traditional with a twist

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Here’s another house nearby that warrants a second look and always brings a smile.

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It’s the traditional front lawn setup with a bit of a twist. All the supporting plants are exclusively dry garden plants, some rare like the cycads.

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Every plant in the landscape is a “specimen,” like the dasylirion, cycads, potted ponytail palms. There’s definitely a collector at work here, but a restrained collector with a conservative streak. That’s my Sherlockian take, anyway, to explain leaving the lawn in place. (And I mean conservative in temperament, not in a political sense.) The front porch is given that bristly moustache from horsetail reeds grown in an unseen container.

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Potted tree aloe, palm, and more cycads. I have no idea which cycads they are. I haven’t been bitten by that bug yet, thankfully, since cycad collecting can be an expensive habit. And/or a habit that requires great patience while these Jurassic-era plants slowly make size.

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Foundation planting on the wild side. Overcast skies courtesy of our “June gloom,” one of my favorite times of year. I feel cheated when June doesn’t gloom up but instead marches straight into bright and sunny.

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I love this bungalow, but sorting and choosing these photos, with the pea-green color of the house, green roof, and the lawn, is making me a bit queasy.

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This house in the same neighborhood makes an interesting exercise in compare-and-contrast. Do you prefer the green lawn or the buff-colored decomposed granite with dry garden plants?

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10 Responses to traditional with a twist

  1. I’ve got to come visit you. There’s so much variety in Long Beach, I could collect enough blog material to last me for a year!

    I like both properties a lot. The ponytails palms at the first house are INSANE! I would never have thought they could grow to that size (and girth!) in such shallow bowls.

    The front yard at the 2nd house looks more like what I would have in a climate like yours. Personally, I prefer DG over lawn. But lawn goes better with the first house just like DG goes better with the 2nd. So much is pure personal preference.

  2. Alan says:

    I also did a doubletake when I saw those huge ponytail palms in those tiny bowls. Wow!

  3. hoov says:

    A Very Meticulous Person lives there. I would pay them money to remove the lawn, just to enjoy the view of it without the lawn, which isn’t at the same Very Meticulous level. I am blown away that the Aloes are also in pots. Whatta find. I think his brother lives in my neighborhood, but said Very Meticulous brother only grows palms.

    The other example seems more typical.

  4. Denise says:

    @Gerhard, there are a couple neighborhoods in LB where the gardens are really on fire. I really think it’s infectious, because I see miles of boring here too.
    @Alan, I’ve been wondering how long it takes to grow the ponytails to that size. And in a low bowl too!
    @Hoov, sometimes I wish I was born a VMP!

  5. Kris P says:

    Like Gerhard and Alan, I’m fascinated by those ponytail palms.

  6. ks says:

    So do you think someone was paid $$$ to go dig up those mature Beaucarnias from somewhere we don’t want to know about and install them in those elegant bowls ? I like the color of the house , but not as a garden backdrop–I think about how those plants would pop if the house were the color of Scott or Lorees house.

    ..and by the way, I decided this spring I was going to collect Cycads. So far I have one.

  7. Wow! The pony-tail palms in those bowls are just CRAZY! I love them both, but agree it’s just too much muted green in the first example. Not that I’d mind having it across the street from me, of course. Do you recall what the material making up the edging of the borders (first homie) is?

  8. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Both very interesting gardens but I’m with everybody else in wanting to see something other than lawn, being blown away by those pony tail palms in their shallow bowls, and wishing the house were white, brown, terra cotta, turquoise with pink dots…

  9. Denise says:

    @Kris, and that they’re nearly mirror images of each other — in height anyway. The one on the left’s trunk is dumpier.
    @Kathy, what a lurid thought, ponytail theft! My house was that dark brown color some years back and faded horribly in the strong sun to a mauvey-brown. And we use good paint too! Bright light, paler colors — my theory is it keeps the houses cooler too. The most common cycad around here is the sago — not a fave yet.
    @Loree, the plant edging? I didn’t get too close, but from the photos it looks similar to a silvery-leaved gazania, the one with yellow flwrs, with some festuca mixed in here and there.
    @Peter, I favor the d.g. too. I’m curious about the stucco, which is such a good job it looks original. Our hist. designation forbids stuccoing wooden bungalows. Interesting…

  10. Alison says:

    Cool gardens both! I do prefer the lawnless look, for California, and with all that stucco. And those ponytail palms are impressive. I do like my single Sago palm, but I won’t be collecting them any time soon.

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