La Cañada Day Trip

Although La Cañada is only about 10 minutes away from my house, I rarely go there (except for semi-annual visits to get my teeth cleaned). But a friend recently opened her design office in La Cañada so I made a date to meet her for breakfast and  then managed to squeeze in quite a few errands. Remarkably, I could get everything done within a 3 mile stretch of Foothill Blvd, including: stops at Trader Joe’s and Petco, a stop at a branch of my bank, stopping at an awesome thrift store and picking up a cute pair of pants for only $6, then dropping off said pants at the tailor in my friend’s building to get some minor adjustments, then over to FedEx Office to pick up some large format plans for work. By then I was getting hungry again, but instead of stopping at Taco Deli (delicious vegetarian tacos), as tempting as that was, I took my groceries home to make lunch.

In between all of the above activities, I stopped to photograph a couple of interesting gardens along my route. First, at the La Cañada Flintridge Library (conveniently next door to the Bargain Box Thrift Store operated by the Assistance League of Flintridge) there is a lovely demonstration garden full of native California plants with a few non-natives mixed in.

Ceanothus in bloom

Ceanothus, Agave, Fescue

Cercis and a bumble bee

Ribes and Juncus under an Oak

Verbena and Salvia spathacea

Second, just a little ways down Foothill Blvd., there is a vertical garden planted right into the retaining wall. The wall is made of stacked manufactured block, some with built in pockets to hold the soil and plant roots. It is filled with Centranthrus ruber (also known as Red Valerian or Jupiter’s Beard) and some Lantana that form a living wallpaper. These are two tough plants, sometimes invasive, that can thrive and spread in harsh conditions. They do get a little help from supplemental irrigation in the form of drip tubing that is woven through the wall (see the black hose in the photo below).

Vertical garden

You dont see the brown bits when whizzing by at 50 mph


Covert irrigation

OR, you could just have this instead (right across the street):

It makes me appreciate the effort involved in putting together the planted wall, even though it’s more trouble to do it.

(Also, I’m happy that I finally remembered how to do the ” ñ ” on my computer or this post might never have been published.)

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