Monday, December 29, 2014

Post Christmas Crumbs

Writing a blog is great when the writer - that's me in this case, has something to write about and some good pictures to share but sometimes inspiration fails.  Another blog author once wrote that he had no shortage of things to write about, only a lack of time to do it! Well I envy his creativity. I love writing but have to have something worth saying. Yes - I'm struggling today but I hope you'll read on!

Not quite 12th night - an interesting variation on Christmas decorations for the desert!
I had this quirky idea that I would write about the local wildlife - well not really wild but the strange animal-like ornaments that people use to 'adorn' their gardens.  So I set off on safari round our local community with my camera but I think it must have been the hibernation season or my camera scared them away. That's that idea down the drain! 

Can you just imagine the thought pattern behind wanting a plastic swan to adorn a desert landscape?

Why would one ever want a plastic humming bird when we have the real things here.

Last week I went off for a trip to Bob Williams nursery in Indio to buy some cacti and succulents for my planned new desert bed. The local Lowes have succulents but they are not much more than rooted cuttings and two in a pot which seems to be the norm, doesn't make a very balanced plant. Nearby Home Depot (B&Q for UK readers) have better plants but bearing scant inaccurate labels - 'prickly pear' and so on. Mollers have wonderful, properly labelled plants but the prices! Some beautiful unusual Agaves at $89 each  - ouch! So I set out for Bob Williams but arrived and found it closed. Yes - another frustrating moment!
Pic from my last visit - this is what we hoped to see and will next time!

Anyway the trip wasn't entirely wasted. On impulse we called in at a restaurant called Jacalope with a beautiful garden. The restaurant wasn't open for service and so the water features weren't working - another hiccup but the surroundings are lovely and I must return.  Lots of beautiful plants and quality sculpture - no plastic humming birds here!

What is this tree?
Just love the steel cactus bollards!

A climber I don't know - Chad - are you reading? Update - Disticus 'Rivers' - thanks Chad!

And another challenge! Update - Cordia boissieri - he did it again!

We also walked along El Paseo, an area of upmarket shops and art galleries. It includes an area called The Gardens which has recently been refurbished in desert style - a great redevelopment but difficult to photograph. Very stark and modern and in total contrast to the lush gardens of Jacalope.

Well - I guess that's it for 2014.  Its chilly here with night temperatures in the 30's but the sun is shining! Hooray for California! Next week Philip and I are off to San Francisco, in part to see an exhibition at the art gallery but I hope to escape to the botanic garden at some point, so hopefully more of a feast and less crumbs next time!


  1. Happy New Year Ian.

    You don’t give me much detail to work on for the weeping tree; a close up of the foliage would help. Could it be Acacia pendula?

    The pink flowered climber is clearly Bignoniaceae; could it be Disticus ‘Rivers’? If so you could find it under any one of ten names and I’ve no idea what the botanists think it is now [Amphilophium?].

    Is the other challenge Cordia boissieri?

    See my comments on your last post for botanists and name changes!


    1. Don't think the tree is Acacia - they are starting to flower here and I didn't notice any bloom on this one. Foliage silvery but don't have a close-up. Thanks for the other id's - not bad Chad - two out of three! Very much appreciate your input.

  2. Cactus bollards, councils here could use something similar to that when putting bollards here, interesting twist on something so functional....

    Happy new year to you and and Philip and looking forward to reading about your trip to San Francisco!

  3. It is difficult from a distance.
    Could the leaves be compound as in Schinus molle?

  4. Your tree in the photo does resemble Acacia pendula, which is known as a reluctant bloomer for an Acacia here in California conditions. If you're looking for gardens to visit while in the Bay Area, the UC Berkeley, Tilden Park Botanic Gardens both in Berkeley, Marcia Donahue's open garden/gallery on a Sunday afternoon in Berkeley, The Dry Garden Nursery in Oakland, SFBG, UC Santa Cruz Botanic Garden all have interest this time of year. Aloes, Proteaceae, early blooming California natives are all showy up here in January.

  5. My guess is the tree is a Weeping Acacia...

    The barrel cactus bollards are perfect, and we should have those here since Ferocactus wislizenii is very common in the wild and in town landscapes.