As previously reported, I joined Denise of A Growing Obsession and Hoover Boo of Piece of Eden on the Long Beach leg of the Mary Lou Heard Garden Tour in early May. Our second stop after Dustin Gimbel's innovative space was a garden several miles away and close to the ocean.
The extensive use of shredded bark mulch and decomposed granite in the front garden signaled that what had probably been lawn had been removed in response to California's extended drought and our water restrictions. The plants were understated but thoughtfully selected.
|Coleus (Plectranthus scuttelarioides) and bromeliads were tucked in among the rock surrounding an established tree. Also spotted: Farfugium japonicum, Itoh peonies, a Leucospermum, and what I think is an Adenanthos.|
We moved down a narrow path at the side of the house to the back garden. I hadn't read the tour guide before we arrived and, as the home was located just off Ocean Boulevard, I expected a small space with more rock and decomposed granite than plants in the back so I was delightfully surprised by what we found.
|Wide shot taken from the elevated back patio looking toward the rear of the property|
Here's how the garden's owner/creator described his garden in the tour guide:
My goal was to transform a bland space of lawn into an inviting garden. California design concepts encouraged me to reinterpret my desire for an English gentleman’s garden. Existing trees would remain as the border for my new garden which I named “Bisbee”. Instead of fIowers, texture, form and leaf color dominate. Whimsy and playfulness are seen alongside classical elements like a pergola, arches, potted specimens, winding paths and water elements. Benches and seating areas invite you to linger; a subtle Zen is at play here. So please sit, feel the gentle breeze, breathe deeply, and relax. I hope you enjoy Bisbee and maybe, are taken back to a different time.
The gazebo at the back of the property drew my attention first.
|Looking toward the gazebo from a pathway running along the right side of the garden|
|A closer look at the gazebo, which was surrounded by several Japanese maples (Acer palmatum). The gazebo's supports were wrapped in multi-colored lights.|
|This collage gives you a look at some of the details within the gazebo. Based on the rocks sitting in the bonsai plant container on the lower right, the garden's owner has been a regular participant in the Mary Lou Heard Garden Tour.|
In addition to the gazebo, there was a table and chairs set into a back corner.
|Given the number of photos I took, I'm surprised I didn't get a better photo of this corner of the garden - this is the best one I had|
Once I'd explored the gazebo, I took a more careful look at plant combinations and other details in the center of the garden.
|The area along this path was planted with more Farfugium japonicum, Acer palmatum, and what may have been an oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). The tree was draped with Spanish moss.|
|These photos were taken further along the same path, looking first one way and then back the other|
|This water feature occupied roughly the middle of the garden. The perfect-looking lawn on the right was synthetic.|
|In addition to Abelia, Coleonema and Coprosma, I was surprised to see Sambucus nigra in this bed|
There were some interesting details along the margins of the garden too.
|It may be hard to detect in this photo but there's a mirrored sculptural piece just to the left of the rose bush in this photo, which reflected light and garden elements|
|This urn sits along the fence on the opposite side of the garden. The neighbor's bamboo can be seen poking its way between slats in the fence.|
Then I took a closer look at the patio attached to the house, which I'd breezed by upon my initial entry into the garden.
|I neglected to take a photo facing straight on at the back patio. This photo picked up the half of the patio containing a spa and lounge chairs.|
|This photo shows the other half of the patio|
|And here are close-ups of selected patio features|
True to the owner's statement, the garden did indeed have a zen-like feel. But while it had the restrained, spare aesthetic I associate with Asian gardens, it was still packed with interesting plants, many of which were drought tolerant. The garden also made effective use of repetition, both in the color of the plant foliage and the color and form of structural elements, like the gazebo and the arbors spaced along one path.
I still have one more post to share from our May garden excursion but it seems that will spill into next week. Enjoy your weekend!
All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party