Thursday, June 21, 2012

Walking a Phoenix neighborhood…


One of my favorite things to do on a vacation is to drive (or preferably walk) through a neighborhood to see how the people live and garden. While visiting Phoenix, AZ, last fall my husband found a particularly interesting bookstore (meaning he could spend hours there) with a very small gardening section. Bored, I decided to go for a walk; these Agaves were planted next to the book store parking lot.

Naturally I wanted to liberate a couple of pups, however I did not.

Entering the nearby neighborhood, Bartlett Estates. I think this sign was supposed to intimidate me. It did not, then again my only crime was going to be envy.

If the name "Barlett Estates" hadn't been a clue this was an upscale neighborhood then the tall walls...

...and perfect palms would have been.

Look at those Sagos! (or whatever Cycads they are...)

Agave attenuata

It looks like someone was out to get this one...

Agave vilmoriniana perhaps?

I don't think they're fooling anyone...

I could live like this, really!

This front yard wasn't feeling very Phoenix"y"...til I noticed the citrus.

Desert all the way...
Louis these next few "epic palms" are for you...

One of my favorite things about the Phoenix area is the terrain. The peaks that emerge from the land so abruptly...

Until this point I had never seen Agave geminiflora in a landscape.

Oh how I wanted to walk this garden and see inside this house...

Especially when I saw this!

These huge Agave americana 'Variegata' were growing just outside the fence. Look at the pups!

The "umbilical cord" on this one wasn't even below ground (pencil for scale was already in place, handy!)

So graceful...

Oh one more pup, a yellow one!

I have no idea what it is but I like it...(update: it's a Euphorbia antisyphilitica)

Perfection.

This adds an entirely different element to the clean up of fallen leaves.

One wrong move and pain!

One of my secret desires on this vacation was to stumble upon a blooming Agave which was forming bulbils. Of course it would be in a deserted parking lot, unloved, and I would be doing the plant a favor to rescue a few (dozen) of the babies. Well this was the only one I saw the entire two weeks and it obviously isn't unloved. I walked on.

Again, not very Phoenix"y"...

This landscape was in transistion, but looking good.

A rill perhaps?

No just someone being water wasteful in the desert (watering in the middle of the day in the hot sun).

My walk over we're now back in my brother's neighborhood. These small Barrel Cactus had caught my eye the day before, were they blooming? Ha! No...they're metal!

Definitely the real thing!

Beautiful...

28 comments:

  1. Those are epic palms indeed!!!! it only seems fitting that they would be phoenix palms in Phoenix!! Thanks!!! Phoenix is one fantastic place. Those agaves and cacti are remarkable too! Particularly that blooming one. Heck I would take that house too!

    As for agave pup liberation... I always want to liberate palm seedlings when I go for walks in Vancouver. Oh and I have. I have two little beauties starting right now as we speak! It's always fun to explore communities and see whats going on plant wise that is.

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    1. I'm super bad at my palm identification, glad to know what they are!

      You remind me, while we were there we went to my nephews little league game and the park had palm seedlings everywhere, I wanted so bad to pull a few out of the ground (ya know they were just going in the yard waste pile), but there were also people everywhere and I didn't want to be the aunt who got sent to jail.

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  2. Once again we are located in the wrong area.......Did that Agave that was in bloom have two flower stocks? Do not point out things like big palms to Louis, you know he would probably hook up a trailer to go get one. Great walking tour, thanks!

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    1. If I could, I would. Actually I wouldn't have to go too far... Gold Beach Oregon is where you start seeing large canary island date palms!! even large agaves.. scroll down on this link and you shall see some epic pictures. I know!! You both could go to gold beach to liberate agave pups from the large agaves down there too!! http://www.cloudforest.com/northwest/forum/20105755.html

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    2. BSG, actually there were two separate Agave's blooming, hard to tell from that picture.

      Louis, okay you drive down to Portland, we'll all rent a truck and take off for Gold Beach...what fun...oh wait, if we're only liberating pups and seedlings we probably don't need a truck...

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    3. I'm in on this epic trip!

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  3. There is something very satisfying about seeing an agave that still has all its wonderful rosette of leaves, with none damaged or scarred, or cut. Thanks for the picture of perfection! And thanks for taking us on your walk. You are so fearless about taking pictures of other people's gardens, I love it.

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    1. There was a lady standing out front of one of the estates watching me. I tried to talk to her but I gathered either she didn't speak English or deemed me not worth talking to. It was only on my way back by when I saw her guy pick her up that it occurred to me maybe she was the help...she did make me nervous.

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  4. Nice walks! So many amazing plants will grow in the no-freeze zone.

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  5. It's posts like these that make me less worried about having to live somewhere where water is scarce.

    Also, what plant is behind the metal barrel cactus? I'd guess Yucca, but which one?

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    1. Good question. I would have guessed Yucca too but I went back to the original photo and did a super close up. I could then see teeth along the edges so I'm saying it's a Dasylirion. But I don't know which one, there are many...http://plantlust.com/search/#genus=Dasylirion

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  6. Beautiful! I could like there, too, at least 9 months of out the year. You always find the most interesting places to photograph!

    The unknown plant looks like candelilla (Euphorbia antisyphilitica) to me.

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    1. I got lucky with this one, the bookstore could have been in a much less interesting area! (thanks for the id)

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  7. I also have seen some nice Agave geminiflora plantings in residences there - stunning, and I'm envious. Thanks for the tour and palm porn, as they count as spiky in my book. The unknown plant is Candelilla / Euphorbia antisyphilitica. Makes it here in some areas, but native to the Big Bend valley areas.

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    1. Oh yes Palms definitely get spiky points!

      Interesting...it looks like the Euphorbia antisyphilitica might just make it here too (several sites have it listed as zone 8), of course I imagine drainage is key.

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    2. Drainage is definitely key for candelilla. I have a specimen from the Big Bend region of Texas and it LOVES the hot and dry! I live in Zone 8, but still bring it in during deep freezes since it's in a container.

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  8. Hahahaha...that plastic boulder is pretty bad...I can't believe they didn't even mound up the gravel over the edge a little bit...and overhead watering in the middle of the day...ugh...if anyone should know better, you'd think the desert folks would!

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    1. I know huh? That's the least they could have done.

      And yes, idiots.

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  9. I love those Agave geminiflora.
    Here's a link to a fantastically weird bloom on one: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/100960/ .

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    1. OMG...I think it's kind of disgusting, I mean thank you for sharing but...weird indeed. I'm one of those people who just doesn't get the appeal of cresting plants. They gross me out a little.

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    2. I know. It looks like giant hairy bacon or something. I would be creeped out if it were in my garden and would cut it down.

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  10. One of the delights of travel is imagining what its like to garden there. I admit to a pretty creative imagination if that's the topic! These gardens were xerically lovely and it seemed as though some even had shade trees and palms too. I'd take any one of those gorgeous phoenix palms! Too bad about the daytime waste-watering, though.

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    1. I'm probably repeating myself here, no doubt I've made this "confession" before, but I do really hope to someday have the experience of gardening in Phoenix/Tucson/somewhere HOT like this. Part of me is pretty sure I couldn't deal with the harsh conditions, part of me thinks I would thrive. Who knows?

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  11. And you recorded all of this without being approached by a bloodhound in a raincoat...you must be ready for some serious undercover work.

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  12. really nice pictures and gardens "to die for " !!!

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  13. I was so glad someone ID'd that great Euphorbia plant! I am sure you are rushing to find a source and, of course, put me on that list!
    Perhaps update the post with the name listed to go with the pic. Truly distinctive.
    Dave

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