She lives in the historic section of a nearby beach city in a charming bungalow, surrounded by similar homes. The first thing I saw as I got out of the car was a tree-sized Schefflera across the street. In bloom!
|It isn't unusual to see the tropical Scheffleras, more commonly known to many people as houseplants, in the ground in our climate but seeing one in bloom was a first for me|
The street is lined with trees and Denise's front courtyard was mostly in shade when I arrived in early afternoon. The shade was pleasant as we've been suffering through yet another heatwave; however, it presented a challenge to my limited picture-taking skills.
Upon arrival, Ein, the official greeter met me at the gate.
|Ein, a friendly Corgi, barks to announce each arrival, known or unknown, and dutifully escorts the visitor through the garden|
As anyone who reads Denise's blog knows, she's fond of foliage and spiky things and her garden has plenty of both.
|A good-sized Acacia stands alongside the front gate, underplanted with a diverse selection of spiky, drought-tolerant plants|
|Two Agave 'Blue Glow' along the front walk|
I didn't even try to count the Agaves.
Denise also collects Agave relatives.
|Two of these are Furcraea foetida 'Mediopicta' and a noID Mangave|
It was obvious that I was in the garden of a plant collector who uses every inch of her garden space, as well as making creative use of vertical space. As a former long-time resident of a beach city myself, I know there's always a premium on outdoor space in these locations. Denise makes effective use of her vertical space, not only with vines and tall plants, but also by utilizing unique materials as planters.
Working around difficulties with her soil, she also has lots and lots of plants in decorative pots.
|I like how Denise organized her potted plants into collections and elevated many to add dimension and interest to the space|
Denise even outfitted an area on the back patio with a day bed by going up.
|The day bed sits above the heads of any foot traffic below|
There were flowers.
But foliage plants are the stars of her garden.
|A few examples, clockwise from the top left: chartreuse elephant ears (maybe Xanthosoma 'Lime Zinger'?), Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon', Pennisetum setaceum 'Sky Rocket', and a noID Rhipsalis backed by the Yucca recurvifolia|
She has some plants I've long been interested in but have been afraid to add to my garden due to their mature size. Denise manages to keep those specimens under control. I'm seriously considering following her example and trying a few of these in my my own garden.
|Tetrapanax papyrifer, back-lit by the sun, with Acacia baileyana to the rear|
|Cussonia in a pot (I'm not sure which species - Denise has a number of these plants)|
|I didn't know Manihot (grahamii?) produced this cute round fruit|
As the intense sun was accompanied by ever-worsening heat, I prematurely gave up my picture-taking and we sat in the shade in the back garden talking, guarded by the ever-vigilant Ein. As I bid goodbye sometime later, Denise gifted me with succulent pups and bulbils as well as a pot she'd noted was a match to one I already had. For each plant I've given Denise, I seem to get five in return.
|Left: one of 4 small Agave mitis I brought home; right: a Mangave pup in a pot like the one on the right I already had|
Thank you Denise for your generosity and for opening your garden to a visitor on a hot afternoon!
Note: Any errors in plant identification are mine.
All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party