driveby gardens; sundown on the Miracle Mile

I worked in the “Miracle Mile” stretch of Wilshire Boulevard on Thursday, approximately the 5600 block. In the surrounding neighborhoods, the houses had gardens that looked promising and full of interest, so during a 20-minute lunch I dashed out to have a look. There have been discrete garden design phases in Southern California, and this neighborhood seemed to have examples of quite a few of them. There was a phase for a while where ‘Iceberg’ roses and ‘Silver Sheen’ pittosporum seemed to be in every garden, and then things got very serious and monochromatic and shrubby, with myoporum, westringia, and helichyrsum. (I happen to love serious, shrubby gardens too.) There were quite a few excellent, succulents-only front gardens. But most exciting for me, I encountered my first blooming beschorneria in Los Angeles, so I know there’s hope for mine, but definitely not this year and possibly not even next year. I forget how massive the rosette is at blooming size, and mine has quite a ways to go still. I couldn’t wait for work to end so I could head back out again, this time with the camera I try to always bring along. But work stretched past 6 o’clock, and it was nearly sundown by the time I set out in search of the beschorneria on the way to catching a bus then a train home.

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En route to the beschorneria, I found this leucospermum in full backlit glory, rivaling the sunset in brilliant peachy gold.
Genius or accidental, the siting was spectacular, and in a hellstrip no less.

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Of all the South African plants in wide use in Los Angeles, a mature leucospermum is still something of a rare sight.

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The spoor of a plant nut was evident in the hellstrip. That looks to be a Senecio decaryi jutting out on the left of the leucospermum.
Including a phormium, euphorbias, aeoniums, underplanted with Senecio mandraliscae.

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It was almost too dark for photos by the time I found the beschorneria again.

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These were right at the property line, overhanging the sidewalk. Beschorneria are frost-tender succulents from Mexico and Central America.
A lengthier revisit to the neighborhoods around the Miracle Mile is definitely in order, judging by the treasures on just two of its streets.
I’ve always found that interesting gardens are infectious, and where’s there’s one or two, there’s bound to be more.

8 thoughts on “driveby gardens; sundown on the Miracle Mile

  1. Those Leucospermum flowers are fab. I’m beginning to see the reason why everyone is so fascinated by these plants. I may need to find room in the greenhouse for one.

  2. Wonderful find. Yes there are definite “eras” in plants–my “find” today was prostrate junipers/Aleppo pine/bermuda grass, circa 1972. But won’t we always find Leucospermums glorious? Or will we? Can we possibly grow weary of Leucospermums?

    The size of the Beschorneria is sort of scary–I was thinking of putting mine in the ground–maybe not.

  3. Oh – I guess I have years to wait for my less than 2 year old Beschorneria to bloom too…I captured 2 Leucospermums in bloom in my neighborhood in my own post last night – one is large and the other is absolutely huge so I’m once again convinced that I should be able to grow one in my own garden. In fact, I picked up one specimen (not yet blooming size) today at the Australian Native Nursery in Casitas Springs. Now I just have to find the perfect place to put it.

  4. I love the backlit Leucospermum, and it is a color a love to see in a garden. Coral, peach and salmon are close enough to pink, but don’t call into question male gardener’s manliness.

    I’m afraid my Beschoneria did not like this winter. I am sure the cold wasn’t the problem, but the wet cold may have been. Time will tell.

  5. @Alison, this one might be ‘Scarlet Ribbons,’ but don’t quote me.
    @Loree, I know Dustin’s is getting to be a fair size, and then I just saw the one in Kris’ neighborhood, so they are out there, big and healthy!
    @Hoov, I think the leucospermum is fad-proof.
    @Kris, that house with the orange leuc would definitely be a nice garden to inherit. Don’t know if I’d keep all that ivy tho. That’s be a great slope for succulents.
    @Amy, you must see these all over town…right?
    @Les, backlighting and using light in general is another layer of design to exploit, but often it’s just serendipity when it occurs, like in this instance, I suspect.

  6. My own beschorneria is sending up a bloom spike for the first time, and I’m very excited! It’s a B. septentrionalis, which is able to tolerate occasional freezes into the upper teens, as we’ve experienced here in Austin.

    The leucospermum flowers almost don’t seem real. I don’t know how you were able to continue your search for the beschorneria once you’d laid eyes on the leucospermum. Hypnotic!

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