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Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

Posted by stanofh (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 29, 11 at 15:58

I was watching 'California Gold' on PBS..and Huell Heisers stroll around Anaheim made that city look almost tropical.
What do you soucalians consider the city/area that embraces the tropical look and feel the most? I thought Santa Monica..but what do you think? ..any surprise ideas?

btw,in the bay area..it seems a street to street look..down there-what city?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

It sure isn't Anaheim, unless you're on the Jungle Boat Cruise at Disneyland. We're being encouraged by the water district to grow drought tolerant plants.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

I always thought San Diego mission area was the most tropical place in CA. I love the mix of bird of paradise, bougainvillea, and exotic trees. The Mission itself inspired me to grow a caterpillar plant. They have a HUGE monster one that looks like a tree!
Renee


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 1, 11 at 13:10

My vote would be for some of the barrios of east LA, where vestiges of Mexico and Central America abound within a matrix of shabby and working class homes. Montebello is one such town, where I used to visit regularly when Gary Hammer still had his Desert to Jungle nursery and growing grounds. Probably the most extensive selection of subtropicals available for sale at the time, and a real treat to visit in January as an escape from the winter cold and rains of the SF Bay Area. There are certainly pockets of tropical style all over the Bay Area, particularly here in Berkeley and Oakland, but the best gardens do recognize that the lush wet tropical style isn't really sustainable here, and best utilized as smaller scaled oasis courtyard gardens set within mor@,,e drought resistant surroundings of subtropicals,succulents and bromeliads that need less water. Afterall,the tropics include zones from wet to desert,sea level to high elevation cloud forests, encompassing a range of plant communities far more diverse than just bananas and coconuts. The fun comes with trying to find the plants in combination that give the look without running up the water bill or requiring ridiculous efforts of winter frost protection.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

I dont see why you equate "shabby and working class homes in the barrio" as most tropical looking. I find that kind of offensive, a real backhanded "compliment". A home is a home..even if the owners dont have the means to hire a landscaper do their thinking for them.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 1, 11 at 20:15

Just calling it like I see it. Neighborhoods full of unwatered/unmown lawns and surrounded by cyclone fences and houses needing painting and weeding do look shabby to me. This doesn't mean that every home fits this stereotype within these neighborhoods. But even if the typical home and garden doesn't show much interest in gardening, these sorts of neighborhoods have had some of the more interesting and rarely seen tropicals such as Delonix trees in full bloom, something I've rarely seen in better neighborhoods on the west side of LA. I could also point out parts of east Oakland with dramaticly large blooming Chorisia speckles trees or huge Chayote vines that aren't commonly seen in the Berkeley /Oakland hills. Calling a neighborhood shabby looking isn't meant as a commentary on the people living there, it is what it is. I've seen plenty of poorer working class neighborhoods in other countries where the majority own their homes rather than rent, and both the houses and gardens tend to be better taken care of.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

I don't think there was any disrespect meant, Stanofh. Houses are shabby in poor areas because people just don't have money for three-color paint schemes and new tile roofs. My house is still pretty shabby after 20 years of do-it-yourself labor. But even if you're broke, you can still grow a damn fine morning-glory vine. And it helps cover the lack of paint :)


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

I think there was. It was a needless kick. I mean who but a smug elitist person needs to point out a lower income home isn't going look like a model home? And it wasnt even an answer to my question-just an excuse for somebody to air a grudge I guess-and I call that as I know it.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

It doesn't matter if the owner has money or not. What matters is if they have PRIDE in themselves to make their home (big or small good or falling apart) look its best.

I have seen the most manicured lawns and flower beds in some of the worst areas of my city (crime and poverty) while seeing the laziest of maintenance in the "nice" expensive areas.

I wouldn't trust a landscaper to take care of my yard. Sure it might free up some time, but the majority of them here have no imagination or pride in their work. The landscaper done yards are boring cookie cutters without imagination. All the of best yards in my neighborhood are owner designed and owner maintained.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

To Stan's original question, I concur with Renee - San Diego hand's down. I grew up in S. Calif., only having been away in my adult years (and now back). San Diego in general, and especially the Mission area is very tropical in their plantings as well as their architecture.

Patty S.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

Thats interesting Patty-I wondered if Santa Barbara might get a mention? I've heard the city is dedicted to the "tropical look" ?


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 5, 11 at 19:39

I'd suggest that places like Santa Barbara are really a Mediterranean Climate plants look with subtropical touches via lots of palms, bougainvilleas, birds of Paradise, etc. The architecture and red tile roofs are more Mediterranean/Spanish than tropical inspired, as are the plants, garden styles and surrounding mountains. If this is your idealized vision of a tropical southern California landscape, I won't argue the point, but it doesn't match the tropics of southern Mexico or Brazil or tropical South American regions I've visited. I prefer to think of these local subtropical plant influenced gardens as being one subset of Mediterranean Climate gardening, rather than faux tropical. Unless you are trying for a dry-type tropical garden, an entire garden made up of water hungry large leafed tropicals doesn't even make sense in California where the mildest zones also have the least available/most expensively imported water supplies, and water is only going to get more expensive with time.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

I know that there is no TRUE tropical California David. I really didnt expect anybody to say that there is a side street of Coco trees and wild monkeys with a lush rio of warm water...Its all just a fun idea of imagination of what some gardeners like. And in soucal its to full fruition as California can present. Not living there I was wondering what areas really reach the ideal the best.
There are ways to convey tropics without elaborite set ups. Monstera,Philo selloum,even Wigandia are subtropical,with huge leaves and get by on average water-or less if they have too.
I think its interesting that the Berkeley Botanical garden has also embraced the subtropical look with every remodeling. Blue cycads,large leafed New Zealand shrubs,Dypsis decipiens palms..Why I thought it was a fun topic. Because the idea that we are going all rock and natives isn't true-yet!


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

I think areas in the Westside of Los Angeles such as Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Brentwood are very tropical looking. Streets around these areas are covered in beautiful, tropical and large palms of all types, bougainvilleas, large-leaf plants like monsterras, alocasias, colocasias, giant bird of paradise, abyssinian bananas, pigmy date palms, large, broad leaf ever greens which help create a very lush look. San Diego's mission area is also extremely tropical looking and very beautiful as well. Even though we are not a true tropical climate, sometimes when I'm driving around town, I feel like I'm somewhere in Hawaii or Panama (I was born and raised in the tropics so I can truly relate)


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

Funny-but Westwood does seem to be a cut above in warm temps..its seems a ideal micro-climate. When I check state temps..Westwood is warmer and warmer earlier in the day then most of soucal.
Now,if we could get some Westwood pics..wink-wink.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

Eh I used to live in Westwood and Santa Monica and I don't think they are any more tropical looking that the rest of SoCal. On a whole I would say that SoCal is incredibly diverse because you can grow such a vast selection of plants. Tropicals, Mediterranean and east coast things all mingle. One house might have lots of bird of paradise and Ficus as street trees, the next block over might have lavenders and Salvias or succulents with Eucalyptus as street trees and the one after that might have Sycamores and Azaleas.

Personally I'm not really a fan of the tropical look but it certainly is easy and carefree and palms as street trees are kind of fun.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

Wow, it really got off topic there for a bit...

Another vote for San Diego in general, but I like the Balboa Park area for it's huge old rubber trees and overall tropical plants run wild look.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

I grew up in San Diego and have done a lot of traveling throughout California, and I agree that parts of S.D. like Balboa Park are probably the most tropical-looking...although now that I live in Humboldt County, where we have temperate rain forests, none of S.D.'s drought problems, and mild, wet winters that rarely dip below freezing (at least on the coast where I'm at), you can grow many tropical plants here pretty easily, and it's much greener in general than S.D. Some of the native plants have a tropical look to them, as well, like the pacific rhododendrons. Looks tropical, just doesn't feel that way. :)


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

Not that everyone decides to have their front yards all oozing-with-plants in Humboldt, but they could if they really wanted to, and a lot of the county's famous Victorians were planted with tropical plants and trees back in the day. This is a flower explosion and unidentified (palm??) tree from my east front yard, right before I moved in. The house had been vacant for 7 years, with a landscaper coming by once a month to pull weeds...

Here is a link that might be useful: front yard plant explosion


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

You remind me of an old PacHort article of a retired couple who moved into a rainy part of Marin county..almost frost free but with 70" of rain...they too had been soucalians and brought with them their collection of potted palms and rare bamboo's. It sounded like a new world version of the Himalayas with Monstera climbing old second growth Redwoods.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

I'd say the Los Angeles Arboretum. The lagoon and belltower was used in the opening sequence of Fantasy Island when the float plane taxis in and Tatoo yells "Da plane, da plane".


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

  • Posted by dis_ z9 CA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 10, 12 at 14:37

I ran across this thread today. I had to laugh at your post hosenemesis. My house is kinda icky and old. Lack of funds has prvented me from doing much to it other than fix the roof. So- I blanketed it in morning glory! I do love the way it looks.

I bought a house in a barrio type area. Couldn't afford better. To be honest, it's nice not having snooty neighbors. Everyone here it just trying to make it.


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RE: Most tropical looking city/area.neighborhood in California?

I used Potato Vine and creeping fig :)
Neither is good for what's left of the roof, though...
Renee


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