A mass of Aloe maculata(?) flowers caught my attention as I drove to the post office.  
The aloes are thriving as part of a worn-out landscape in front of a motel that caters to people who are one step away from being homeless.   The Aloes are healthy:
And so is a mass of Agave attenuata:Photobucket
There is a bit of ice plant that looks good:
But the junipers, probably planted in the 70's, are worn out, though someone has tried (and failed?) to make them look decent:
There is an area that at one time was probably lawn.  Someone scattered some nice looking  boulders over it--to keep cars from parking there?  Someone weed-whips the weeds that act as a lawn.  It could not possibly be mowed:
Amidst the boulder lawn, there was a big Agave americana that someone tried to kill.  It's coming back:
I meditated on a weary, worn out landscape surviving in front of a building sheltering weary, desperate people. 
There is potential for improvement, surely.  In the planter, I would remove the pathetic junipers, everything but the thriving Aloes, Agaves, and ice plant. I would cut myself some Agave attenuata pups, and dig up some of the Aloes, leaving a bit of space.  I'd alternate groups of Aloes and A. attenuatas, with a boulder or two, and a bit of ice plant edging.  In the "lawn" area, I'd kill off the weed "lawn" in between the boulders a little at a time, replacing it with ice plant.  As the ice plant spread, I'd remove more and more "lawn" until it was just boulders and ice plant, with perhaps some pieces of flagstone for steppers.  Plant budget:  zero.  A bottle of Roundup for the "lawn", $20.  A few flagstones for $20.  A fresh viewpoint, plus a bit of labor, time, and patience.  A cost of $40, tops.  That's what I would do to make it look better.  The big problem is not the landscaping, of course.  It's the people one step away from being homeless.  There is potential there, surely, for better things.  $40 might give a family with children shelter for a night.  Better spent?  If you can't solve a hard problem, do you solve an easy one instead?  



  1. Sounds like a good candidate for a small community volunteer effort. Get a few other gardeners together, contact the owners/managers of the property, and make it happen! No budget impact for the owners.


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