One of the things I love about my job is the same as one of the things I hate about my job — driving around all over town all the time — though I do try to eliminate a lot of unnecessary trips. The cons of driving are obvious: burning gas and oil, polluting the air, sitting in traffic, dealing with obnoxious drivers in other cars…. But there are a few pros, too. I love to visit other neighborhoods and check out their different vibes…. Each neighborhood in L.A. has its own character and texture. Some have beautiful old craftsman houses, some have great views, some have striking modern architecture, some are very eclectic and funky and others are very serene and tasteful. Often the feeling of a neighborhood changes from street to street or block to block. Some have great places to grab a bite to eat or a cup of tea and I always try to keep track of where to find my favorite treats so I can take advantage when I am near one of them.
Another big advantage to driving around the city is the opportunity to see a lot of different trees and plants in all their variations. Some are well-tended and others are mangled by terrible pruning. There are unexpected and beautiful combinations. But mainly, I get to track the seasons (yes, we have them in Southern California) by what is suddenly erupting into bloom.
This week it seems that the Chasmanthe is in flower everywhere. I’ve seen it covering rocky slopes in Mt. Washington (but was whizzing by too fast in my car to catch a photo) and in a few yards in Highland Park. This photo is from a front yard in Echo Park. It is nicely paired with a Solanum and the combination of the orange Chasmanthe floribunda and the purple Solanum flowers provides a nice pop, especially in the grayish drizzle we’ve had for a couple of days.