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: Chelsea Flower Show (2011)

IMG_0012.jpgIt was packed!IMG_0021.jpgIMG_0028.jpgIMG_0033.jpgIMG_0037.jpg
IMG_0048.jpgPenhow NurseryMillais NurseriesHampshire Carnivorous PlantsIMG_0068.jpgIMG_0076.jpg
IMG_0077.jpgLavendersIMG_0087.jpgKevock Garden PlantsKevock Garden PlantsKevock Garden Plants
IMG_0094.jpgVerbascum 'Blue Lagoon'W.S. WarmenhovenIMG_0104.jpgIMG_0115.jpgsweet peas

This years Chelsea Flower Show starts next Tuesday so I thought it would be a good time to do a photo post of my visit to the show last year.

I did post about my favorite garden at the show while I was in England but never took the time to share the rest of my photos.

If you are a fanatical gardener like me it is well worth a trip to Chelsea at least once in your life (this was my second trip). It really is the most amazing garden show in the world.

Pictures are OK but they don’t really do it justice. This is something that should be seen in person.

England Trip: Barrington Court

Barrington CourtBarrington CourtWater LilyAcanthus spinosusBarrington CourtBarrington Court
Barrington CourtBarrington CourtBarrington CourtOnopordumlavender Delphiniumlavender Delphinium
Barrington CourtBarrington CourtBarrington CourtBarrington CourtBarrington CourtBarrington Court
Dictamnus albusBarrington CourtGarrya ellipticaBarrington CourtBarrington Courtold lead cistern

England Trip: Barrington Court, a set on Flickr.

Just a few gardens left to share from last years garden tour of England. Barrington Court in Somerset is probably the one I would recommend least of all the National Trust gardens I saw.

The old bones of the original Gertrude Jekyll design are still strong but the garden could use a little restoration or perhaps a few more gardeners to keep it up. But there are some nice specimens and some nice plantings.

Perhaps I was just a little burnt out on viewing gardens but while my brother and sister had lunch in the garden restaurant I chatted with an old English couple who gave me an earful about the sorry state of the garden and what a disappointment it was to them. I didn’t think it was quite that bad but it paled in comparison to the final two gardens I saw (which I will post soon).

I did get some pretty pictures though so enjoy!

England Trip: Eden Project

First view of the Eden Project domes as you enter.Interior of the mediterranean climate dome.Protea sp.Cute educational signageCalifornia wildflower meadowSculptures depicting Bacchus
Closeup of one of the partying Bacchus revelers.Close up of Calocephalus browniiGiant Alliums (A. gigantea or a culitvar) with the tropical domes as a backdrop.Dome ceilingEnglish robinAmorphophallus titanum
Tropical DomeView of the tropical dome from above.Lavender display.I think a Lavandula angustifolia cultivar.I've amassed quite a collection of lavenders in my new garden.  I think I have most of the species represented here.WEEE man sculpture (kind of like a big scary dinosaur).
Bog garden with domes in the background.Rosa moyesiiBog plantsA red themed borderOne of the large mixed borders.Me with my siblings.  I tricked them into smiling.

England Trip: Eden Project, a set on Flickr.

I have sort of mixed feelings about our visit to Eden Project last year. My initial memories before preparing the pictures for this post that it was rather theme park like and perhaps we would have enjoyed visiting a historic or more intimate garden. At this point I was also full blown sick, with a fever and headaches, which was worsened by the stress of having to drive all around England.

Once I looked through the photos my feelings toward Eden softened a bit. Yes it is a bit of a big theme park and if you really hate that sort of thing you might not enjoy it. But it also was a nice break seeing a garden that was only ten years old after looking at so many gardens that were over a hundred years old.

Eden Project is in a converted quarry and the main attraction is two massive biomes. One featuring tropicals and the other with plants from the mediterranean climates of the world (you can guess which one I preferred). It definitely has an educational, environmental, botanical garden bent but there are large borders outside of the domes that are actually really nicely designed and while we were there the beds around the domes were full of hundreds of huge Alliums.

If you would like to go for a tour of the insides of the domes you can type “Eden Project” into Google Maps and then use street view to navigate the interior paths. Of course then you might not feel the need to visit the real Eden Project. But if you are ever in Cornwall and have some free time I would say it is worth checking out.

England Trip: Lanhydrock

LanhydrockLanhydrock HouseOld horse drawn carriage.Gate within a gate.I think this was wallpaper in the house.Pretty impressive stove
Bread OvenBilliard RoomGrass and Seed DisplayA bit over the top, yes?View of the formal garden from the upper story of the house.Eye level view of the parterre.
ParterreThey had their own church.And their own cemetery.Perennial GardenThe purple poppies are kind of cool but I love them all.Red-orange poppies.
Amazing specimen of Astilboides tabularis.Thalictrum 'Black Stockings'The perennial garden was circular  with paths around the outside and a cross through the center.IMG_1991.jpgIMG_2010.jpgIMG_2000.jpg

England Trip: Lanhydrock, a set on Flickr.

I’m glad I decided to blog about last years trip to England. I haven’t really gone through all my thousands of photos much and I had forgotten about Lanhydrock.

Not that it was particularly forgettable I just saw a lot of gardens in that 10 day trip. This was another Cornish garden but further inland so not as many tender plants.

If you ask me if I am a fan of topiary I will generally say no but really well done topiary like the yews on the entrance lawn at Lanhydrock definitely make an impression.

This is also one of the few houses where I went inside and didn’t just check out the gardens.

Once again to see all the images please click the blue link under the thumbnails to be taken directly to my Flickr page where you can view them as a slideshow or view each individual picture to see my comments.


England Trip: St Michael’s Mount and Penzance

St Michael's MountBlue Seas B&BSt Michael's Mount off in the distanceSt Michael's MountStone WallArmeria sp.
Horses on the beachPuya chilensisPuya chilensisIMG_1814.jpgIMG_1816.jpgUp Up UP
PrivateIce PlantThymus serpyllumwellWaiting for the tide to come in.Fuchsia thymifolia
More up up upAt the topSun DialWalled GardenwellHigh

So continuing with my recap of the garden tour of England I took with my family last May and June. Next stop was Penzance. To be honest I wanted to go to Penzance because of a fondness for The Pirate Movie starring Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins (based loosely on the Gilbert and Sullivan opera, The Pirates of Penzance).

Not the best movie perhaps but it was on cable all the time when I was a kid and you know how nostalgia clouds your judgement.

Anyway Penzance is lovely. It is in Cornwall, almost at the most southwestern tip of England, and the climate is milder than the rest of England. So you start seeing some interesting mediterranean type plants and even succulents here.

St Michael’s Mount is a castle on a small island just offshore and is managed by the National Trust. We could see it from Penzance so my brother and sister decided we should walk instead of drive. Unfortunately I think this is the day my mysterious month-long illness began, so I was tired and cranky when it turned out to be a four mile walk. But once we got there the island and castle are pretty impressive.

The most exciting thing was getting to see a gigantic Puya chilensis in bloom. A first for me. Enjoy the photos of St Michael’s Mount and a few from around Penzance as well.

Once again to see the entire album please click the blue link below the thumbnails to open up the Flickr gallery.

England Trip: Knighthayes Court

Knighthayes Court Clock TowerMagnificent conifer at the entrance of the walled kitchen garden.Walled GardenKitchen GardenHerbaceous BorderAruncus and Crambe
Astrantia majorox-eye daisiesDelphiniums and GrapesPeas & SquashCreepy ScarecrowTetrapanax papyriferus
OnionsMedicinal Herb BordersPotatoesDevon CountrysideMeadow and MansionClimbing Hydrangea
Gothic Victorian Mansion and GreenhouseOne of the GargoylesFormal Garden and LawnsArmeriaClipped Topiary BedsWeeping Silver Pear

Knighthayes Court was one of my favorites of the gardens we visited last year. It is a gothic Victorian mansion in Devon and features a walled kitchen garden, a wildflower meadow, formal gardens, a conservatory, a paved garden with alpine beds and woodland gardens.

I spent so much time exploring the (huge) kitchen garden and the gardens around the house that I didn’t even make it to the woodland. The kitchen garden, which was recently restored, provides organic produce for the restaurant on site.

There is of course a cedar of Lebanon on the lawn and many formal clipped hedges including one depicting hounds chasing a fox.

I have visited over a dozen gardens on my two trips to England and this one is at the top of my “must see” list.