Just Above Sunset
July 11, 2004 - Götterdämmerung, Hollywood Style

Home | Question Time | Something Is Up | Connecting Dots | Stay Away | Overload | Our Man in Paris | WLJ Weekly | Book Wrangler | Cobras | The Edge of the Pacific | The Surreal Beach | On Location | Botanicals | Quotes

Note: These are digital photographs I snapped using a Sony Mavica digital still camera (MVC-FD-88) with built-in digital zoom (telephoto).  Feel free to use them as you will.  If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.  Note: These are thumbnail previews.  To see a full-size high-resolution version of a particular photograph click on the "thumbnail" image.  You will see the full image in a separate window.


New on Hollywood Boulevard, but obviously not open Sunday mornings – and even the most prudish has to admire the building’s detailing….

Click here for full image...

Click here for full image...

Click here for full image...

Are you a singer?  Is your voice giving out from running up and down and all around the Queen of the Night aria from The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) too many times?  These folks will fix you up.

Click here for large image....

And after that, around the corner, some ethnic ice cream to soothe things?  The place looks a bit run-down, but I’m sure….

Click here for full image...



The end of time, the twilight of life as we know it – Götterdämmerung, Hollywood Style…


Palms in Twilight

These improbable immigrants came to define the city. Alas, their days here may be numbered.

Emily Green, Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2004


In most cities, buildings make the skyline.  Paris has a tower, London a clock, New York an island-long roof-scape.  Only Los Angeles signed the sky with trees.  Tens of thousands of palms tower over the city like flagpoles, their arching trunks and rustling fronds marking the progression of the California dream.

It takes a circling eagle to do a better job catching the last rays of a Western sunset.  The crowns of the palms of Los Angeles are still bathed with gold a good half-hour after the streets below are dark.  At dusk, no tree, no structure, no animal can match their blithe grace.

Yet as boomtown comes of age, these skydusters are nearing the ends of their natural lives.  Few of the urban foresters responsible for their care think that 100 years hence, our skyline will have the same fluttering brio.

Why?  Palm buyers for Vegas casinos have driven the market for young specimen trees beyond the reach of the municipal purses.  L.A. needs more broad-canopied shade trees to fight a resurgence of air pollution.  Trimmers prefer shorter trees.  Falling fronds.  Disease.

… We may be living in the twilight of the palmiest days of Los Angeles …


So before they are all gone….


[ Thumbnails from Sunday morning – click on an image to enlarge ]

Previously published here – my neighborhood.

Click here for full image...

Click here for full image...


For those who get a kick from the details of plant taxonomy…



There are more than 3,000 known species of palm in the world, but most of them are tropical.


Here is a selection that can thrive in our Mediterranean climate.


Only palm native to Europe. Unlike flagpole American palms, is multi-trunked, low growing and stays low, forming an attractive thicket. The upshot: It is ideal for a residential lot. Dusky green compatible with native plant palette. Once common in wild around the Mediterranean, but were collected by landowners and moved into villas. Needs water until established, then drought tolerant.


Need a plant for a Spanish bungalow that won't outgrow the house? Landscaper Nancy Goslee Power recommends these South American palms — Butia capitata or Butia paraguayensis — with attractive thatched trunk, gray-green foliage, edible fruit. Slow growing, drought tolerant once established. From 6 feet to 20 feet. For greener foliage, try the frilly Australian foxtail palm, Wodyetia bifurcata.


The tall and taller street palms are Mexican and California fan palms, Washingtonia robusta and Washingtonia filifera, respectively. For a home garden, a smaller alternative is the Guadalupe palm (Brahea edulis), with a mature height of 30 feet. Water until established, then drought tolerant. Best stands around town in Chavez Ravine, Rosedale Cemetery, the Arboretum and farm lanes of old Pasadena.


Aristocrats of not just palms, but all plants. Phoenix dactyliferas are the fruit trees of the Bible, P. canariensis the sentinels of our broadways and stand watch on the bluffs of Santa Monica, P. reclinatas the spiny bouquets good for large planters. Fruit doesn't ripen without desert heat, but parrots like it. Fast growing, drought tolerant once established. Dactyliferas and canariensis to 80 feet, reclinatas to 30 feet.


Baja native with elegant blue-gray leaves, "can take some really quite serious cold," Power says. Drought and wind tolerant, adds the Palm Society. Slightly fierce leaf bases, lavish white flowers in spring startling against blue leaves. Perfect plant for mixing with California natives. Handsome in containers, mature height 35 feet, slow grower. Water until established. See mature ones in Balboa Park in San Diego.


Australian import; can be artfully mixed with Kentia palms (Howea forsteriana). Both have bright green, tropical good looks, feathery or pinnate leaves, medium water needs. Fast grower to 60 feet. Planted at the Huntington gardens with agapanthus. Smooth green beneath leaves; "crown-shaft" indicates the palm sheds dead foliage. The flowers form a lush summer necklace.


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....