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No Man’s Land

January 13, 2011


As an irredeemably nosy person, no one’s yard escapes my gimlet eye … and in Riverside the last couple of years there’s been a lot that’s made me smile: I’ve seen yards de-lawned, succulents employed and gravel spread. Not all of these yard solutions have been imaginative, interesting or even attractive, but as with my own yard, those that were the result of spirited DIY impulses seem to be the most successful. Then there’s the above. This vision recently caught my eye on a nearby street and it begged closer examination and analysis. Even passing quickly, the color is pretty arresting … but in an unnatural, senior-trailer-park-pink kinda way. Add in bark mulch in a darker tone and that pink veers queasily into yuck territory. The concrete curb-style edging around the tree annoys me, the rubberized bender board edging irritates me and the two white rocks inside the circle by the driveway make me apoplectic. Yet I don’t hate it all, somehow…

Those rocks!

… there’s a certain, shall I say, unstudied rawness about the design that appeals to me. And it’s tidy — really tidy —which I like. Of course, it is low-maintenance and low-water. In fact, the only way it could be lower in both regards is if that massive tree were removed. I’m keeping my eye on this place; I’d be interested in knowing the type of person it would appeal to. Do I know anyone like them? Do I want to? Is there someone driving around in search of senior-trailer-park-pink-minimalism that needs to see this place? I wonder … and I wonder these things, because lately we’ve been absently thinking about, do I dare I say it, moving. To a smaller, more manageable place, maybe even back to Long Beach … and thinking about that, I’ve wondered who might want to buy this place with its extensive gravel spread. I realize the Rancho is a far cry from this pepto-wasteland, but it still gives me pause.


21 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2011 4:44 am

    Some lucky person is out there right now wondering where they are ever going to find the amazing landscape they’ve only dreamed of (your home and garden).

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 13, 2011 5:09 am

      I don’t know if I could really leave it …

  2. January 13, 2011 3:20 pm

    My first selfish thought is: Don’t leave before the tour this summer !

    I can’t believe you’re contemplating leaving, but anyone who’d want to remove your gravel to plant grass in your city is in for a rude awakening when summer hits. About the Pepto-Bismol landscape, at least it’s drought tolerant. But so forbidding. It doesn’t even look walkable, in that the pink rocks look too chunky. Maybe the owner is 93 — who knows?

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 13, 2011 4:46 pm

      Well, the moving contemplation is in the very early stages … the ‘what if’ phase …

  3. food guy permalink
    January 14, 2011 1:00 am

    go! go! go!

  4. January 14, 2011 3:47 am

    Well Reuben as a former Inland Empire dweller (Redlands) I completely support a move to Long Beach . Bet it’s way more $$ than Riverside though. And the pic of the Rock-O-Rama garden -I would say it crosses the line from ‘Tidy’ to ‘Sterile.’.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 14, 2011 5:03 am

      I’ll add your name to the Go list … but it’s early-on, first we gotta get through the garden tour!

  5. January 14, 2011 5:49 am

    Those rocks are funny. Do you think a lot of thought went into their placement? someone read a cool gardening/landscaping blog, got all inspired, felt all green and native and sustainable inside, and this is what happened.

    it’s shamelessly ugly, but it has potential.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 14, 2011 6:10 am

      I do think someone furrowed their brow and came up with this design … but it’s just such a head-scratcher from beginning to end! I almost love it for that … could this be an instance of ‘outsider landscaping’?

  6. Guida Quon permalink
    January 14, 2011 3:25 pm

    The word tidy came to my mind before I “read on to see your ‘tidy’…and I like tidy….this landscape is quite intriguing…it begs for me to hear your decription of the owner…you must keep an eye out and tell us more….

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 14, 2011 4:52 pm

      I love tidy! … although in the garden nature constantly strives to undo my efforts at such …

      • Guida Quon permalink
        January 15, 2011 2:51 pm

        My garden has a jillion plants but lots of gravel too and I’m always clipping so I guess I’m on the tidy side…….
        So tell us again why is it you want to move……ever thought about living in Santa Ana?
        We love our neighborhood.

      • reubix1 permalink*
        January 15, 2011 2:57 pm

        I confess to tidiness as well, when I have the time. Which is mainly on weekends … and that is one of the reasons a move might work for us: we’re old now and it’s hard keeping up with so much land! Don’t get me wrong, I love it all. I just hate feeling like I’m neglecting it and noticing something that needs attention and not being able to get to it drives me crazy (an admittedly short trip). I love Santa Ana, and Paul used to work there. There are some great galleries there, not to mention authentic Mexican food. What neighborhood are you in and how are the prices?

  7. Annie Mesa permalink
    January 14, 2011 10:48 pm

    I live about 40 minutes from the Oregon border…such a different climate from Riverside! I enjoy your posts/photos of your garden, various treasure hunts, etc. I enjoy seeing the plants I can’t grow here without a wonderful greenhouse which I don’t possess! I LOVE your garden so the only positive I can give for you moving (I’m sure there must be several if you are contemplating it) is that it would be so much pure FUN to see what you would create in a new place. I’m 100% sure it would be (happily) 6000% different than the tidy little landscape pictured today! It has its own austere beauty, but livable? Hmmm…

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 14, 2011 11:16 pm

      Hi, Anna, thanks for reading and for your comments … believe me, we’re really in the ‘what if’ phase of the moving convo… We won’t be leaving the Rancho anytime soon!

  8. January 15, 2011 2:01 am

    Goes to show that the virtue that is Tidy is a great virtue indeed. Just a bit of tweaking here and there, and that yard would be wonderful. Three large white boulders instead of two small white rocks. A foundation planting of a dozen or so rusted steel Agave sculptures…think how nifty that would look.

    Where ever you may move your Rancho, I’m sure it will be beautiful.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 15, 2011 3:46 am

      I agree with you that this wasteland could be redeemed … it’d just take the right combination of ‘eye’ and plant material, you know the right pop of actual nature!

    • Guida Quon permalink
      January 15, 2011 2:54 pm

      Really like your enhanced version vision….

  9. AlgaRythums permalink
    October 6, 2011 11:34 pm

    Aww… I feel sorry for this sad little house. I’m sure they intended to add some plants. Is anyone living there yet?

    • reubix1 permalink*
      October 6, 2011 11:50 pm

      Someone does live there… but apparently the barren look appealed to them since it’s still firmly in place. I kinda like it now!

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