Southern California Edison Removes Some Lawn

Before:
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After:
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This substation at Taft Avenue and Tustin Avenue in Orange, California has been transformed from a mowed lawn with Melaleuca and Ficus trees (as I vaguely remember) to the latest and greatest in eco-friendly trendy.

There is the beginnings of a Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens )meadow:
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Berms have been built up to add additional screening around the electrical substation:
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The centerpiece planting at  the corner of the property is a grand formal army of Agave desmettiana variegata and Aloe striata to contrast with the future soft meadow of deer grass:
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That curve of concrete can be seen above in the first satellite google map image, at the top right:
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Other berms are topped with Australian willows (Geijera parviflora), Crape Myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica hybrids), and Cercis:

Geijera:
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Crape Myrtle for color:
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Cercis:
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These small trees are underplanted with a palette of Acacia, Rosemary, 'Little John' Callistemon, Manzanita, and Salvia.

One of the native Manzanitas with rooted cuttings of a ground cover Acacia in front:
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Hey guys, spring for some MP Rotator heads why don't you?  
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All of this was newly planted, in fact they had not quite finished, so watering is completely understandable.   Small, young plants need to establish before they become drough-tolerant.  However, I would have been happy to see water-saving MP Rotator sprinkler heads.  A lot of that spray is evaporating into the wind.  

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Sections of river rock make a decorative pattern:
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One of the guys working on the irrigation came running over.  For a brief moment I wondered, not very seriously, if he was going to interrogate me about taking photos, but no.  It was to very kindly warn me about the bee swarm in one of the Geijeras.  Bee swarm:  way cool!  I keep a respectful distance.  I hope you understand that a better photo might have been dangerous.  :
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I tried to ask the irrigation guy about the project, but he didn't speak English and my Spanish is poor.  I did say "Hermosa!" and he smiled in agreement. 

I hope for certain things:  that they get their irrigation act together, that they don't end up sheering the Acacia and Manzanita into cubes and meatballs, and that SCE passes the cost savings along to their customers instead of fattening their executives bonuses.  This last hope I know is probably futile, but perhaps the two former may come to pass.  At any rate, it all looked pretty good.  I adore the slope's army of A. desmettiana variegata--a more beautiful Agave is hard to find.  That old grass lawn looked wretched.  I hope to return in a few months and a few years and see how the plantings develop.  Some native oaks would have been lovely, but we can't have everything. 

The hopes and dreams of many rest upon you, little clump.  Good luck!
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Comments

  1. Cool! I hope this catches on.

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  2. Very interesting post! I hope to see follow ups as the plants mature. Thanks for sharing!
    Sandra

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  3. LOVE the Agave desmettiana army!

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  4. I hope this catches on as well, and will try to update in future when the grasses have had a chance to grow.

    I love that Agave army too. I have three of those about to bloom, all have 20 or so pups. I hope to create an Agave army of my own.

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  5. What a sight that landscape will be in a year or two. (A bee swarm is a awesome thing to behold. I saw one up close briefly in my garden, for an afternoon, in a Jaune Despez rose.)

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  6. Let's hope the bees found a good home. All of my bees are from wild-caught swarms.

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  7. I hope so too, Lisa and Robb. Bees are the good guys!

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  8. Trev has control of the google thingy. This is Gabi. I remember having a tiny swarm on my French Lavender, I had never seen one in the flesh, so to speak, and I phoned a local beekeeper. It seems they swarm when the weather warms up and settle if a cold spell occurs. They swarm to keep the Queen warm. The poor man I phoned had been getting calls ALL DAY!

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    1. Hi Gabi! Bees are amazing, aren't they? That swarm at the electric substation was the only one I've ever seen in person. I am content to keep my distance from swarms! My neighbor has a bee hive on her property, in an old irrigation pipe. We pass it on our walks, and I'm also careful to keep a respectful distance.

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