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Indian Mallow (Abutilon palmeri)

I always enjoy seeing well-designed landscapes that make use of many of my favorite arid-adapted plants. A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to explore lovely landscape areas that existed within an imaginary land with real plants that were used to provide a sense of reality to this fictional place.

I invite you to explore these areas along with me and look for clues as to where it is.

Globe mallow, Mexican honeysuckle, and Indian mallow

This is a gorgeous layering of three different shrubby plants. Indian mallow (Abutilon palmeri) anchors the background with its gray-green leaves and yellow flowers. In the middle stands Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera), which has lovely foliage and orange flowers that appear throughout the year. Globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) adds nice color contrast with its foliage and orange flowers in the foreground. All of these are drought tolerant and thrive in desert gardens.

Continuing our exploration, we walk by a desert planting filled with young saguaro cactus, ocotillo, and a little yucca. It almost made me feel like we were in Arizona.

The beautiful green foliage of a jojoba shrub (Simmondsia chinensis) stood out against the reddish walls of a ‘canyon’.

 

Mexican fence post cactuses (Pachycereus marginatus) along with other cereus cacti add a lovely vertical element.

Naturally-themed areas are filled with a plant palette that places you in the desert Southwest. But, we were several hundred miles away from the real desert.

Have you guessed where we were yet? Here is another clue:

Information signs reveal the different kinds of plants in this imaginary land. Your final clue is the name of the plants as well as the shape of the small prickly pear pad.

We were exploring the town of ‘Radiator Springs’ which came to life in the movie ‘Cars’ and its sequels. These are my favorite Disney movies because they take place in my own backyard.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well this imaginary town was constructed and the plants used to create a look of authenticity. However, there were some notable exceptions to having live plants throughout Radiator Springs.

Old-fashioned rear lights were used to create imaginary flowers at the Cozy Cone Hotel. 

Other car parts serve as components of this cornucopia.

While I was distracted by both the real and imaginary plants, other visitors were thrilled by the appearance of the inhabitants of Radiator Springs.

Have you ever visited Cars Land at California Adventure? If you get the chance, you may be surprised to find inspiration for your desert garden.

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You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a few days (or maybe not 😉  I feel somewhat incomplete when I have gone more then three days without writing a blog post, but sometimes life gets a bit crazy or sometimes I go out of town.

I went away for a few days to a ‘mystery’ location.  I had a great time and was able to take some pictures of some beautiful potted plants, annuals, perennials and shrubs.

Some of you may be able to guess where I have been from my photos….

Pink and White Cyclamen

 

Easter Lilies, Pink Primrose and Trailing Variegated English Ivy
Perennial bed full of winter-flowering perennials
Vegetables used as ornamental plants.
Have you guessed where this is yet?
Let me zoom out a bit in the next few photos…
I love Icelandic Poppies, don’t you?
Mt. Lemmon Marigold
Japanese Evergreen Pear Tree
I love daisies, don’t you?
Okay, I think this photo will be a dead giveaway…
A pair of ‘swans’ amidst Blue Pansies
Do you notice the castle in the background?
I was at Disneyland!
Now don’t think for a minute that I didn’t bring my family along…
Can you tell that the sun was in their eyes?
My husband and I decided to surprise our kids with a 3-day trip to Disneyland.
When my father-in-law died last fall, my mother-in-law received an unexpected life insurance payment from his few years on the Air Force.
She gave some the insurance money to each of us.  So, we decided to use the money to treat ourselves and the kids to a fun vacation.
We didn’t tell the kids anything about leaving on a trip.  I had my daughter, Rachele, take the kids to church and I packed up both our cars while they were gone.
When they got home, we told them to get in the cars and we took off.  They had no idea what was going on.  Gracie (above) was in the car with my husband and I.  She guessed where we were going within 3 minutes.
However, Kai and Ruthie, who were in our daughter’s car, couldn’t figure it out.  They kept calling us on the phone, trying to guess.  About two hours later, we stopped for gas and told them where we were going.
Kai is a little wet after Splash Mountain.
We had a fabulous time and stayed until the park closed each day.
We even spent a whole day at ‘California Adventure’ as well.
I remember going to Disneyland quite often as a child and teenager.  We had taken our two oldest girls quite often when they were young.  In fact, it was our oldest daughter’s idea to go to Disneyland with the younger kids because years ago, we had surprised her and Rachele with a trip there as well.
I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the gardens were.  I didn’t remember them looking so nice, so I took quite a lot of photos.  
There were some great examples of plants that look great in winter for our climate and a unique way to use vegetables.
I’ll share more plant and family photos once my husband emails them to me from his iPhone 🙂