Let's go back to Santa Barbara shall we? It was July, and we'd walked up to Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden. Andrew found it on the map and it looked promising. Across the street was this gorgeous church surrounded by palms of every size (small, medium and large).
No fishing? No swimming?
No skateboards? No bicycles? No alcoholic beverages? No adult soccer? What kind of a park is this anyway???
Ah, one with great plants! It's also a water-wise demonstration garden with plant lists available for the taking (an online version here) and brochures about how to reduce water use in home gardens. Check out those bloom-spikes!...(bloom-droops?)...I believe this is a Brahea armata (Blue Hesper Palm).
Somehow swimming wasn't the first thing that came to mind when I saw the pond. That color doesn't exactly say "jump in" does it?
Although this little guy appears to be enjoying himself.
It was a very lively place, that pond.
Ceiba speciosa or maybe C. insignis.
And a ginormous Brugmansia.
The delicate blooms on this patch-o-Cannas were quite fabulous.
But we eventually swung back around by the pond...
And the turtles!
So many turtles.
The waterlilies were nice too...
It's a sea of snakes! Or Foxtail Fern aka Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers'. I love this dense planting, especially with the Erythrina flowers peaking in on the left.
This tree! It was (and is) beautiful...
I believe it's Eucalyptus (Corymbia) ficifolia.
I searched the ground for fallen seed pods but found none.
Ah! The succulent section...
This garden unfolded with one impressive planting after another...
I read various accounts of how the garden came to be, but basically after a fire destroyed the existing buildings, the block was slated for high-rise development (to much opposition from the community which effectively killed the project). Various other uses were proposed, including one by the Santa Barbara Art Museum, but none worked out. So "in December 1975, affluent resident Alice Keck Park purchased the property and donated it to the City of Santa Barbara" (source)... by some accounts the donation was done on the condition of anonymity until after her death.
How do they keep this Dyckia so clean!? (I believe it's D. 'Jim's Red')
Aloe plicatilis, now Kumara plicatilis
I wanted to give these poor Agave parryi a nice big drink!
Maybe Aloe brevifolia (blooming)
So did you notice this bad boy in one of the earlier photos? I'd seen it from a distance and wondered what it was, then when I got closer and saw the trunk, well I had to go "off path" and get even closer.
This is why! There are little pups all over it...
It looks like an Agave, but the trunk? Only a few Agaves form trunks, what could it be? I consulted the plant list but didn't find any Agaves on the list that were contenders.
An internet search turned up this post from my friend Gerhard, turns out he'd spotted this same plant when driving by which had him pulling over. He captioned his photo "Variegated Agave sisalana or tequilana? I can’t tell, but it was HUGE!"...(it didn't look to be pup-covered when he saw it)...
This is when things get interesting for me (I'll try to keep it short). While I was in Phoenix last week I went plant shopping with my brother. He and my sister-in-law picked out a plant that wasn't labeled but I thought was a Furcraea. I took to Facebook asking for answers only find more questions, people were fairly confident it was an Agave though. Finally I decided to email Gerhard and he identified it as Agave sisalana ‘Variegata’ — an ID that I think is correct — so indeed my brother's plant was an Agave after-all, not a Furcraea.
BUT this creature....in searching to ID it, and pouring back over the plant list, I noticed the name Furcraea selloa var marginata. An internet search sent me to the San Marcos Growers website where I saw a photo of a very similar looking plant (here). I'm going with F. selloa var marginata as the ID...
A Furcraea, whaddaya know? So I wonder, did it bloom and now it's producing these pups by the million? I saw no indication of a bloom, but it was quite a bit taller than me, so had the spike been removed carefully I may not have seen it. Perhaps something else is causing it to go into reproductive over-drive?
Anyway, I thought it very interesting. Oh and here's a trio of another Furcraea, these F. macdougallii.
I'll end this visit with a look at a gorgeous Parkinsonia aculeata...
Oh Santa Barbara, why must you be such an expensive place to live!!! Don't you know I belong there?
All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.