I am trimming back steadily - too many leaves and not many flowers - and I never water it (but the neighbour's lawn behind the wall?)

    Those dead Eucualytpus trees really put the Californian drought into perspective. Was reading about a spring returning after the Eucalyptus trees were felled here.

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    1. The dead Eucs are a real surprise--they seem to be able to survive anything and everything. There are several more that have died in the neighborhood--unfortunately not the ones that hang over my garden. :( One on adifferent adjacent neighbor's has died, so I'm hopeful.

      I sympathize about the pepper trees--they are really popular here, and grow without any irrigation.

      A root from a different neighbor's bougainvillea--I pulled it out a few months ago--it was 20 feet (6 m) onto my property. Yours may have sent some roots over to that nice lawn.

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