Saturday, February 2, 2008

State Street Islands

State Street Islands
Originally uploaded by gardenwiseguy

I designed this median about 18 years ago. It comprised 12 islands along 6 blocks of Santa Barbara's main street. Prior to this project, these were filled with turf and were hand mowed on a regular basis. Talk about unsustainable! A local organization called Santa Barbara Beautiful funded the rehab and this is what it looked like a year later.

Since that time the landscaping has severely declined and I find the project to be an embarassment; especially given its prominent location. It's filled with weeds, most of the important plants have died out without being replaced, and no one seems to care in my own Parks and Recreation Department. Short-sighted and short-funded. There don't seem to be any rabid landscape preservationists in our midst. No bitching / no moaning / no attention.

The plants in the foreground are Senecio mandraliscae (gray foliage) and Aloe striata. The background is Agave 'Nova' and Lantana montevidensis.


trey said...

It’s hard to justify allowing something this easy to take care of falling into a state of disrepair. My father was the director of parks and recreation for the City of San Carlos, just south of San Francisco. He would have to deal with the department being on the bottom of the pecking order through his whole career. Besides it seems horticulture is not always on the top of the skills at many city and county park departments. Often the maintenance crew will be more of a mow and blow operation. I am surprised that no one has spoken up. At least you are, and maybe by bringing this to others attention something might happen down the road. We love Santa Barbara.

No Rain said...

It was certainly beautiful when the photo was taken!
Most of our medians are zeriscaped, but then the maintenance crew regularly trims the plants into unnatural shapes, while not even bothering to take off the wires used for staking years before. The wires then choke the tree, weakening it. When it falls, they come in, remove it and replace it. Sometimes I think it's job security.

kate said...

I just wanted to say what a tragedy it is that your plantings weren't maintained. The median looks so attractive in this photograph - short-sighted is right! It's true that no bitching = no attention. I would have thought with all the tourists that go to Santa Barbara that the city would be better about maintaining public areas like this.

Happy Green Thumb Sunday!

Deviant Deziner said...

I don't get it.
Just a couple of years ago the town of Santa Barbara spent a fortune redoing the touristy end of State Street with brand new hardscaping and planting ( quite nice too )
So why would they let the upper entrance median strips go to hell ?
Bummer .

In my cash strapped town the main entry median strips are planted and maintained by the local garden club.
The plantings are one of this and one of that but they are tended with love and pride, which brings a smile to my face when I see a bright orange pelagonium blooming next to a pink begonia.
It's rag tag planting but well tended and it lends a certain kind of down home feel to the town as you enter it.
With such a wonderful community of gardeners that Santa Barbara has, it's too bad that they can't come together and spiff the entry to their town up.

EdenMaker said...

I hate when that happens! I'd be bothered by the neglect, but you know how much it happens in our business. We give it our all, our vision, the work gets done, but sometime down the line...somebody stops caring. Too bad.
I love your planting should not have taken too much effort to keep up, you selected an easy care palette.
What is it going to take to fix?Do you need the Garden Police to bust these people, or what?

karen said...

Your median is lovely. It's a shame that Santa Barbara doesn't have the sense to maintain it. However, they do know enough to have a knowledgeable designer design it in the first place! Savannah hired a nitwit to design an 8-foot wide median and she filled it with pampas and oleander. A year later, these were blocking traffic on both sides of the road!

Katarina i Kullavik said...

Such pretty plants! I visited Santa Barbara this fall for the first time (hopefully not the last). I would have loved to see those plantations of yours...
However, I found SB to be one of the most beautiful cities I've seen. Lovely plants everywhere and nice buildings. (I'm happy to have found your blog - it's nice to read news from over there where my son is studying at the moment.)
Cheers! /Katarina (Sweden)

Salome's Mom said...

I am glad I came across your blog. It is truly a joy. I am trying to start a Japanese garden in my sand and coral back yard in Key Largo Florida. I found your blog through Ewa's. I am going to add you to my favorite's list.


starnitesky said...

What a shame this was not maintained, it was beautiful. As you say short-sited.

Thank you for visiting my blog

Correy said...

One of the better strips I have seen.

It really does say a lot about a town or city when they put effort into these strips.

nikkipolani said...

A shame, really. The plantings in this image are nothing short of gorgeous.