Walking Tour: Seuss-izoic?
Walking to Union Station from work each day, I’ve come up with a few shortcuts that I resort to depending on how late I am. One of these shortcuts is past the Japanese American National Museum off First Street in Little Tokyo, through the courtyard of MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary. I love this shortcut for two reasons: it’s a super fast way to the train when I’m running really late in the evening, and, because there’re some fantastic tree aloes in front of the Geffen that always stop me in my tracks (if only for minute or two). Look at the pictures above and below and you can see why: thick, juicy aloe ‘arms’ reach out to you, looking like something that dotted the dinosaur’s landscape or a tree from a forest Dr. Seuss would’ve drawn for the Lorax.
These plants are so large and tall they’re almost scary … maybe even 8-feet! Flower stalks jut out from a couple of them and I have to resist the urge to pull one off as a trophy. A few months back we had three such plants stolen from off our property — pulled right out of the ground — and it was heartbreaking. We’d had them for a while and one of them was close to 5-feet tall when it was yanked. So, while I’d like to break off a bit for myself I could never bring myself to actually do it.
Through the years I’ve watched these tree aloes, and the agave attenuatas they share a planter with, become ever larger and I’ve always wished them well. It pleases me greatly to see them thriving. I’m always amazed when I see other people in the courtyard of the Geffen and they don’t even look twice at these gorgeous plants. The day I took these pictures I missed my train. I had to try to capture the amazing colors and forms these plants took on in the late afternoon sunlight. The long, tapered fleshy blue/green arms were too beautiful to pass. It was worth getting home later, though, as the pictures really capture the character of these aloes. I love painting succulents but I’m not sure I could ever capture the true presence these plants have when you’re standing before them.
This tree aloe is back at the Rancho and it’s a fave we’d had for a long time, at least 5 years at this point. It’s much smaller than the amazing Geffen specimens but it, too, has a similar presence peculiar to tree succulents. Looking both primordial and Sneetch-worthy, I’m glad this one was inside the fence the day the tree aloe thieves struck!