Wednesday, November 24, 2021

So you like those things?

Last week Andrew and I ventured south to Los Angeles, for a pre-Thanksgiving gathering with his family. One day we traveled east, towards Azusa, where Andrew fished the San Gabriel River, and I visited the Los Angeles County Arboretum. En route he swung through a fast-food drive-thru to fuel-up, he does love a greasy breakfast sandwich. As luck would have it there were several well-lit Agave 'Blue Glow' in the parking lot, I jumped out to photograph while he ate...

Lost in the moment I heard a voice say "so you like those things?" and I looked up to see an older fellow, masked (COVID protocol), friendly, watching me take photos. I said yes, yes I do. The next thing I knew he was giving me a lesson on how to reach in and snap off a pup. I hesitated, saying that felt a little like stealing, but he assured me the mow-and-blow guys just hack off the pups and haul them away. He then went on to share that he'd built quite the collection by harvesting here. The next thing I knew he was snapping off a pup and handing it to me, instructing me on how to care for it. I should have asked if I could take his photo with the baby 'Blue Glow' but I hesitated a little too long and he was in his car and gone...

That's how I came home from SoCal with an Agave 'Blue Glow' pup...

Back to the beginning though...

For the vacation portion of our trip we stayed in LA's Koreatown at The Line.

Arriving on a sunny warm Sunday I was instantly in heaven, checking out the plants around the hotel. Grevillea 'Moonlight' I think...

Russelia equisetiformis

The hotel had a restaurant on the second floor, "Michelin-starred chef Josiah Citrin’s Openaire"

However the two times I went to explore it wasn't open. 

Oh well, it's easier to take photos when there aren't people whose privacy your worried about invading...

Camera pressed to the glass, looking into the restaurant.

And the seating area between the restaurant and the pool.

A balcony stretched around the east side of the second floor, with lots of seating and plants everywhere—this is definitely a hotel for plant lovers! 

Looking up at the second floor plants from the hotel entrance...

We did eat (and drink) in the lobby bar one night, where I enjoyed the plant shapes on the ceiling.

Between the hotel and Starbucks (what can I say, I came of coffee drinking age in Seattle and Starbucks is my go-to morning coffee) I stopped to admire the plants in front of Oasis Church.

As I snapped photos the people waiting at the nearby bus stop looked at me as though I'd lost my mind.

In the interest of full disclosure I should share that someone was sleeping under a palm just to the right, out of frame. He was there two mornings in a row—but on the third he was gone.

Inside our room this narrow shelf, and the interesting print above, called out for a still-life. 

The orange vase, wooden blocks and rock were there when we checked in. I picked up a small broken branch from a Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. asplenifolius (Catalina ironwood) at the Natural History Museum and tucked it into the vase, later adding a Rhipsalis paradoxa I'd purchased.

Here's my entire (small) haul...

The rhipsalis came from Mickey Hargitay Plants, a great little shop I'll cover in another post.

I believe this fabulous split, double pod, is from a Brachychiton discolor.

The only plant I bought at Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria is this tiny, unlabeled, guy. Anyone know what it is?

Yes, I haul home all sorts of interesting (to me) things I pick up off the ground, like these eucalyptus buttons.

As well as an assortment of banksia pods...

Because one is not enough!

This small piece of wood also made the trip back to Portland.

Andrew added a trio of cap-less acorns to the mix.

Oh, and there's one more plant! I wandered into a place called botanik in Summerland (best town name ever!)...

And fell in love with this guy, who was wearing a fetching corsage of fallen bougainvillea. 

What? I carried a common old Senecio radicans back from California? 

Well yes and no. Because common as Senecio radicans is, this one seemed special because of its ultra green stems and small blue succulent leaves.

Plus it's a 'String of Blimps"... ha! Who comes up with these names?

I managed to get it home in my carry-on without much damage. Where there is a will, I will find a way...

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. That Agave 'Blue Glow' guy. What a hoot! Nice haul, I love the little special bits nature leaves too.

    1. He really was, I wonder what his garden looks like?

  2. I love this post because it's so you! It's so you to be given an agave pup in a parking lot. And collect all kinds of seed pods. And discover interesting plants wherever you go :-).

    That restaurant is seriously cool, by the way!

    Your mystery plant from Seaside Gardens looks like Trichodiadema densum.

    1. Ha, ya...I suppose it is, isn't it? Thanks for the plant ID. I am sort of obsessed now about the idea of a restaurant in a greenhouse...

  3. Viewing this post I know you really are a kindred spirit! Plants drew me in but your collecting (and collection) of the natural bits and bobs of nature really seals the deal. I found a bit of wood like yours with two holes; it is an owl!

    1. Good to know I am not alone in my collecting ways!

  4. Looks like a good haul, lots of interesting sights along the way (that hotel!), and a fun trip. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Andrew!

    1. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and David! Ya, the hotel was fun...although their pillows sucked! ;)

  5. I agree with Gerhard - this recap of your trip is very you. 'Blue Glows' aren't known for pupping much - it's karma that you ran into a parking lot agave guru to gift you one. I love everything in your collected treasure trove, especially the Banksia pods - it'd be worth growing the plant for those alone. (I just need to find the right species...)

    1. I'm glad you mentioned that, as I remember thinking it odd that a couple of them had pups! Ya, I can't imagine having a plant regularly producing those cool banksia pods in my own garden.

  6. I enjoyed your little story about you visit. I love small hauls too. Eyes always looking for something that might find a place in the garden/house. As to your parking lot man. Good for him. I am sure those B M and G guys don't care about pups. I just relieved our apartment place of a few pups that were growing smack bang up against the sidewalk. Probably until they got too big and then would be yanked out, roots firmly wedged underneath the concrete.

    1. There have been a few times in the past when I was seriously tempted to grab a pup... perhaps I won't be so concerned next time!

  7. I smiled at your little mantel vignette in the hotel... making the room like home. I imagine your collected finds will be on display in your living room at some point, too. As Gerhard said, 'very you!'

  8. You hit up some of my favorite places in my area (I live in Ventura). It's fun to see familiar places through other people's eyes! Thought you might like to know that Summerland, CA was founded by followers of the Spiritualist church:

    1. Ah lucky you! I visited the Ventura Botanical garden back in 2015 and planned a revisit this time, as I understand it's undergone a lot of changes. Sadly I ran out of time! Thanks for the backstory on Summerland, very interesting.

  9. Looks like a great trip. The greenhouse restaurant--love, love, love, that!


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