The Garden Conservancy is dedicated to preserving America’s exceptional gardens. It’s written right there under its name in any literature. Exceptional. So you can imagine what an honor and how excited I was to find out that my garden had been selected to be on this year’s Open Days Tour for Los Angeles. Excited…and then pure panic. Yeah, sure, they liked my garden enough to want it on the tour but now it had to be “exceptional”! So I decided to rip my driveway out.
At some point my driveway became the land of broken pots…one of the perks (or not depending on your perspective) of having a store. Something got chipped and I took it home. But everything was mismatched and worse, nothing could stand the burning heat of all that concrete. I always longed to cut it up and grow Dymondia between the pieces. So we cleared off, no kidding, 50 pots and I gave them all to my sister. She better be a lot nicer to me.
Then we started drawing how we wanted the lines to be cut. I knew I wanted to grow Alphonse Karr Bamboo (can’t get enough of those stripy stalks) on the side to finally hide our neighbor’s house, but it was a real trick to get a pattern going with the lines so they seemed random in width. It’s such a long narrow path, it seemed important that they not be so perfect.
Here’s a view from upstairs before the fence went in and also before we randomly cut off the ends of some of the pavers so they were more chopped up.
And here’s the final view with the bamboo planted. Since this photo was taken I’ve added or am adding a potting bench and little shed, more pots, a small fountain and crossing my fingers that the bamboo gets a little height before the tour. I can’t show you everything because then you would have nothing to live for (and wouldn’t come to the tour!)
So since as they say, the devil is in the details, following are some of the things I have repotted or added to punch everything up. This huge pot was from a landscape client of mine who didn’t want it so I planted it with an Acacia purpurea which unfortunately is still going to be quite stick-like for the tour, but I love underplanting…
…and think these will get a chance to fill in by May. Succulents make such good housemates for an acacia.
And I love the detail of this cork pot giving me some height. I’m sure as things mature I’ll make adjustments but that’s the fun part.
Here’s an old Bauer coffee mug with Jade that I’ve put on the ledge of my outdoor shower. Much prettier than shampoo bottles.
This is a Furcraea macdougallii I underplanted with aeoniums. I don’t know how long it will last in that pot as these guys get huge, but I think they’re pretty slow growing and I just couldn’t resist the squid-like quality.
Here is my extremely pathetic piece of lawn…
…and here are two of the three cute reasons it looks that way. I only have that patch of lawn so the dogs would have a place to, you know, enjoy, and they’ve just destroyed it. I’m thinking synthetic. It really has come a long way. I can’t look at that sad dirt and weeds any more. Opinions?
Using slag glass to keep the gates open. Much prettier than a brick.
These pots were being made at Gainey Ceramics before they closed down ceramic production. I’m so happy I snagged one.
And this beautiful little pot was a gift from Sara of Petersen Pottery, a prototype for the evolution of the Nantucket series. The plant is a Monadenium schubei from Tanzania that I just bought from California Cactus Center for a million dollars but I couldn’t resist. I also refreshed the Geo Planter by Kelley Lamb and my Julius Planter. It’s a lovely trio.
On the other side of my house I also decided to do a bunch of work. I added this Modern Bench from Campania on the fig tree patio that actually started Potted (another story for another time). All the walkways around this patio were mismatched and sinking so we ripped them all out and laid pavers with tile that matched the patio.
My favorite thing about this bench (besides it being gorgeous) is that it’s totally customizable. Here I’m making it a planter but you could easily add a fountain insert or a longer bench or a corner piece for two benches or…lots of options. Best Modern Bench ever.
And next I’ve got to replant the baby’s tears that got wiped out in the construction.
Please come to the Open Days Tour on Sunday May 5th from 10-4 if you want to see how it all turns out and lots more. Besides my house, there are 5 more amazing gardens in a three-mile radius that should make for an amazing garden gawking afternoon. Tickets are available for purchase on the Garden Conservancy Website and also on the day of the event at the lead garden which for us is Ferndell Park. So come and better yet, become a member!