The planter box downtown has been neglected for too long. ( https://tonytomeo.com/2017/11/04/my-tiny-downtown-garden/ ) I really must make some time to clean out the debris and a little bit of trash. There is nothing as interesting as when the concrete slurry was dumped into it by whomever was installing the tile in the bathroom of the adjacent building, but there are some odds and ends. One of the six trailing rosemary plants that was trailing so nicely over the southern edge is missing . . . as in someone cut it back to a stump. Someone dumped out an old dead houseplant right into the middle of the planter box, leaving an upside down pot shaped wad of potting soil, as if no one would mind. Right next to that, someone left a potted kangaroo paw, as if I might want to plant it into the planter box. It is all dried up and mostly dead . . . and I really do not like kangaroo paw enough to want to grow it there. Well, perhaps it is better to show you the drama than to write too much about it.

1. This is the potted kangaroo paw that someone left in the planter box. Anyone who does not notice how sloppy all the dried foliar debris on the ground around it is will be sure to notice how unsightly this dried kangaroo paw is. The pile of discarded potting soil was already bashed up and spread out before this picture was taken. I will probably plant the kangaroo paw somewhere else, just in case it survives. I do not want it here. The pot is nice.P80818

2. It has a name; Anigozanthos ‘Kanga Yellow’. Doesn’t anyone use species names anymore?P80818+

3. Right next to my planter box is a tree well with a London plane that has not grown more than a few inches in the past few years. When my nasturtiums really get to blooming and seeding, I sweep some of the seed into the tree well, where they bloom just as prolifically as they do in the planter box, but a bit later. I make it look like an accident. There is also a busted up houseleek in there. It grew from a piece of mine, and will regenerate when the rain resumes in autumn. It sort of looks like an accident too.P80818++

4. Just to the west of the slow London plane is one of a few old Southern magnolias that will be removed. They are disfigured and somewhat unhealthy, so are not worth salvaging as the pavement of the surrounding roadway, sidewalk and curb get replaced. Even if we wanted to salvage them, they would not likely survive the process. It is sad to see them go, but they were good street trees for a very long time, and certainly lasted longer than they should have been expected to. Southern magnolias commonly displace pavement. I really would not mind if the ailing London plane were to be removed as well, just because it it too pathetic to work around, but the tree huggers are intent on preserving it. When the magnolias get replaced with new redbuds or tupelos, the London plane will look odd, and will eventually get too big and break the new pavement. Oh well. My planter box and this tree are actually on Nicholson Avenue, not on Tait Avenue or Bayview Avenue.P80818+++

5. ‘X’ marks the magnolias who are condemned to death. I know they need to go, but it is saddening anyway. They were fun neighbors.P80818++++

6. Since there were no colorful flowers within my planter box, it was necessary to get this picture elsewhere. Brent might say this looks like the Academy Awards, with a bee on the red carpet rose. Well, I can not expect you to know how Brent thinks. You can omit ‘rose’, and think of ‘bee’ as ‘B’, and think of ‘B’ as a euphemism.P80818+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

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20 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Out With The Old

  1. A good reminder that sometimes you have to take things out and start over. I’m removing a river birch this fall. I’ve tried to top it to keep it in scale, but it has outgrown the space. My fault for not doing proper research about how tall they get.

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    1. People think that, as a horticulturist, I want to protect all trees. That really is not my job. It is more important to make sure the landscape is compatible with its surroundings and function.

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  2. I recently learned this about the London plane tree: “Platanus ×acerifolia, the London plane, London planetree, or hybrid plane, is a tree in the genus Platanus. It is usually thought to be a hybrid of Platanus orientalis (oriental plane) and Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore). Some authorities think that it may be a cultivar of P. orientalis.”

    Platanus occidentalis is common along creeks in central Texas. Some people in Austin plant sycamores along the street in front of their house.

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    1. I do not understand the allure of London plane. We all know it displaces pavement, but we continue to plant it as street trees, particularly in San Jose. It is not even very pretty.
      The native California sycamore gets HUGE, and in notorious for structural deficiency. A huge tree in a park here just dropped huge limbs recently. They are picturesque and exquisite trees in the wild, but not the sort of tree that works well in landscapes, although homes and gardens are often built among old specimens.
      The American sycamore is not native here, so I was intrigued when I saw it so commonly in Oklahoma. It looks so much like young California sycamores, with narrower and straighter trunks. There were some flanking a neighbor’s driveway that were quite stately. Although I did not see any very big specimens, I would guess that the straighter trunks and less angular branch structure would be more structurally sound.

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      1. Speaking of structural deficiency: in the 1980s the original owners (I assume) of the house we’ve lived in for 14 years planted a Bradford pear tree out front. Arborists later told me that the species is notorious for having many branches with an unfortunate tendency to break off as the tree gets old. One big limb came crashing down a few months ago, and out of concern that more branches would soon do the same and might hurt someone, I had the tree cut down.

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      2. Oh, the 80s were such a decadent time! Bradford pear was all the rage because it was supposedly less susceptible to fire blight than the other flowering pears. We could see the structural deficiencies even in young nursery trees, but no one wanted to hear about it at the time. Just like so many new and improved varieties that come out every year, they were just another commodity to capitalize on. They were falling apart only a few years later. There are still a few around.

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  3. I’ve not come across kangaroo paw before – that does look quite a striking plant…. well, the googled versions do, and hopefully when that abandoned one is put somewhere better, it might perk up a little!

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    1. That is sort of what I am hoping for. It am none to keen on kangaroo paw, but it works nicely in the right situation. I think that if I get it into the ground and water it until autumn, it can root through winter and take off on its own next year. Once they get going, they do not want much.

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    1. I may be going out there on Friday, but will be embarrassed to get pictures of it. It should look great once the rain starts. The houseleeks really like the rain. I intend to put nasturtiums back this year in autumn.

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    1. Almost all of the neighbors are excellent! Even those who do annoying things to the planter box are not bad. They just do not realize how bothersome it can be, or how important the planter box is to me. Even the guy who dumped the concrete slurry into it just thought of it as an open patch of dirt on the side of the road.

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      1. Is it legal to dump cement on dirt patches along the road? Would seem an inconvenient habit to get into. But I’m glad you like your neighbours. How awful it’d be to have bad neighbours.

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      2. It is actually very illegal here. It was also a very big mess for me. It spread out on the ground and solidified with my cannas, and aloe and some housleeks coming up through it.
        There have been some ‘weird’ neighbor issues there, but I just tolerate it as how we are in Los Gatos. While working on my fabulous nasturtiums (that spread out over the railing and were the flashiest thing downtown at the time), a neighbor stopped to tell me that she did not approve of all the orange and yellow, so I needed to replace the nasturtiums with pink flowers to match the bedding plants in her front garden three blocks or so to the west.

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    1. I put the extras in because they are easier to maintain than the weeds that are typically there. The weeds come back in winter, and I really do not like to pull them after all the dogs pee on them, but it is only once a year.

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