Saturday, May 21, 2016

Another Neighborhood Stroll

One of our neighbors expressed concern that the area surrounding the entry to our neighborhood wasn't getting enough water.  Since my husband was involved in re-setting the irrigation in that area, I was asked to check it out and offer comment.  The area gets more than two times the water the most well-watered section of my garden gets, so I was skeptical that there was a problem but I walked up there to have a closer look earlier this week.

One of the issues with the front entry is that all the irrigation runs off one valve so it can't be calibrated for different areas.  Another issue is that, while a large portion of the area has been planted with succulents and other drought-tolerant plants, it also has a small lawn area and plants like azaleas that need more water.  I didn't see any signs of water stress; however, the area does have a pretty serious gopher problem.

Photos taken from around the "gatehouse," which currently serves no purpose other than to house the irrigation unit for the entry area


While I was out on foot, I decided to take a spin around the entire neighborhood to see what's new.  The short answer to that question is "not much" but I thought I'd share some of the highlights.

The lovely maples and blue Alyogyne huegellii that border the front of the house of the neighbor across the street.  I had to wonder if these maples bother my foliage-hating neighbor on our side of the street as her house looks out in this direction.

The gorgeous yellow Leucospermum of the neighbor a few doors down is a constant reminder that I should be able to grow this plant

This neighbor recently had a crew in to clean up their front slope - it looks good, doesn't it?

There's nothing extraordinary about this neighbor's street-side planting bed but I like the combination of the Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima), plumbago (Ceratostigma), and what may be a smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria)

The Jacaranda trees are in bloom throughout the region

The third and last of the huge dead trees along the main route in and out of the neighborhood has finally been removed so I no longer need to hold my breath every time I drive through but the hillside behind certainly looks bare 

Two other trees along that route got the chop.  My husband speculated that this could be the result of another view issue but I suspect it had to do with the power lines.

These neighbors have had their house under construction for over a year now.  I imagine they're getting tired of living in a trailer.

These two tree-sized Callistemon are indicative of just how tall these plants can grow.  (The pine behind them appears to be slowly dying, probably from a combination of drought and the opportunistic pine bark beetle.)

A neatly trimmed palm

My favorite neighborhood garden is now in the hands of new owners, who appear to be doing a good job of maintaining it.  Until I looked at the top photo closely I'd never realized that 3 different materials had been used to control the front slope.  The bottom row shows a tree-sized Buddleja, a giant orange-red Leucospermum, and a Salvia clevelandii.


The front garden of the property across the street deliberately used a simple palette of a few select plants, including the same Salvia used across the street (perhaps S. clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman') and the only all-white (no touch of pink) Gaura lindheimeri I think I've ever seen.


This may be the largest lawn left in the neighborhood (but the property's backyard lawn, barely visible behind the hedge in the background on the right  appears to be unwatered)

A newly installed vegetable garden

And we're back to our property with the gap in the front hedge discussed in my last post.  (The fifth new Xylosma shrub has now been installed in an effort to close that gap.)


I'll leave you with a photo of a beautiful Hibiscus.  I hope you're enjoying your weekend.



All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. What an interesting variety! Gophers are annoying. I hope your neighborhood finds a way to deal with them. I have some in my garden that are currently causing quite a bit of damage...

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    1. I'm not sure anyone's taking on the gopher challenge, Renee. I'm not planning to handle that and I'm not sure the HOA is prepared to bring in a specialist.

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  2. Interesting variety you have in your area. And I do wonder how long will that lawn last? Nice to see little specimens here towering over there :)

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    1. I see no sign that anyone is even chipping away at that lawn. The house may be a rental - several in the neighborhood are - and renters don't have the same level of commitment to landscaping.

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  3. Can't get over those Callistemon! And wish I could find those white gaura.

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    1. I've never seen a variety of white Gaura with not a touch of pink in it. I may have to grab the homeowner one day and find out where he got it.

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  4. Fascinating tour Kris. I love the Jacaranda trees and the Callistemon. I have successfully rooted three cuttings of the latter from a standard that belonged to my mother. I wonder how tall they will get in our abundant rain, assuming they survive of course.

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    1. Callistemon were standard features in the area I grew up in. Every other house had at least one, all red-flowered varieties, but even here I've never seen any as large as the two in front of that house, Jessica.

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    2. Invasive aliens here.
      Perhaps those two have simply been allowed to grow up without pruning.

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  5. Enjoyed the tour of your neighborhood. Landscaping plants are so different in CA from what I see here in NC. Would love to be able to grow plumbago and gaura that look so lush. I've never noticed Leucospermum for sale here but looks like it could grow in zone 7b.

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    1. When I bought my first seedling Leucospermum, I was told that the only way I could kill it was to give it too much water. I responded by giving it, and a larger plant purchased later, too little water and lost both. I picked up another in late March and it currently gets water twice a week - so far, so good but it'll probably be at least a year before I see a flower.

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    2. also avoid chemical fertiliser.

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  6. I do enjoy a walkabout! So who pays for the irrigation at the entry? And did the neighbor who was concerned have confidence in your opinion? (I ask because the area looks super to me...I wonder what they were worried about...).

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    1. The gatehouse and a strip of land around it actually belong to a guy who lives in Santa Barbara - why someone buys an unbuildable lot 3 hours from his home I can't explain. In any case, while he's been held responsible for cutting down dead trees on his property that pose a safety risk to other residents, he isn't obligated to maintain the area around the entrance. That task was taken on years ago by a voluntary HOA, which collects funds from residents for projects considered to benefit all. Of late, my husband and the HOA President have taken on several projects with HOA approval. Some long-time residents here have an unreasonable attachment to lawns and so my husband was back at the gatehouse this morning to make changes so the lawn area can be watered on a different schedule than the succulents...I'm not ready to step up and take on lobbying to support my proposal to eliminate the lawn and other thirsty plants up there.

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    2. The green lawn sends an ambiguous message, positive to some, and negative to others.

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    3. Yes, I seem to be in the minority in this neighborhood when it comes to my objections to massive lawns (and uncovered pools).

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  7. A nice neighborhood with some beautiful gardens. Landscaping makes all the difference, doesn't it?

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    1. One photo I didn't include was that of a large area of bare earth. After digging up and replacing a septic tank, the owners left the space with huge piles of dirt surrounded by crime scene tape. It was left in that condition for almost a year until the city notified the owners to clean up or face a hefty fine. All they did is level the space - there's not one plant but at least the crime scene tape is gone.

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    2. You really have to wonder about the aesthetic sense of some people. Walking-dead zombies perhaps?

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    3. What's weird is that, for a brief time a year ago, the house was on the market. It hadn't been touched since it was built in the 50s or early 60s and they were asking a ridiculous sum, especially given its condition. It came off the market but, if any effort has been expended to ready it to go back on the market since, it must all be on the inside.

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  8. Before I read your comment, I wondered the same thing about whether your tree-hating neighbor resented those trees across the street! Your neighborhood is lovely. It seems there are a number of colorful gardens. In my part of the world one usually sees an expanse of green lawn with a border of green shrubs in front of the house. Not very interesting!

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    1. The lawns here are gradually being reduced but they haven't entirely disappeared. There are more and more succulents too - something this post didn't document well.

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  9. Lovely effect from the maples towering over Alyogyne huegelii... I love the jacaranda too. Probably the first plant I actually remember from childhood is the jacaranda that grew outside my parents' window in our second storey apartment in Van Nuys - never mind how long ago... ;-)
    Is that Salvia clevelandii as big as it looks? Very pretty!

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    1. I've always wanted a Jacaranda but they're extremely messy so placement is key and, in my case, there's also the height issue, as one of my neighbors would object if I created yet another impairment to her view. There is a dwarf Jacaranda now, though, and I may find a place for one of those one day.

      Yes, the Salvias were huge! The flowers are a nice deep blue too.

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