P80120+++++Perhaps I should elaborate on the ‘litter boxes’ in the ‘Six on Saturday’ post earlier this morning. As I already mentioned, they are in the same parking lot as the Leo and Leona sculptures. They were formerly inhabited by Italian cypress trees that would now be like those nearby if they had survived.

This is no joke. Someone really selected the tree that provides the least shade for hot pavement, and attracts the most birds to do what birds do on parked cars.

Because they were installed as large boxed specimens, and were watered generously enough to maintain swampy conditions in the surrounding soil, most of the cypresses could not disperse their roots fast enough, and consequently got blown over onto parked cars in their first or second winter. The survivors took many years to get established, and were bound to big and unsightly lodgepole stakes for years.

Rather than getting outfitted with ‘shade’ trees or perennials, . . . or anything, these litter box planters remain as blank and uselessly small rectangular lawns, requiring regular mowing, edging and lots of watering. Incidentally, many of us around town let our lawns die to conserve water. Brown is the new green.

Because they are in such a high traffic area, and sometimes get run over by cars, the sprinkler heads are always in need of adjustment. They are quite generous with sharing their water with the surrounding pavement and any cars that might be parked there early in the morning, which makes the waste of water more blatant. The curbs are tripping hazards.

So, what are these litter boxes good for? Are they reserved for grave sites? ‘Very’ miniature golf perhaps? No one knows. This is not exactly a nice spot for a picnic or a game of volleyball.P80120k

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17 thoughts on “Litter Box

  1. I have a friend in Santa Barbara who rebuilt a business building with a parking lot. The City required installation of palm trees in planter boxes similar to these. Now, because of poor maintenance (by the tenant) and drought conditions, the trees are dying and having to be removed — the City is not requiring replacement, so the planter boxes are being used for other plantings. It has created a similar silly situation!

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    1. Some town require a certain number of ‘compact’ parking spaces in parking lots. In some situations, parking spaces are actually shortened by planters like these. What annoys me is that full sized cars can get ticketed for parking in the newer even smaller parking spaces for smart cars, but smart cars can park in the full sized spaces.

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  2. Ha! Very funny, in a perverse sort of way. I guess there are still plenty of landscape architects for whom plants are all generic, interchangeable entities. Why I see office buildings landscaped with hostas facing full sun and surrounded with heat absorbing asphalt.

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    1. We see a lot of Japanese maples out in the full sun (which roasts them when the air is dry). Because they are within reach from the ground, gardeners shear them into domes or cylinders

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  3. That looks so weird – they might as well tar it over if nothing else is going to be planted?! We have a large parking area at one of our local shopping centres where they planted beautiful indigenous trees, which grew as they should but just when they stated to provide shade, they were trimmed right back to small blobs! This is what they are supposed to look like: http://pza.sanbi.org/searsia-pendulina

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    1. Even there?! That is sad. It used to be nice to think that it happened only here; but then we realized that it happened in Portland and Seattle; and then in Oklahoma City and . . . everywhere. Now I hear that it happens in Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland. It is like everywhere!

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