Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The garden that wasn't on the tour (but should have been)

In early May I joined two other SoCal bloggers on a tour of the three gardens included in the Long Beach leg of the Mary Lou Heard Garden Tour.  My previous posts can be found here and here.  The third garden we toured was small, as gardens in beach cities often are, and I took relatively few photos.  It was a sweet space but didn't have the intriguing plant choices of the first two gardens we explored on the tour.



However, we did peruse another garden that was chock full of wonderful plants.  That garden wasn't on the tour but it should have been.  It's the garden created by Denise of A Growing Obsession, the blogger who arranged our excursion.  I've visited Denise's garden once before but that visit occurred in late summer on a very sunny afternoon.  This time I had the opportunity to stroll the space under a more camera-friendly cloudy sky.

This photo evokes the splendor and bounty of Denise's garden for me

This is a wider view of the same space


As you can already tell, Denise's garden is densely planted.  Everywhere you turn, there are interesting vignettes.

Could there be a better pairing than this silvery blue Agave and the deep burgundy Aeonium?

How about this one featuring Yucca desmetiana 'Blue Boy' and an almost-black Aeonium?

Or this one featuring Agave 'Blue Flame' and an Aloe I can't identify with Centranthus ruber making an unexpected cameo appearance?

This photo captures one of my favorite Agaves, A. pygmae 'Dragon Toes', with another Aloe I can't identify, all the more beautiful for blushing under stress.  On the lower left, is Aeonium 'Mardi Gras', a plant I've long coveted but have yet to find.

This Agave vilmoriniana 'Variegata' in a pot also commands attention


There were other plants in containers clustered in groups.

For some reason, I missed the opportunity to photograph the garden's hanging plants but there were plenty of those too


And there were plants that made me green with envy.

These are just three of the plants I coveted: Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon', Fatsia japonica 'Camouflage', and Melianthus major 'Purple Haze'


Some of Denise's plants are huge, sending chills down my spine when I realize that I probably haven't allocated quite enough space to the specimens in my own garden.

Denise's garden makes it clear just how large Agave 'Blue Glow', Agave 'Jaws' and Dasyliron can get


Denise also has plants-in-waiting for the day some of her mature Agaves bloom and die.

I think the babies on the right are Agave mitis but I'm not sure of the identity of those on the left (A. 'Cream Spike' maybe?)


But of all the great garden photos I captured on my visit, this one was my favorite:

This is Banksy, who was very happy whiling away the day burrowed in the back garden, diplomatically tolerating my attention


Thanks for opening your garden for our visit, Denise!  Readers can find more photos of Denise's garden on Hoover Boo's blog, Piece of Eden, here.  And, if you want to see the changes Denise has made to her garden since our visit, you can find those in her recent Bloom Day post here.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jane. The 2 featured tour gardens and Denise's are all very different and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to visit (and photograph) each one.

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  2. I'm a Denise fan and seeing her garden through a different lens is a pleasure. You're right, this spectacular space should have been on the tour!

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    1. It's definitely worth visiting, although I'm not sure how Denise would feel about having zillions of people troop through.

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  3. Aha! Finally pictures of Denise's garden through the lens of another great gardener! I love all the cool stuff you west coasters can grow. And in my experience nothing sparks ideas for your own garden like touring others. Thanks for the tours.

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    1. Your right about the tours sparking ideas, Sue - and adding to my already long list of "must find" plants too.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your visit to Denise's Garden, Kris. Like Peter and Sue, I loved seeing her garden through the lens of another very talented gardener. Such a treat.

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    1. It was a treat to visit too, Tim! I've previously passed on the Heard Tour - participants are spread over a very wide area - but this experience has encouraged me to add the tour to my plans next year.

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    1. Your photos were great! The only thing you missed was Banksy the cat!

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  6. That's a lovely space. I grow Fatsia Japonica but the one you presented kills me with the colours - love the ombre green!

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    1. I've been a little reluctant to grow Fatsia, feeling that it may need too much water, but maybe it I kept it in a pot I could manage its needs without too much guilt...

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  7. That was such a fun day. I was this close to asking for no photos of my garden, because there's so few open views and it's all in your face and right up against the house, but I'm glad I realized you guys are pros. You're always welcome, Kris.

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    1. It was a fun day and I appreciate your having pulled it all together. My photos don't live up to those you produce - you always get the best angles!

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  8. Denise's garden is beautifully designed - I love her plant combinations. How long do agave live before they bloom and die?
    Will you (can you even) move your agaves to accommodate mature size?

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    1. Agaves can be moved but a certain degree of dexterity and resistance to pain may be called for. In the case of my 'Jaws', the answer is that I should remove and give away its pup before it gets much larger. My Dasylirion (not an agave but prickly) is probably okay, although I may eventually need to pull out some of the other plants surrounding it. My 'Blue Glow' agaves are the biggest problem as I planted a lot of them - the answer there is probably just to cull the herd when they start running into conflict with one another.

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  9. Oh, how wonderful it must have been to see Denise's garden. Thanks for sharing your photos, I'm glad you got a better day for photographing. Love the shot of Banksy. I'm a sucker for a kitty pic.

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    1. I'm a sucker for cats myself and he was very sweet. I thought he looked very photogenic in there among the plants too.

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  10. Indeed Denise's garden would be a special stop on any tour lucky enough to have her. I feel so lucky to have seen it with my own eyes (and camera).

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    1. It may look different the next time you see it, Loree. She was actively mulling over possible changes and, based on her Bloom Day post, it seems she's already made progress there.

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  11. Lovely pictures, Kris. I really like seeing garden bloggers' gardens through the eyes/camera of others--they always look different.

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    1. The camera does tell its own stories. I'm surprised even when I look back on pictures I myself took of my own garden - its evolution is fluid but relentless.

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