sharing the view; driveby gardens with kangaroo paws

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Okay, I admit I’m chasing the goal of 10,000 steps a day. Chasing it all over my hometown. And it’s amazing how familiar streets by car can turn up all sorts of unfamiliar scenes by foot. So this is technically a walkby, not a driveby, or possibly a hybrid of the two — I might have initially caught that searing blur of kangaroo paws when doing errands by car then went back to investigate on foot. My old standby, a form of pale yellow Anigozanthos flavidus, is blooming as strong as ever in my garden, but the rusty oranges and egg-yolk yellow forms have died out as the back garden grows shadier. This is one of the strongest, most vibrant displays I’ve seen locally.

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See that snippet of low white picket fence? That’s a clue to how this front garden accomplishes depth and scope beyond its actual footprint — because whether by design or serendipity, it’s borrowing the view from the front garden next-door that belongs to that grey, black-trimmed house with the enviable casement windows.

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From this view, the garden is luxuriously deep, building up mounding textures and spikes, backed by tall kangaroo paws and leonotis blooming like solar flares against that cool blue haze of a sprawling eucalyptus — a borrowed but nonetheless spectacular backdrop. In actuality, the gum tree takes up most of that neighbor’s front garden, as seen below.

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limbed up to show that warm red trunk as is often done with manzanitas — this is what can happen when you whole-heartedly commit to a tree. You work around it. I should know. Half of my own front garden is taken up by a similarly sprawling Acacia podalyrifolia where agaves and succulents used to grow. And then there’s the issue of my back garden becoming too shady for kangaroo paws…

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what first appeared from the car to be a cut-leaf acacia, it’s more likely a eucalyptus sporting juvenile growth from extensive pruning. (Might be Eucalyptus pulverulenta.) The kangaroo paws and leonotis bloom in both gardens. Cooperation or competition? Just another example of how plantings often go viral in a neighborhood.
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both houses really know how to cover the ground, keeping shapes in scale.
Little blue flowers from Convolvulus sabatius, the Ground Morning Glory
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back to the shared view — salvias, lantana, golden coleonema, kangaroo paws, leonotis and agavesque yuccas

Two gardens, two houses, but I only took photos of this house because I love how it sits in the landscape, snugged into the view from the neighbor’s garden. (And privacy reasons too — the owner of the house belonging to the foreground garden was puttering outside.)

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9 Responses to sharing the view; driveby gardens with kangaroo paws

  1. Nell Lancaster says:

    The gold kangaroo paws and Leonotis on both sides of the grey-blue tree really do reinforce the illusion that it’s all one long garden.

    In the steam lately, I’m afraid my steps are in the low three digits these days. Must rouse self. Do you rack up most of those in the early morning, or evening? Or has the real heat not yet arrived?

  2. Denise says:

    @Nell, the heat has not arrived yet so long walks to the store or other errands are still possible, esp. preferred late afternoon. So sorry it’s steamy for you! But it’ll be our turn in the barrel soon enough…

  3. Kris P says:

    That garden is exceptionally well done. I fixated on the Yucca to an even greater degree than the Anigozanthos of the Leonotis, although both also make impressive displays.

  4. hb says:

    Beautiful. You have some wonderful gardens in your neighborhood.

  5. Nell Lancaster says:

    That she does. One of my favorites ever is a recent post on the @botanizeme Instagram, as much for the crisp green-against-white paint job as for the plants.

  6. Nell Lancaster says:

    Just went back to the IG to enjoy the green&white house again, and was distracted by the low golden flowerheads of Miscanthus nepalensis in another SoCal garden (already?! Well, I guess the two cv’s of M. sinensis I’m growing, ‘Silberfeder’ and ‘Morning Light’, are well on the late end of the Misc. bloom sequence). Pretty happy-looking at sea level for a plant from Nepal…Or, probably, Nepal is more various than my impression of it.
    Think this was my first look at the grass, although I’ve had a vivid mental picture since reading Dan Pearson’s account of his Miscanthus trials, where he described them as having “pendant, burnished plumage like a golden fleece”. Check. They didn’t survive in his Somerset garden, possibly due to winter tenderness. Those gold, metallic tassels are mighty showy.

  7. Nell Lancaster says:

    Prompted by a creeping sense of deja vu after posting the last comment, I searched the blog and lo, the Miscanthus nepalensis featured in several bloom day posts last year. But never quite as glittering as in the IG post, which I now realize must be from your own garden. (When you go to the trouble, expense, and risk to mail yourself something from the Great Dixter plant sale, one payoff is knowing you won’t be seeing it in other gardens!). What’s your assessment of the thickening-up issue, after a growth-inducing winter and spring?

  8. Denise says:

    Hey, Nell! Yes, this miscanthus was one I bought at Great Dixter and mailed home, something I obviously still feel the need to keep on the lowdown 😉 It was moved into a more open area and is blooming really well. The blades are nondescript and a little patchy so it’s not a thick clump at all. I was wondering about the altitude too but it seems happy here two years’ on, even with being moved in that time. I’m going to hunt around for a record of Pearson’s miscanthus trials, so thanks for mentioning that.

  9. Nell Lancaster says:

    It’s at Feel free to remove my earlier comment for opsec reasons; completely understand.

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