Monday, May 31, 2010

Viva Vitex

These shrubby trees are one of my favorites when their white or purple blossom sprays kick off the beginning of summer. They are heavily planted along I-35 due to their sturdy constitutions. Up close vitex foliage looks like marijuana, a pentagram of pointed leaves which have a spicy camphor/lavender smell when crushed. Also called chasteberry; due to its leaves once being thought to have anti-aphrodisiac properties. This specimen along the Arroyo Seco greenbelt is stunning; my photo does not do it justice. Large pots of vitex are standing out front at Shoal Creek Nursery—a sure sign that customers are asking for “that purple thing that's blooming right now.”

Friday, May 28, 2010

Armadillo in the Grass

Just the other day I noticed this on my walk. It’s quite remarkable, a rosemary bush clipped into a pretty damn perfect armadillo. I was surprised that I never seen this before since it’s on one of my regular walking routes. Thanks to Google’s street view cam I found that the topiary is in fact fairly recent. I hope to one day encounter the artist who created this tribute to our city's talismanic critter and pay my respects. Meanwhile, bravo!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Scent Notes from a Morning Walk

Mimosa: watermelon agua fresca, peachy base
Honeysuckle: warm and syrupy, with rosy top notes
Desert Willow: complex, both sweet and astringent, lime and roses, with a pungent pinto bean base
Rosemary: patchouli with a lemon finish
New wood fence: sweet and spicy, plus a splash of bourbon