Friday, April 19, 2013

Garden Tour

I was offered an opportunity to join a tour of 3 gardens as a guest of a local garden club this week.  I cleared my schedule to take advantage of the offer and I'm glad I did.  The gardens opened to the group were all located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County.

The first garden we saw, the smallest of the 3, spanned about two thirds of an acre, which the gardener tends entirely on her own.  I think it was the most personal of the 3 gardens we visited.  The house and the garden flow into one another.

Entry-way garden area

Driveway decoration

Terrace overlooking canyon area

Japanese maple in courtyard garden

The second of the 3 gardens was a 2-acre property with a lot of level changes.  It was clearly designed for people who like to entertain.

A steep stairway to the left of the slope leads up to a gazebo, seen in the upper portion of this photo,

The slope is bisected by a man-made waterfall

Looking down from the upper gazebo, you can see an outdoor kitchen and lounge area along one side of the property

Seating to enjoy the view

As you come back down through the lounge area, there's a terrace with a pool

And a fireplace with more seating

And a fountain

On the next level, there's a rose garden with a boxwood edging
Another view of the rose garden area

Below the rose garden, there's another gazebo, this one overlooking a Koi pond, and a one-hole putting green

"Helpful" signs were posted here and there throughout the property.

This one was tipped to one side (by an angry coyote?)

The third garden, encompassing 5 acres, was my favorite: a gardener's garden developed with care over several decades.  It was created by the original owners around a house built in the early 1960s within what is now a gated area.   A large "hedge" of tall Eucalyptus trees was thinned many years ago to open up the canyon area and lend a more expansive feel to what was already a very large garden.  There are pathways leading down into the lower levels of the garden that force the visitor to slow down and appreciate the plants along the way.  The paths are cushioned with wood chips and leaf mulch, probably accumulated over decades.  Wood handrails, created from trees cut on the property, have been added to make the garden more accessible to both the owners and visitors.  In fact, hand-made wood structures can be seen throughout the property.

Agave 'Blue Glow' surrounded by Teucrium chamaedrys, Westringia and other drought tolerant plants

Rustic wood arbor

Path down into the lower level of the property

View into canyon area

Echium in full bloom

Drought tolerant shrubs

Japanese Maple surrounded by plants favoring shade

Dirt path through shaded area lined with Geranium 'Biokovo'
Miniature wood house
Rustic wood arbor covered by trumpet vine and filled with hand-made stick furniture

Planted area between the driveway and the house

Small garden outside a guest house

Driveway area near the front of the house

Garden area behind the house

Bed bordering a bocce ball court

In the groomed planting beds surrounding the house, the gardener appears to have kept her plant palette relatively simple, relying heavily on Hellebores, monkey flowers, rockroses, geraniums, Pelargoniums and roses.  (There's a lesson for me there.)

Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri) growing in partial shade?

Geranium maderense

An unusual variegated Pelargonium peltatum, aka Ivy Geranium (I think)


Pacific Coast Iris

'Flutterbye' rose

One of a few areas dedicated to succulents

I'm scheduled to attend an entirely different kind of garden tour this weekend.  Stay tuned...


  1. Wonderful post! Could the Matilija poppy possibly be a Carpinteria californica? The leaves look a bit off to me.
    -Max P.

    1. Yes! I'm sure you're right. The Carpinteria californica can take partial shade too so that fits the setting. Thanks for the identification.

  2. How fun to go on garden tours! I love the first photo, and the third garden is lovely, but the second garden's view is just amazing! I think I could just sit there, enjoying the view, the fireplace, and the fountain and never care about the rest of the garden!

  3. Great tour. It'salways fun to visit new gardens, great for inspiration and new ideas:)

    1. I'm glad I could share it with you, Lynne. Thanks for visiting my site.

  4. I'm wishing now that I can visit this garden with you. :)

    Denver Landscape