Two Years!

WordPress just sent me a little note that my blog has just had its two-year anniversary!  Kind of crazy how fast time goes by. Here is a little retrospective.

I had just moved out of my apartment in Santa Monica where I had gardened on a small balcony with a view of the Pacific ocean.

Santa Monica had some really nice gardens but I got bored there and foolishly moved to West Hollywood.

I ended up hating West Hollywood and my balcony there sucked for gardening so I blogged quite a bit about my mesemb seedlings.

I also reminisced about my Clematis collection in my old garden…

And various trips to England…

Where I saw the queen…

and visited Clivedon and many other historic gardens.

I started designing gardens for my friends at Gardens by Gabriel.

And took road trips to Annie’s Annuals where I had to get creative to fit as many plants as I could into my VW Golf!

I went on a trip to Hawaii…

and fell in love with Leucospermum reflexum.

I moved to the Central Coast of California…

and was inspired by the South African Garden at Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria.

I thought about the things I enjoyed about southern California like the California Poppy Preserve…

and Coreopsis gigantea growing in Malibu.

But I was happy to be living in the Central Coast where I designed some new gardens…

Including my own!

Which has come a long way in a year!

Despite some recent drama!

And in case you were wondering Geranium maderense did just fine during the wind storm last night.

So thanks for coming along on my horticultural journey the past two years. Hopefully the next two years will be full of even more beautiful gardens.

England Trip: Hestercombe

Cedar of Lebanon at HestercombeNesting Swan.Garden GateErigeron karvinskianusClematis rectaClematis recta
Buddleia globosa and Clematis tubulosaClematis tubulosaFormal garden near the orangery.Formal garden near the orangery.Cerastium tomentosumVista
Hestercombe OrangeryHestercombe OrangeryHestercombe HouseSantolina & LavendersSantolina & LavendersSantolina & Lavender
Long pool in the formal gardenFormal garden at HestercombePlants growing out of slate walls.Plants growing out of slate walls.Plants growing out of slate walls.Hestercombe House

England Trip: Hestercombe, a set on Flickr.

Continuing my series on last years trip to England with my family.

Next up was a visit to Hestercombe in Somerset in early June. The grounds are rather expansive but while my brother and sister explored the landscape garden I stuck close to the house and formal garden.

The restored formal gardens are one of the best examples of a Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens collaboration that you can see today.

Once again to see all the photos please click on the blue link under the thumbnails to be taken directly to the Flickr album.

Garden Conservancy Open Days: Los Angeles

So am I going to be one of those people who tells the truth about the gardens I visit or am I going to just say how lovely everything was?  Probably a little of both.  I appreciate that the Garden Conservancy is for a good cause and tries to showcase different styles of gardens at a convenient distance from each other.  The six gardens I visited today were all in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles or in nearby Santa Monica (the ritzy bit, not the bit I lived in for two years).  Unfortunately I only really enjoyed one of them.  Luckily I was able to do the entire tour in three hours since they were so close to each other and traffic isn’t that bad midday Sunday.

One of my issues with garden tours is I that I actually expect to see a garden. I’m spoiled with the Garden Conservancy of New York and Connecticut where no matter how wealthy the homeowners are they actually care about horticulture and are involved in their gardens even if they have a designer to help them.  This is not surprisingly not the case in Los Angeles.

The first garden I visited was in Brentwood and wasn’t so much a garden as a landscape in miniature.  Six plants in repetition in a space smaller than my apartment does not a garden make.  Not that it was unattractive there just wasn’t much to it.  On top of that I can only share one photo.  There was an interesting metal fire place and fountain in another courtyard but I was asked not to take pictures of it because it wasn’t “published” yet.  Whatever.  I had a good eye roll at this request and left.

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The yellow square is a recirculating fountain. Actually maybe I wasn't supposed to take pictures of this either but since no one said anything specifically I'm posting it anyway.

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Venice Garden & Home Tour

On Saturday I went to the Venice Garden & Home Tour.  It is something I have been meaning to do for a while now and neve got around to.  Advance tickets are kind of pricey at $60 each but proceeds go to the Las Doradas Children’s Center so at least it is for a good cause.  And you get to see 31 homes and gardens so it is a pretty good deal.

Sadly I am having an issue with my digital camera settings so the exposure on some of my photos was a bit off.  But I do have a few cool things to share.

Venice itself is a very artistic and fairly wealthy neighborhood.  In the neighborhood where the garden tour was located each street has a parallel pedestrian alley which makes you feel like you are in a little village.  Some of my favorite gardens were not on the tour at all but were simply neighboring houses.

click images to enlarge

The street that I parked on was less affluent but many of the houses had very nice little gardens. I parked in front of this run down old house with a beautiful Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' growing against the front porch.

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Clematis I Have Met

I promise this will be my last post on Clematis for a while (until I get some more pictures of them).  Just following up with some pictures of various Clematis I have encountered in my travels and ending with a cool double Clematis in my old garden.

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Clematis montana var. rubens at The Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.

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Clematis Combinations

When I see Clematis in gardens I’m surprised at how often they are just planted on their own on a wall or a pillar.  When I plant them in my garden I always try to put them in combination either with other Clematis or growing through or up other plants.  I do this for two reasons. First of all my garden was small so I was looking to use up every inch of vertical growing space possible.  I couldn’t afford to grow just one Clematis on a pillar when I could fit six in that spot.  Second I think all plants just look more interesting when they are playing off other plants whether it is complimentary or contrasting colors or different shapes and forms.  A well grown plant in full bloom is exciting to me but two or more plants together can be a work of art.

Click images to enlarge.

Clematis 'Rooguchi' with its succulent purple bell flowers looks great against the pale blooms of 'Emilia Plater'. I think in combination both plants stand out more than if they were just planted on their own.

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Clematis Freak

Hello my name is Kaveh and I am a recovering Clematis addict.  There is a part of me that feels I should  be writing about more current stories of my horticultural life.  However there are certain topics that played such an important part in my gardening career that they are worth a look at.  Clematis are definitely one of the key parts of my story.  It all comes down to the simple fact that I learned the art of gardening so that I could grow Clematis.

Clematis integrifolia is my number one favorite Clematis and for that matter it is probably my favorite plant.

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