Story byĀ CHERYL WALKERĀ PhotographyĀ DAN RIOS
Some people collect coins, others collect stamps, Bryan Morse collects plants. The Vista resident has landscaped his 1.3 acres with more than 1,000 different types of plants, trees, flowers and shrubs. “I like to collect various types of plants, mostly tropicals,€¯ Morse said. “I try find rare and different things and use them in different combinations.€¯
Morse, a professional landscape designer, bought the property more than eight years ago with the intention of fixing it up in order to sell it. “Once I started developing the property, I fell in love with it,” €¯ he said. “I figure whatever kind of plant you have, you can find someplace in the yard it can be used.”€¯
For instance, Morse has fixed up the front garden area with drought-resistant landscaping. “Some of these things were here when I moved in like the Walnut tree,”€¯ said Morse. “It creates a nice backdrop for the cactus plants. I like plants that blossom, so I pick things that bloom at different times of the year so there will always be something blooming.€¯ The cactus plants take care of the summer months. In the winter he has the Coral tree (Erythrina syksii) near the front of his house.Around Dec. 1 the leaves fall off and there are large crimson blooms. It gives a great Christmas display.”€¯
One of Morse”s favorites is the Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow plant (Brunfelsia floribunda). The first day, the blossom is a dark purple. It then turns to a lighter shade and by the third day it is completely white.
Morse likes a lot of color in his yard so along his fence he’s used Bougainvillea, which also allows for more privacy. But along with the importance of color is smell. Rose, Lime and Peppermint Geraniums can be found nearby.
Traveling has also influenced Morse’s landscape design. “I fell in love with Costa Rica, so I’m starting to grow my jungle floor. I have some Australian tree ferns, a Rhapis palm -which grows slowly- a Bamboo palm and some Heliconias. The Philodendrons climb up trees. In Costa Rica you see them covering the hills.”
One of Morses’ most prized species is his 50-foot rubber tree. “This is probably the biggest rubber tree in the county,” he said. “I love it, but it’s very messy because it has these little berries that fall off. I would strongly recommend against planting one. An important aspect of landscaping, says Morse, is the use of water. He has a running waterfall in his patio area, as well as one in his secluded Jacuzzi. I think water’s a very important feature in a yard,” he said. “It has a cooling and soothing effect.”
The newest addition to Morse’s yard is his Mexican-style beach hut called a ‘Palapaā€’ in Mexico. Nearby, he dug a large four-foot deep hole for a pond, planning to cover it with a vinyl liner before filling it with water.
It’s not really as deep as I’d like it,”€¯ he said. “But when I heard the rains (in March) were coming, I went and picked up the Liner because I couldn’t wait for it to be shipped down. It was something I did in a very big hurry because I wanted to catch all the water from the upper lot and fill it with the drainage from my neighbor.” The pond is still in the beginning stages, so the water is still somewhat murky. Morse is adding water hyacinth, along with a combination of other plants, fish and snails in order to establish a balanced eco-system.
Because of the water shortage, Morse is trying to use less water by expanding his drip irrigation, planting more drought-resistant plants and watering only every third day. “I’d like to put in a well, he said. “There’s too much here to let die. I also own some property in Valley Center with a year-round stream, so if worse comes to worst, I’ll truck the water in from there.”
Having a nicely landscaped yard is an asset to Morse’s business, Expanding Horizons. When customers aren’t sure what they want, he invites them to his place for ideas. “Many times people fall in love with it and want it just this way,€¯ he said. “It has a natural look, but it still takes a tremendous amount of work. A yard is an evolving thing. Every time I go to the nursery I buy a plant. Sometimes when I buy the plant it takes me a year to find just the right spot for it.”
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