What kind of tree is this? I am looking for a similar tree for my patio area, this one belongs to my neighbor and seems a good fit.
Possibly a ficus? Whatever it is, it appears as though they keep hacking it back to keep it with bounds and it's not able to show any natural grace.....
But then......I could be wrong.....
It looks like a pruned ficus to me, too. But I am far from a tree expert. They can be pruned into nice topiary shapes. I thought a bay laurel might work better because it requires less water.
Appears to be a Camellia japonica that has been shaped badly.
lol...that was my second choice...
Ah yes I do think it had white flowers earlier this year. It looks cute to me.
Looks like a camellia to me, too. Probably not hacked up because they don't grow that big, but they aren't particularly graceful in form. On the other hand they have nice, shiny evergreen foliage, a long bloom season, no thorns and would be more likely to work in your courtyard. Have you thought about columnar evergreens? They might be a better choice, albeit without flowers.
Well today I just went ahead and planted the other side with perennials, no tree. I think I need to take more time to figure out what will work there and what I want. I looks so much better now just with the plants, and I am looking for a couple of wall-mount half-urns (in a classical or mediterranean style) to put on the stucco wall along the right side, where the carport is. I think some creeping rosemary in there with some ivy geraniums or some other colorful flowers will add interest to the wall.
I also added another pot with a dwarf lime tree in addition to my potted dwarf meyer lemon. I'll take some more pics soon!
At some point I want to add a tree, but it's probably better to wait until closer to the rains anyway.
Sure it is a Camellia, and your neighbor has shaped it to provide a little screen above the fence. It can grow another 10 feet should they want that, or it can be cut down to the ground and be grown with multiple trunks. The Camellia japonica is wonderfully flexible in growth habit in the right climate. Al
C. Sasanquas are massive when left alone. My neighbor's house is virtually invisible behind a screen of those shrubs planted back in the 1940's. They have trunks almost as thick as trees! I prefer the more delicate C. reticulata and the new hybrid vase-shaped forms. I have a "Taylor's Perfection" and people literally stop in their tracks when it's in bloom.
A camellia is a good choice. You can prune it up into a small tree, and they have gorgeous foliage.
I read more about them - sounds like they prefer some share. My neighbor's tree is in the shade of our carport, whereas my area gets very little shade, only in the morning. AFternoon it is all full sun!
Sasanqua Camellias can take full sun. Even Camellia japonicas can take full sun if you are reasonably close to the coast. The key thing is to keep the root system fully shaded and cool, either with the foliage of the plant, or with a thick but fluffy mulch.
The reason for this is that Camellias have small, shallow, and sensitive root systems that easily dry out, and are easily stressed by heat. They also need plenty of oxygen, which is why a thick mulch should be light and fluffy, so that the roots are not smothered.
In nature, Camellias are small trees that live in the shade of large trees, with the sasanqua types getting more sun or lots of sun at the forest edges. Understanding where a plant fits into its natural environment helps.
Thanks for the additional info, that's why I came here where people know what they are talking about! I am on the SF peninsula, but not in a coastal/fog area - lee side of the mountains. It doesn't sound like a Camellias would like my front garden, where the soil is heavy clay - very hard packed - and the sun is intense at all times of year. We're on the sunny side of the carport, the neighbor has that shade. There is no unit to the other side to shade us at all.
I just hoped to have a tree to block a line of sight from the upper levels of the homes across the street, a smallish tree with a good canopy and non-invasive roots (next to walkway) would be great!
Hmm, if it is mainly the roots that need to stay cooler, perhaps the shade of the fence in the afternoon will be sufficient? The gate faces SW so that far corner of the garden is shaded by the fence after about 1 or 2pm, it gets morning sun and on those hot days the soil can get quite hot, but I have some shredded redwood mulch and could add more for the tree if it likes it. The tree would still get full sun on the part extending above the fence.
The other tree I am considering is a bay laurel - standard form, but they are so slow growing it would take forever to screen the neighbor's view of our front door (their balcony across the street seen here).
I think a few bottlebrush trees would look nice. They can be pruned to be narrow, and have a weeping habit. They are also relatively low water plants.
I want a camellia for sure for the back patio, and maybe one for the front - or a fruitless olive. I love the camellia's foliage and form and the flowers are a bonus - and it's nontoxic to cats so I can include it in the "catio" :)
Bottlebrush are a possibility too for the front, I hadn't really considered aesthetically because it often looks scraggly and bushy. Now it's a matter of finding some nice sized shrubs/trees in a nursery, I was at Summerwinds, OSH and HD today and didn't find what I was looking for.
Does anyone on the SF peninsula have recommendations for plant stores/nurseries that might have better tree selections? I can special order from Summerwinds but I don't know how long it takes and I'd rather see the plant I am buying.
I ruled out bottlebrush after seeing they are in the top 5 for allergies - I have some pollen allergies so I don't think I should plant something potentially allergenic to me!
Then I suddenly remembered - Manzanita! How could I have forgotten these? They come in shrub or tree types, have interesting branches, evergreen leaves, low water and are fairly fast growing. Today I bought 2 different upright-tending types and planted them. However they are only tiny right now, the little 2' ones were $8 and the next size up was a $100 huge pot, not even sure I could dig the hole for one that big anyway. So it may be a while before they are appreciably taller than the perennials there.
One is "Austin Griffin" manzanita, matures at 8-10' and has an upright habit, and the one I planted on the end corner where it has the most space is Dr. Hurd which should reach 10' and have a more branching canopy.
And I got a lovely Camellia for the back patio, it's a Camellia sasanqua 'Kanjiro' about 3' tall and the tag listed it as part shade or full sun. I hope it will like the back patio area because it will get full sun for 1-3 hours in the AM depending on the time of year, and shade after 1pm even in summer. The nursery told me the red and pink varieties are more sun tolerant than the white, I originally wanted the Yuletide camellia but the tag on it said filtered sun, so I wasn't sure if it would like full sun for part of the day... so I bought the Kanjiro instead.
Here it is... after it blooms this winter I plan to remove some of the lower branches to encourage it to grow more upright.