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Most of the time when you walk through a parking lot, you are often greeted by the appearance of islands scattered throughout overplanted with badly maintained shrubs.

Last month, I drove into a parking lot that was quite unusual in that it was planted with attractive succulents and not ugly shrubs.



Instead of shrubs, the medians were planted with beautiful agave specimens.


In addition to different types of agave, were gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida) succulents, which added a welcome respite to the crowded and over-pruned shrubs that usually characterize most parking lots.


In addition to the agave and other succulents were  flowering shrubs such as Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica), which was allowed to grow into its natural shape.


This parking lot was located in front of a hospital where my husband had an appointment for a routine procedure.  Our walk through the parking lot took twice as long as it would normally take with me pausing every few seconds to take pictures of the plants.


It was so refreshing to see succulents such as these  in parking lot islands instead of struggling shrubs.  They thrive in the hot, reflected heat while needing very little water.

Maybe we should rethink what we plant in parking lot islands and ditch the high-maintenance, thirsty shrubs?

My family has a tradition of gathering together at Costco (of all places) for dinner once a month. (For those of you who don’t know what Costco is – it is a lot like Sam’s Club).

You see, we all love Costco and their pizza is pretty good.  So, my mother, sisters, brother and their families all gather together with mine at Costco.  We take up about 3 – 4 tables in the eating area and eat our pizza, hot dogs or chicken rolls.  What makes it even more fun is that we find that our families intermix with each other.  I often find myself eating with one of my sisters, my niece or one of my nephews.  My kids take the opportunity to sit with their cousins, aunts and uncles.

After eating dinner, we all go shopping.  Costco has lots of things that we like, but my big weakness is the book section.  I absolutely love to read….especially fiction.  So, I always budget a little money for spending on books.

As we pulled into the Costco parking lot, I noticed a bunch of shrubs planted too close together.  Unfortunately, a very common occurrence – especially in parking lots.

 
The landscapers prune these Texas sage shrubs into ‘cupcake’ shapes’ to keep them from growing into each other.
You would have a hard time telling that these are actually flowering shrubs, wouldn’t you?
In a nearby parking lot island, there were other crowded shrubs….
These Feathery Cassia (Senna artemisoides) have been planted very closely together and the landscapers are doing their best to keep them pruned so that they don’t touch each other.
The problem is, is that it is ugly and isn’t all that healthy for the shrubs.
So, here is my solution….
How about letting the shrubs grow together and form an informal, flowering hedge?
That would mean less maintenance and more attractive shrubs.
**If you have a similar problem, try letting your shrubs grow together.  You’ll appreciate the lower maintenance and your shrubs will actually flower.
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Last night, I made 6 dozen Snickerdoodles using one of my favorite recipes.  I got the recipe for my wedding shower almost 26 years ago.  They are very easy to make and taste delicious.
I’m going to a cookie exchange party today and I can’t wait to see what types of cookies I come home with.  If I can keep my husband and kids from eating the Snickerdoodles first 😉
Here is my Snickerdoodle recipe:
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream together the butter, sugar and eggs.
Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and mix well.
Roll the cookie dough into small balls, about 3/4″ and then dip into cinnamon sugar.  
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8- 10 minutes.
Makes 5 – 6 dozen.
I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do 🙂