Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Part 1- Sherman Library and Gardens Private Gardens Tour

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."
Philippians 4:8

Anyone who holds the verse above dear needs to view this lovely woman's blog  Nikkipolani.  

The Avengers

When my hubby heard the Private Gardens Tour to benefit the Sherman Library and Gardens Volunteer Association ticketed event advised no photography on site allowed, he was more than pleased to be enticed by church friends to a private screening of The Avengers  instead  Leaving me a ticket to offer Miss Nikki. 

We began the day with lovely light refreshments including skewered fruit, walnut chicken salad on a first rate bun and melt- in- the- mouth cookies under the beguiling lath at the epicenter of the event- The Sherman.

Buffered by stuccoed walls from the noise of Pacific Coast Highway, this may be the cleanest 2.2 acres of heaven on this earth.  Even the bathroom floors are so clean you could eat off them. For a different reason than you can eat off my kitchen floor after I am finished cooking):-

If you have someone in your life who thinks succulents are boring, a stroll through their dedicated xeriscape is a study in technicolor and textural possibilities. Lower maintenance does not equate with  lower artistic value.

I do believe the continuing education in my field to be the BEST of any profession.

 Garden gates are notoriously harsh environments for door decor. A succulent wreath glows where  most plants will frail-out.

 A palm tree planted up with impatiens fascinates. A cross between a totem and the wall-pocket planter- in dry Diamond Bar- this could never happen. But if it could - perhaps all those horrid unkept palm trees might bring out the artistic nature of the neighborhood tree trimmers.

The bronze turtles in the pond moved. Making an illusion even grander through their proof of life. 

Nikkipolani blogged about our adventure in touring the private gardens in Newport and Corona del Mar as a Grand Day Out . Take a peak- you will thank me for sending you over to her site. 

This garden, with roses spilling over the white picket fence, foxglove pointing up from geraniums planted to the curb, all but shouted for me to pull over and snap its portrait.  

When I look at this garden- I see a family unafraid to show their love. What do you see?   

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Garden Fashion~ Black ~Loosening the Garden Girdle

"It seemed to my friend that the creation of a landscape-garden offered to the proper muse the most magnificent of opportunities. Here indeed was the fairest field for the display of the imagination, in the endless combining of forms of novel beauty."
~ Edgar Allen Poe, 
"The Landscape Garden",  1850 

The garden arch  served as my mother's headboard while residing in assisted living
In deciding what color to paint the metalwork in the garden, I'm going with Lorene Edwards Forkner's advice at the last So Cal Hort meeting. The new editor of Pacific Horticulture and author of many books, including Handmade Garden Projects-Step-StepStep-by-Step Instructions for Creative Garden Features, Containers, Lighting and More ; black should be used more often in the garden. 

The German cabbage formed rose was almost tossed for non-performance. 
It took most of Saturday to preen away the plants from the beginning to rust arch and prepare it for a renewing coat consisting of 4 cans of glossy heat- resistant Ace spray paint. 

Sunday, I switched to prepping and painting the uprights of an iron gazebo. Earlier this year it sailed into a swimming pool during the Pasadena windstorms that took whole neighborhoods from the electric era back to bygone days for a week.  Salvaged from where it sunk, there is some work to be done ahead- but before this summer is a memory, the structurally sound scroll work panels shall be joined with timber and solidly anchored as a custom arbor in our sadly neglected vegetable path. 

Matilija Poppy (Romneya Coulteri) 
Way back in our wilds, you can see I've finally had success in getting the Matilija poppy hedge to establish. To give you a sense of the size of each bloom- think grade A extra-large fried ostrich egg. 

The shrubby poppy is my legacy to where I live. For long after I am gone, even if the sprinklers are ripped away- the happy faced bloom will pop up about the canyon.  

Roses wave their way in and out of bloom. 'Sexy Rexy' and equally sensuous  'Cinco de Mayo' tango together in the landscape, waving their center petals at whomever decided every thing in the garden should be matchy-matched.  

'Sexy Rexy' up close
Mavens of interior design did away with the notion of matched suites long ago. If we likewise loosened the girdles on our gardens, they would be so much more enjoyable.  

Look closely underneath the chive blossom. See the black and yellow dressing of a bee suckling away?   

The clump of chive stand at the feet of a blueberry bush. It offers handfuls of plump balls for fruit salad and muffins. What is different about blueberries fresh from the garden vs the grocers shelf is homegrown don't taste like cardboard, they taste like zing.  

Across the way, the blue stars of borage blossoms skirt around the new rose Dick Clark. Prolific self-seeders, as delicious to the eye as to the tongue when they razzle dazzle spinach salads, borage is allowed to spread about until the grow lethargically large. Then, like mint, they are yanked out. No need to worry that they won't be back):- 

This is the sky as it appeared during the eclipse. Not really dark at this latitude- but heaven cast a softer light that caused welder's masks to sell out in advance at our local Sears.  

Pulling the lens in tighter, the omni-present bunny rabbit. They are getting so used to us, the day is coming we may get to pet the wild-lings. When the carnivores come, which they will surely do, it will break my heart to hear the food chain in action. 

Speaking of God's creatures up close. Look just above the fern frond on the bottom right. There is a hummingbird posing not an arm's length from where I worked at getting its most photogenic angle with a standard lens. 

Please come back soon. There was much at the Sherman Library and Gardens Private Gardens Tour that I need to ready for you. In the words of Robert Browning- 

"The best is yet to be."...

Monday, May 21, 2012

I married a MacGyver~ Eclipse Day in the Garden

MacGyver, the action adventure hero played by Richard Dean Anderson from 1985- 1992  has nothing on my husband when it comes to rigging up parts to solve a problem. Like watching a solar eclipse safely. 

The parts I recognize underneath all that blue painters tape include a digital camera, binoculars, cardboard and a part of the shop vacuum.  

Gerry testing his device out in advance of the eclipse.
From the map with more red dots than a kid with chicken pox posted on his Facebook page with where his travels have taken him- he probably has seen as much of the world as the Hollywood  fictional spy was scripted in. Israel 7 times,  he stopped counting Norway trips at 54, Great Britain he visited even more. And those are just a a very tiny portion of Where in the World is Gerry. 

Gerry watching the eclipse in our backyard
Of all the places he's been, where's my globe trotter's favorite spot - why Diamond Bar, California, of course!  

Dennis McCreary, the Civil Engineer next door, came up with his daughter to check out the viewing device. His daughter named this scene "Nerd Central".  What did they see? 

My SLR brought into service to capture the viewer

The shadow of the moon crossing in-front of the sun.   

Now that I've shared the "scientific" part of the day- if I can only get through my list at a decent hour, tomorrow I can catch up posting some of the garden's splendor.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - May 2012

"I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, 'How many good things have you done in your life?' rather he will ask, 'How much love did you put into what you did?" 
~ Mother Teresa

Our oldest son sent a Mother's Day card, telling me to "Take the day off. Smell some of the roses."

When the color swirls over the petals as it does in 'The Disneyland Rose'- scent is an option

Particularly if your garden is like mine, a living perfumery. 

A niece bought her first home. Soon, some of her grandmother's purple iris will be shipped her way. 
The trumpet vine taught me to never give up on love. It died. So I thought. Evidently, not. 

An old bonsai pot taught me to think twice before giving in to my urge to purge. The shallow pot is under the cascading  Hatiora gaetneri- the spring blooming Easter Cactus. Tracing its ancestry back to on-high in Brazilian tropical rain forest trees, if it can be hybridized for a longer bloom season, perhaps the new cultivar might be named 'orchid cactus'. 

This year, the backyard is a bit chaotic. Just as life can be. Just love it. Work at it. Live in the moment- but with a plan.  

Linking to May Dreams Gardens world wide garden party. 

Encinitas- ~ Vaya con Dios

"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

Passing through the orchid guarded gate, if a garden could be a benediction, the  pronouncement of divine blessing, this garden is alive with holy spirit. 

In using every inch of space to good purpose, this garden brought out the joy of California's Spanish heritage in romantic details. 

An  abundance of detail embrace each other, redefining perfect order as something requiring time to burnish in the glow which comes  with aging well.   

Paving and planting are clearly defined as to purpose.  Stucco Walls are softened with greenery and decorated with murals matted in Terra Cotta surrounds. 

Framing the tile murals is the touch of grace- the raised plaster frame- a halo signifying their status as true artwork.

Diane Watson of D& D Interiors taught me to only use tile where the color runs through: no chips and edges detailed like couture . If the edges on these rises were not the same as the surface, the effect would not be so enchanting. The eye would go to a detail ignored, instead of to the flattened arches and  cooling lushness.

Note the breathing space. Just as we need it in our relationships, so do plants. 

Not all the paving matched, but compatible by tone.  More orchids on the table. One can never have too many orchids. Note the icicle lights along the wall.  If you are smart and copy this look- match the wire color as close as you can to the wall. 

An old tree with a lazy limb adds character. Without it, this part of the garden would be like Marilyn Monroe without her birthmark. Just not as interesting

The purple arrows were like bread crumbs- keeping us from getting lost in this amazingly endless garden. 

Every inch of the garden was put to good use. The traditional meaning of frugal isn't cheap. It is used to highest and best advantage. Which this series of raised beds floating in gravel certainly are. 

The railings to the very back of the garden had just enough detail to keep them from being purely utilitarian.

Which is fair, because we women forget that romance is not just about what we want. It's about what he wants, too.

What says man cave like classic cars in a showroom garage with checkerboard floor and red cabinets.

Getting older makes life more romantic. We have these memory triggers to make us smile. Like gas pumps that were manned by service people wearing hats who also washed our windshields at checked the air in the tires. For free. With a smile.

And so I bid fond adieu to Encinitas. 

Thanks to the Metagenix Detox diet, I'm currently down 7 lbs from when this picture was taken

If I have been spare on plant names, it is because this was a date with my husband, not a scouting expedition. This was down time. Complete with dinner out.

However- this spectacular Echium candicans (Pride of Madeira) deserves to be honored with mention.  So lovely in the spring. So dignified in its beauty. With its 10' wingspan, it will eat up most private gardens. However, in the springtime in the San Gabriel Valley- take a drive on Pathfinder Rd between Ronald Reagan Park and Fullerton Road.  Their is quite an impressive stand whose purple spires are a seasonal delight.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Encinitas - The Anatomy of Desire- Fantasy Gardens

"About half my designs are controlled fantasy, 15 percent are total madness and the rest are bread-and-butter designs."

~Manalo Blahnik 

Shoes. Landscapes. The anatomy of desire is the same in all endeavors where humans participate.   

 Is it just me- or does this gate look like something from the set of Game of Thrones

 Scientists may someday discover that Garden Tours cure loneliness. 

When the birdhouse is lavished with this sort of attention...  

Ever consider pots as sculptural elements in the garden? 

I do believe 'Midnight'- our long deceased black cat, is reincarnated.  With all this lushness- Encinitas is kitty heaven.

The elephant fountain is a bit of whimsy in this roomy garden. 

Gardens aren't just for keeping busy. They are to enjoy. A chair, a table and two vanity stools are at home outside. The mirror, reflecting the greenery, punches the vignette as though it were a large painting.

If you only knew how steep the path was leading to this spot- you would know how appropriate the mountain goat is):- 

All this red lava reminds me of childhood hiking over ancient lava flows.  In a smaller garden, the coloration would overwhelm. Here: it adds to the fantasy. 

If your home is a tropical resort- this might be what it looked like.

Agricultural wheels, a remnant of the agricultural past carried forward to the present.

Looking up to where the office, with its own deck, looks down.

Blue roofs are an architectural element that is hard to pull off. But when it is right, it is oh, so very right.

One more post to go in this series.