Do you ever encounter such things?

bahia(SF Bay Area)May 2, 2010

While installing the finishing touches on a garden here in town for an ongoing client, I was treated to a herd of 5 llamas being taken out for their Saturday walk. They were big enough to look a bit like camels at first, and it brought a smile to my face as they ambled by. Not only were they llamas, but they were rescue llamas after asking the owner about them. A few minutes later one of them had escaped/been spooked by a dog, and came racing back down the street trailing its leash. It would never have occurred to me that perhaps the new landscaping would need to be llama resistant as well as deer resistant!

The other somewhat peculiar thing that happened was the conversation with the neighbor's 7 year old son, who told me he was a scientist, and working on a time portal invention, and had already assembled a team of class mates to work out the details. Does this strike anyone as a bit precocious for 7 year old? He was also most interested in watching the technical aspects of hooking up the drip irrigation system, and had a million questions/running commentary going.

From all this, anyone care to take a stab at where this garden might be? A few more clues; the garden contains a mostly south of the equator planting scheme, with lots of succulents such as Aloe maculata, A. castanea, Aeonium canariense subplanum, Sedum palmeri, Cotyledon orbiculatum, Crassula multicava, bromeliads such as Puya berteroniana, Dyckias, Aechmea caudata, Aechmea recurvata, Aechmea 'Burgundy', Leucospermum cordifolium, Asparagus retrofractus, Astelia nivicola, Deschampsia flexuosa and Uncinia uncinata, a Tabebuia impetiginosa and Feijoa sellowiana to accompany the Coast Live Oaks, and for flowering accents, some Streptosolen jamesonii, Limonium perezii, Selago serrata, Echium wildprettii and E. gentianoides, Aristea major and A. inaequalis, Pattersonia drummondii.

I don't think I've ever worked in a neighborhood with so much interest from the neighbors as it was being installed, and such knowledgeable folks who asked specific questions about plants, and almost all would slow down as they drove by and give a thumbs up on the new garden.

So I would have to sum up and say that this was amongst the more memorable work installations I have done, and constantly full of surprises...

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David, I find almost anything connected with llamas funny ever since one spat at my mother in Whipsnade zoo and the only time I ever saw her phased by anything. A local farmer is out to try anything, he did goats (milk yoghurt etc) and has moved on to llama's. What makes this funny is that he did not change the signage and people have a double take when they see a sign advertising goat milk and a bunch of llama's standing around, you say they may look like camels or perhaps giant goats? I had horses run through at one time and an exciting episode with miniature bulldogs swimming in wet concrete so yes sh*t happens. As for your little quiz I dunno, a Mexican doctors house?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 6:25PM
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Berkley perhaps?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 11:15PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Somewhere where a lot of kids are home-schooled!


    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 10:29AM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Sounds like a fun day. Llamas are amusing, but I prefer Vicuna. They are prettier. And softer! Local guy has a herd of Vicuna in a couple of his pastures.

Seven year-old boys are a hoot...he sounds almost like one of my nephews in Palo Alto. But I don't think there's room for a llama herd in Palo!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 1:10PM
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No llamas, but recently had a couple of guinea pigs (a dwarf breed) escape from a neighbor's farm and show up in our yard. They were probably about 2' tall, weighed about 80 pounds each, and were strong slippery little devils who were too smart to be enticed by bits of apple into cat carriers for transport back home. Ended up taking about 10 people and 3 hours to round them up. At one point, the last pig to be captured grabbed a knife (by the handle) that I had left on a stump, probably because it smelled like apple, and ran around with it in his mouth. Someone yelled out "Watch out, the pig's got a knife!" You can't make this stuff up.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 1:56PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

I can imagine the llamas in Petaluma, but the little boy sounds like he's from Palo Alto. Glad to hear you are working on such a lovely and unusual garden.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 3:43PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

LOL spazzycat! 80lb. guinea pigs - and that's a dwarf?! (Maybe pot-bellied pigs..?)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 7:51PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes, clearly swine rather than rodents.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 11:17PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Mind you, the image of a knife-wielding 80lb. guinea pig did add a lot to the Alice-in-Wonderland aspect of the tale! :-)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 8:54AM
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Love the story! As for the 7 year old, I have to wonder if he's been talking to my own 8 year old! For a couple of years, he's been talking about the droidworks he wants in our backyard when he turns 10, so he can build and sell droids. Last year, he decided he also wants to get some fossilized dinosaur dna so he can revive a microceratops. (Because it is a herbivore and small, lol)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 3:26PM
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Somewhere other than the US of A.
I base that on the interest and respect given your work.

Besides you've been hinting about South American travel? I think you mentioned other places, as well? Perhaps you made it back to the Middle East ... but do they do Llamas?

As for 7 year olds, they wow me often. Creativity and possibility are so precious, and so often nipped in the proverbial bud.

Good to hear the wonder and joy in your own words.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:31AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Rescue llamas could only be in California. : ) The plants sound very Santa Barbara. Do you ever work that far south?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:57PM
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You didn't mention all the trees leaning at 45 degree angles, so it can't be Vacaville where I would otherwise expect the arid plants.

So I'm guessing Yolo County.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 1:17PM
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O.K David, we have sympathized with your Llama event and empathized with your 7 year old encounter we have guessed at your gardens location so it is time to open the envelope.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 5:21PM
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I've seen a couple of horses on the loose, a cow & couple of weeks ago choppers went around & round for a couple of hours! Found out on nightly news that we had a huge cock fighting business just a few blocks away with 2000 chickens & some had sharp barbs of metal on their legs to harm their opponents. The opponents that day were animal services & police & some of them ended up going to the hospital. All of ones they caught were killed,very aggressive, weren't good for eating or anything as they were so pumped with steroids unsafe. Several got away but while I've seen feathers I haven't seen any chickens. I would have thought the smell would have driven the neighbors crazy. We still have horse property around & 1 family has had a giraffe for years.My neighbor clued me in that I have 2 huge raccoons that jumped from my block wall unto awning & from there made it to the roof, must have smelled the oranges in back yard. I haven't seen any evidence of them but know old neighbors used to feed some.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 1:46AM
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One day, a family walked past my house, giving a walk to an unleashed otter; half a year later, an ad at the local grocery store - otter gone missing. So much for exotic animals.. but usually, I have fun watching neighbors: secretively cutting down big trees at night (bit by bit, starting from top), trying to fix an old Zhiguli, painting it white, then light yellow, then deep yellow, and then selling it; then buying another car to fix; getting stuck in the mud with a lorry, bringing a tractor to pull it out bringing a crane to pull out both the tractor and the lorry. Their windows have black glasses, so I can only fantasize what they do inside.. cook amphetamine? make soap from human fat? enrich uranium? There's no end to the fun.
Bahia, that 7-year-old wouldn't surprise me. Children pretend to be childish sometimes, doesn't have to mean they really are.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 4:36AM
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David- I'm worried about you. Where are you? Hope it's somewhere so fun that it's just kept you too occupied to post ...

I went looking for this thread ... and it's been more than a month. Not sure I've read any posts from you in the meantime.

Hope you come back soon. We need to know where that boy and those llamas live.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 11:14PM
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