Are you ready for your exhale? I think even Darwin needs one.

I am. Ready for my weekend exhale, that is. I had a very full day today following a very full week. Today was the long anticipated trip to the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. Since the La Brea site is home to over a million ice age fossils from 650 species, I absorbed a fair amount of information today…and took a few photos.

For those who enjoy paleontology and imagining what Los Angeles was like 44,000 years ago, I’ll have more photos next week.

As much as I love the tar pits and all the accompanying history and prehistory, bubbling goo isn’t all that beautiful. And going into the weekend, I’d like a few photos that bring to mind a breathe lighter moment.

I admired the gorgeous orange flower clusters on a tree I couldn’t identify. I pass the neighborhood trees every day, but I’d never before seen them with such a bright flame of color.

Silky Oaks at Country Club

I was on a quest to identify the tree. I even flagged down a groundsman on the Country Club property, but he couldn’t help me.

Silky Oaks 2

My mom turned out to be the best detective! What a good idea–call the arborists responsible for tree maintenance. And so she did.

Grevillea robusta

Grevillea robusta, or silky oak, is a beautiful tree, especially in spring bloom. Also called Australian Silver Oak, it is a native of eastern coastal Australia.

I think it’s beautiful. But apparently, not everyone is quite as fond. I found a review on one of my favorite gardening sites, Dave’s Garden. 

I’ll leave you with a little humor coming from someone less pleased with the aesthetic qualities of the silky oak.

“Hi, I live north of San Francisco , and I have to tell you this is a messy, ugly tree. I just had it cut down today! it was 45′ tall and just crapped all over my deck, and my neighbors deck, all year round. It drops leaves, it drops flowers, it drops seeds. And it almost never looses [sic] all its seeds, so, The tree looks so shoddy. I have lived at my house for 6 years and I wanted to cut it down after the first year. I truly despised this tree. And now its gone, good riddens [sic]. Please, think twice if you plan to add this tree to your property. Take a look at this tree before you buy. Or, if you buy this tree, buy a rake, you will need it.”

Australian Oak

And here I thought it was a really beautiful tree.

Have a wonderful weekend…with a good long exhale. Apparently Darwin needs one, too. I caught him hiding under the bushes this week.

Darwin in hiding

He was so camouflaged I almost couldn’t find him. We’ll spend some time with him this weekend, and he’ll be good as new! That’s what a weekend can do for you…so enjoy!

31 thoughts on “Are you ready for your exhale? I think even Darwin needs one.

  1. I might have know you read Dave’s Garden. So do I, Debra. There are usually some curmudgeonly comments, but, the one you quote is the crankiest of all. Very funny. We have messy trees here, especially the sycamore, which are shedding leaves right now, but, we would never cut them down – too much respect for all their years and all the shade they provide, not to mention the birds and raccoons. I’m with you. Beautiful tree.

    Tar pit – not so beautiful, but, still so interesting. Enjoy the weekend.

    • Even our beautiful oak tree is really messy, Penny. But you gave me a laugh about the sycamore. There is a very large sycamore next door, and we swear that every leaf that drops ends up in our yard. My poor husband gets so tired of it. After every windstorm our yard is covered in sycamore leaves, and it isn’t our tree! But when they cut it back a couple of years ago, and I though they’d taken too much, I was so sorry! :-)

      • You should have seen our yard, our drive, the garden beds today. Leaves everywhere from the sycamores. Tom used the blower to get them off of the drive, so, they ended up in the beds where the hostas are in full glory. We are trying to get the gardens in shape as 30 ladies from the garden club are coming to lunch on Thursday. Instead of seeing the garden, they will be thinking its fall. How is the bark on that neighborly sycamore?

      • I was looking at the sycamore bark today, Penny. It is looking healthy and seems to have only a light peeling going on. Would that even be how you describe it? The color is a light gray and white. Does that answer your question? I don’t know that much about the trees, except they are very full right now and shade the neighbor’s yard…and then in the fall, all those leaves will be in our yard. LOL!

  2. Oh dear! Yes, we have these trees in Oz and I have heard they were introduced to California. Why? Yes, they’re messy and yes, they drop all year round – there’s no reprieve. We had a few overhanging our deck long ago and it was a twice-daily ritual to clean up the mess. Guests used to arrive and think we never swept our deck – it never looked clean. And the thing here is that because they’re native you’re not allowed to trim them let alone cut them down! xx

    • How interesting that such a very beautiful tree is such a nuisance, Charlie! We have a lot of Australian natives and I actually have been wanting to better understand why so many have been brought to California. We had an unusually strong windstorm two years ago, and thousands of trees were lost…many of them native Australians. At the time they mentioned that our water table is so shallow that the trees don’t have strong root systems. I’d love to research WHY they were brought here in the first place. They’re beautiful…that’s probably the reason. :-) I do hope you are getting stronger every day, and healing well! What a time you’ve had, my friend!

  3. The Aussie Silver Oak… grew up with them in Rhodesia and as a kid sucked honey nectar from the flowers.. and now here in South Africa, again all over and , yes, a darn nuisance.. a messy tree, that drops even the nectar in a sticky mess if you park a car below them… but I wonder if cutting them down is the right thing to do… native to Aussie land, but spread all over the world, apart from the mess are they invasive.? No, not that I’m aware of.. but boy have I got some good photos of birds feeding on their nectar… The flowers and fruit contain toxic hydrogen cyanide. and Tridecylresorcinol in the silver oak is responsible for contact dermatitis. . well this is what the experts say.. as I said we as kids used to suck on the flower sap… and we’re still around 50 years later… I hate to cut down trees unless it is beyond saving …

    • I’ll tell you, Rob, when I saw these trees this year they were just breathtaking. I know they’ve been in this particular golf course for a long time, and yet I’m quite sure this is the first year they’ve been this beautiful. They are only on the perimeter of the grounds, and not near parking or any other surface that would be damaged by sap. I would love to know if any particular, and maybe unexpected birds were attracted to the nectar. The tree is not common around here that I can tell. And I never like to see a tree taken out because it is too much work. I think that’s just a shame. The person commenting on the website made me laugh, however, because it sounded to me like he or she thought the tree had almost conspired to both him! Between toxicity and contact dermatitis there is a lot to beware of in this beautiful tree, but I think I’d be willing to put up with it! :-)

      • As I said I used to suck the nectar from the flowers and never had a problem.. although the wife says sometimes she thinks my Mom dropped me on my head as a child…LOL… the birds that visit this tree are none that is specific, but it seems to attract both seed and nectar eaters… I think it is quite a beautiful tree when in flower… that just seems to out weigh the mess it makes…

  4. Certain trees are just not meant for gardens, but in the right surroundings can be quite stunning. We find larch a nuisance in winter as the dropped needles are everywhere. But I wouldn’t be without its fresh spring green! Cutting down an oak does seem like a crime though – hope the wood was put to good use!

    • I feel the same way about a very large oak in our backyard, Cathy. At certain times of year it drops so many acorns it’s almost hard to sit outdoors. And the droppings get into the pond and create havoc, as well as occasional sap. We do a fair amount of grumbling while we work to maintain it, but I adore it! The shade in the summer is spectacular, and I would be heartbroken if we lost it. But the man or woman who wrote the negative “review” of the silky oak really made me laugh. There was no redeeming qualities in that tree whatsoever! LOL!

  5. Bubbling goo….it is fascinating to me to think of the world so very long ago and what was ‘here’. I have a tree that drops everything, all year long, upon the house, yard, porch, car…..etc…. Wouldn’t think of cutting it down. But I can see why it is frustrating!

    • I just had to share the comment from the man or woman so irate over the silky oak. I have never particularly thought of a tree as being so utterly annoying. I, too, get weary of raking leaves, pruning and overall maintenance, but I do love the trees. People can be so funny. Perhaps this person would do better with some nice cement decking and a potted plant or two! :-)

    • I really got a kick out of the person complaining so vehemently about the “worthlessness” of the silky oak. I can’t imagine finding absolutely nothing good about it, but people are funny. I’ve watched people completely denude their landscaping just to avoid work, and I can’t imagine that either.It does take all kinds, doesn’t it! :-)

  6. Oh, Debra, I just have to laugh. While I was reading your post, my parrot, Lucy, was wheezing somewhat. She was laying an egg. She’ll usually lay another in 2 days, something she does every 8 or so weeks from Spring to Fall every year. When I got to the part of your post where Darwin needs a good long exhale, I hear the familiar thunk of Lucy’s latest egg hitting the cage bottom. I guess she can join Darwin in that exhale now. :)
    Have a great weekend!

    • That’s so funny about Lucy, John! I know the egg laying cycle, at least as related to cockatiels. Our cockatiel passed away in February, after a nice, long life. You really do get accustomed to the habits and sounds during the egg laying time. I presume a parrot’s eggs are somewhat larger than cockatiel, too. We could count on three eggs in about three days, and it was always a relief to all of us when that little episode was over! So we hope Lucy had a very good weekend–much more comfortable. And Darwin seemed to enjoy his weekend, too. :-)

  7. Your perspective on trees can certainly change when they are in your yard (or your neighbor’s) and you have to deal with all the shedding. I love trees, but I wish my weeping birch would learn to hang on to her branches, and I wish my mountain ash would drop all her berries once they were too dried out for the birds. Am I asking too much?

    • Tree maintenance and upkeep ca be a bit of a burden, I agree, Terri. We have our own to maintain, and as it turns out, we are the only ones to maintain the neighbor’s trees, also. It annoys me greatly–but I’m annoyed with the neighbors, not the trees. We have an ordinance that doesn’t even allow us to take out a tree without some level of “special dispensation.” Sounds to me like you have some lovely trees. I can relate to getting weary that their “timetables” don’t cooperate. :-)

  8. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.. maybe if he’d kept that tree maintained it wouldn’t have looked so ratty:D I thought it was pretty.. but do get annoyed at dripping trees on my car, lol. Give Darwin a hug for me.. he’ll love exhaling with you this weekend! xx

    • It’s not hard to understand how someone may not appreciate a tree, but the poor man or woman who wrote into Dave’s Garden to give a review didn’t find anything redeeming about this beautiful tree. I found the attitude really funny. We have trees that give us a few extra responsibilities, too. Our oak costs us a small fortune every year in pruning, but I can’t imagine what we’d feel if we lost it. Homes and gardens–a lot of work and responsibility, I’m sure you agree. :-) We had a lovely weekend, and I can’t believe it’s time to get back to work already. LOL! Hope you had a lovely weekend, too, Smidge. :-)

  9. Nothing like having an omniscient mother, is there? I have never heard about the silky oak, but now I will be looking for it, at least when I go to Australia (and I hope one day to do…). We are heading towards another weekend, and I wish you a relaxing and wonderful one.

    • I am away from home at the moment, Otto. We are up the coast a bit, and just two hundred miles from home still gives me a chance to relax. I’m hoping to have some time by myself today to wander with my camera a bit! I hope you enjoy your weekend, too.

  10. Pingback: Easing into the rest of the week with a few of my favorite things | breathelighter

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