This is why I do not often use pictures that my colleague, Brent Green, sends to me. He frequently tells me what I should feature in my gardening column, and sends me what he considers to be good pictures for such topics. This picture would have been good for writing about the sky over Los Angeles, or the neighbors’ driveway, since those are two of the most prominent features here. Where did all the smog go?

Chimneys in Los Angeles seem silly to me. Even if the weather got cool enough for a fire in a fireplace, there is no firewood to burn. The chimney to the far right certainly seems to be original to the house, but how did it survive all the earthquakes since the house was built, probably in the 1940s or 1950s? There have been a few moderate earthquakes since then.

Those signs that warn potential criminals of non-existent home security systems are even sillier, and just cluttering otherwise nice landscapes. There is nothing official looking about them. There are bins of them for sale in the local big box stores. Shouldn’t we all assume that since the home on the left is in Los Angeles, that it is outfitted with home security system that is more impressive than that silly, irrelevant and unwelcoming sign?

I would guess that what Brent really wanted to send a picture of was the big pink trumpet tree, Tabebuia heterophylla. After all, it does happen to be sort of in the middle of the picture. It really was spectacular while blooming late last winter. However, even if Brent had sent a good picture of it, I would not have featured it. Most of those who read my gardening column are not within regions where pink trumpet tree blooms like this.


14 thoughts on “Pink Trumpet Tree

  1. You made good use of his photo for your blog, I must say. But don’t you have anything to say about the palm trees on the left? Have you written posts about palms? Are those plants on the side of the left house Bird of Paradise? I look at this picture and remember narrow border beds that drove me crazy, at some houses I’ve lived in.

    At one (modular) house the seller quickly planted random things in these narrow beds before they put the (modular) house up for sale — like an Italian cypress! Everything they planted was too big for the space, or maybe it’s more fair to say, the space was too small for almost any foundation planting to be appropriate.

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    1. Those palms are actually sago palms, which are actually not palms. Brent has some exquisite specimens where his driveway meets the sidewalk. They are exemplary, although I would never tell Brent that. I have not written about palms in a long time, because I do not often work with them. I suppose I should. I just found a home for a small queen palm that I took from Brent’s house quite a while ago. It was a leftover from one of Brent’s jobs, and I felt sorry for it, so took it here . . . and then realized I did not want to plant it anywhere. I also have windmill palm in a big tub. I am very fond of it because it seeded in a pot in the Santa Clara Valley. Brent happens to like palms, and has about seven queen palms in his home garden. If you happen to remember that horrible video of the California Highway Patrol officer needlessly beating that helpless woman on the edge of the Santa Monica Freeway, some of Brent’s palms are visible off in the distance. (If you don’t know the video, I do not recommend looking it up.)

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      1. I always like the palms in San Jose because they are maintained. In my neighborhood they are planted randomly in people’s yards and the homeowner is responsible, or rather, irresponsible, so the tall ones are usually full of dead fronds and sometimes rats -ugh.

        You’ve made me curious about the different palms you named. I remember now learning that about sago (non)palms…

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      2. Some palms do very well in San Jose, but those who know palms can tell that the common Mexican fan palm is actually happier in the Los Angeles region. There are a few more palms that do well in Los Angeles than there are here. My all time favorite palm is the desert fan palm that used to do so well in the median of San Carlos Street, and on the palm driveway of the Winchester House. Sadly, the irrigation of the landscape that is in the median now is very stressful for the trees. Those at the Winchester House have been replaced with Mexican fan palms. Desert fan palm used to do well here decades ago, when they lived out on the unirrigated edges of the roads, flanking the driveways of old farmhouses. Now that every bit of exposed ground is landscaped and irrigated, healthy desert fan palms are almost nonexistent.

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      3. Ah, queen palms are what my neighbor has, which rise above the fence behind my garden and form a background to my beautiful landscaping. The homeowner who planted them also has three boats, one of which is huge and also is in the landscape. My landscape designer had a goal of growing something that would hide the boat, so I have 7-8 dodonaea bushes along two fences, and they would have hidden it by now, except that the key bush died and had to be replanted, so it is still too short.

        I don’t mind those queen palms so much these days, but about five years ago when they were planted they were so scraggly I would have laughed at that name if I’d known it; they did not look very royal or beautiful and I was very annoyed by them.

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      4. They are not much to look at while young. I remember when they became popular in the mid 1980s. Prior to that, they were more genetically variable, and somewhat rare.

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    2. I neglected to mention that those are bird of Paradise. They often get planted net to foundations because they do not mind the shade on the north side of the house. Without an eave, they do not need to reach very far to get more sunlight.
      One of the many reasons that I do not work for other so-called ‘landscape’ companies is that they commonly plant things where they have not business going, and they really do not care. Seriously, although I worked for some of the best, I also worked for some of the worst. They really do not care.

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  2. Great post! I always regret when I have someone take photos that I have to be in, like family photos. I always wonder why all the space around what you are taking a photo of? When I take plant photos I want them to fill the space as much as possible. I lived in a suburb of LA for eight months and much of the landscaping was incredible. So many plants I had never seen in person. Yes, I did plant a few flower beds while I was there!

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