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UNDER AN AVOCADO : What Can You Do in the Dense Shade of a Very Big Tree?

December 01, 1985|ROBERT SMAUS

Few trees are as difficult to garden under as are avocados. Considering the roots that sit on the surface, and the suffocating leaf litter, it is a chore to even dig beneath an avocado, much less grow anything there. Which makes the little seating area pictured here remarkable, because it is directly beneath an avocado tree--and a big one at that. But garden designers Mel Light and Renee Cinman of the Sowing Machine in West Los Angeles took advantage of the tree's shade and carved out a pleasant place to sit (except when the ripe avocados are falling). The sloping ground was cut away, and many of the roots were removed. To compensate, much of the top growth also was reduced. To let additional sun through, entire limbs were eliminated--but not too many, because avocado branches are as easily sunburned as the nose of a redhead. Little slits were left between the bricks for the lush, green baby's tears. The soil was improved, and now there is enough light to grow impatiens, azaleas and camellias.

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