Posts Tagged ‘tree reference post’

23 July 2018: 

I photographed 17 of the 18 downtown Long Beach street tree gardens for my reference. I often feel that these are miserable little gardens.  They get walked on, kids and dogs rootle through them, bicycles get parked on them, and they only get watered once a week. Many of the plants are free divisions that I scrounged up back before there was much of a plant budget.  I always tell myself I will make these tree gardens better.  It is a struggle because of the difficulties just described and because cool new plants will get stolen.  The cooler they are, the sooner they’ll be swiped. (Thorny plants do not prevent theft.) Annual seeds don’t seem to take well in these little beds.  I’ve tried assorted California poppies with little success.  Sometimes I manage to get a Cerinthe to grow, but by this time of summer they are done.

They all have good bulb displays in springtime.

The first four blocks going south to north have four trees each, and then a block is skipped, and the sixth block (by Dennis Company) has two trees.  The trees themselves are a columnar pear and an ornamental purple leaved plum.  We don’t prune them or deal with them other than watering or maybe pruning a lower branch.

The photos were taken while I watered planters and Allan watered trees.  I photographed some of them before he got to them to tidy them up while watering.

From south to north:

Block one:

west side, First Place Mall

I often regret planting variegated vinca in the tree garden by First Place Mall.  It is aggressive and has taken over, battled by Hesperantha, which I also somewhat regret. At least the vinca is variegated and thus rather pretty.  It’s low maintenance except for persistent big grass weeds and cutting the vinca back hard once a year.

East side, below Paws by the Sea
East side, below Paws by the Sea

Rugosa rose self seeded into this bed and I let it, thinking it was charming at first.  Now it is totally taking over, and if we shear it back and pull some once a year, it is prettier than a lot of the other tree beds.  It is smothering two Lonicera that I intend to remove this fall (and put in a park, probably).  One end seems to consistently get walked upon and is therefore bare.

east side, north tree
east side, north tree

An untrampled tree garden with lavenders, santolina, Knautia macedonica, and some blue scabiosa, Eragrostis curvula (grass).  There are no busy tourist businesses nearby so this one fares pretty well.

west side, Credit Union

Only slightly trampled, has santolina, some sad hesperantha, some well behaved (so far) Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, some Knautia macedonica, some low sedums. I wish it looked more interesting.

Block two:

east side, Anchor Realty

A vigorous Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ reigns here, with the edges having golden oregano and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ that get walked on just a bit.

West side, bike rental place

Golden oregano with Pennisetum ‘Heavy Metal’, which I am sure looks like a weed to most passersby.  Some badasters crept into this one, and some actual weed grass. If only people understood how cool ‘Heavy Metal’ is, this would be a success, especially since this tree has no working plumbing so has to survive on Allan’s bucket watering.

east side, Benson’s restaurant
east side, Benson’s restaurant

I suppose that huge and rather tatty lavender could go, but it would be hard to get a new one established, so it stays.  This bed has a big creeping sorrel weed problem.  Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, a white catananche, some oregano, some lady’s mantle that snuck in here.  This tree garden seems to hold its own.

west side, Malai Thai restaurant

Has Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, beach strawberry that I do not want because it gets in everyone’s business, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ behaving itself on one side, looks good in spring because it has a good yellow primula. Verbascum and yellow evening primrose which I have gone soft on pulling this year.  Despite how full it looks, people have parked their dogs and their large baby carriages right in this garden.

Block three:

west side, Marsh’s Free Museum
west side, Marsh’s Free Museum

Too much hesperantha.  A catmint, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, a Hebe ‘Boughton’s Dome’, an invasive running blue “ornamental” grass that was given to me by a nurseryman with “try this”—regret quickly ensued.  Hesperantha looks pretty good when it blooms, but in the summer it is so thirsty and looks yellowish. For some reason the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ has not run rampant in this one.  Some golden oregano, too.  Allan came along watering after this photo was taken and cut back a lot of the Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’ (I hope).

east side, Mostly Hats
east side, Mostly Hats

It was mostly Geranium ‘AT Johnson’, which goes through such a sad stage when the flowers are done.  I pulled loads of it out a couple of years ago, with big ideas of adding some hardy fuchsias.  This tree gets so trampled by kids and dogs that I have not been able to get anything new going.  The fuchsias were quickly broken off and destroyed. It is frustrating.  We recently mulched it to at least make it look fluffy.  All the tree beds were mulched well in spring (or maybe it was last fall), but some are so scuffed up you can’t even tell.

Uh oh, I missed the west side tree.  I hope I remember to photograph it before this publishes.  Here it is, taken on July 30th.:

west, Long Beach Tavern

Has mint, which I tried to get rid of and now let be there because it is a survivor and is certainly well contained.  Two little variegated boxleaf euonymous which I love.  Two hardy fuchsias which amazingly survive.

As I took the photo, I saw something in my viewfinder, across the street.

child running in garden
child number two running in garden (had just jumped in and out)
While dad gets something out of trunk, two children repeatedly run back and forth through the little garden bed.

Unless I planted full sized sub shrubs there and managed to get them established well over the winter, nothing will hold up to this.  I think, no matter what I may have written elsewhere in this post a couple of days ago, that I just plain old give up on the trees on this particular block that get so thoroughly walked on.  Shrubs tend to get broken off (yes, even dwarf barberries got kicked to pieces in the Veterans Field garden).  I’m just tired now. I don’t want valuable money wasted on things that are destroyed, so it might just be a last ditch attempt at Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and Lysimachia punctata.  Back to the tour as written up not long ago:

Block four:

west side, Castaway’s Bar and Grille

One of the most frustrating tree gardens.  Just golden lemon balm, hesperantha, and a self seeded aster.  Two years ago we cleaned it all out and planted some lovely hardy fuchsias.  Within a week, we found a bike and later a large dog parked here, and the fuchsias were completely decimated.  So we gave up and let the horrible aster come back.  Pointless.

east side by Funland

This Lysimachia punctata is under this tree only, and it blooms for such a long time that I am thinking of adding it at least to the tree across the street.  I wouldn’t plant it in anyone’s garden.  There’s quite a lot of it at the Shelburne Hotel garden, and I am trying to eliminate most of it there.  It certainly stands up to all damage caused by pedestrians, dogs, and bikes.

Here it is from across the street:

west side, clothing shops

The plumbing is broken on this tree garden so it only gets an occasional bucket of water hauled from another tree’s faucet.  A low hardy geranium, one hardy Fuchsia magellanica (the other one got smashed to bits), and Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’, which is drying up by now, and Japanese anemone and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.  It will look quite sad by mid August due to drought.  It was planted when the plumbing still worked.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to redo it with succulents? But they would be swiped.  Here it is from across the street, showing how dry it is already:

east side by Pharmacy and Home at the Beach
east side by Pharmacy and Home at the Beach

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ has absorbed most of this tree garden, with some reseeded rose campion.  I don’t like Lucifer’s pushy ways, usually, and yet I am considering adding to a couple of the tree gardens that are terribly walked upon.  It also has Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson and a very prickly eryngium.

Block six:

west side, Dennis Company

Has some tough little sedums, self seeded alyssum, a variegated iris on one side (the other one got destroyed somehow), a helianthemum that does well but has such a short bloom time.  Major chickweed problem and one end gets constantly trampled, I suppose by people walking around the front of their parked vehicles, so is bare.

east side: Hebe ‘Boughton’s Dome’, catmint, sneaky badaster, santolina, dog daisy. Doesn’t get walked on much so does well in its own rather dull way.

One of the things I would enjoy most about retiring from Long Beach is seeing someone else figure out some better plantings for these tree gardens.

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