Friday, June 1, 2012

The Heroes Garden at Pepperdine University


Last Friday afternoon we arrived at LAX and were met by my brother-in-law, Phillip. We took the scenic route to his home in Fillmore, CA, traveling up the Pacific Coast Highway and stopping at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Phillip is a Law Librarian at Pepperdine, I was happy to finally put an eye on this school with the important name, all the better that I got to ogle the ocean and fantastic plantings as we drove up the coast.
Before we visited the actual library building we stopped at the Heroes Garden. With a name like that I wasn’t sure what to expect and I’m going to be honest, I’m not the most patriotic person. However like most Americans when you mention 9/11 I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news and thinking about it tears come easily to my eyes. It seemed fitting to visit this place on Memorial Day Weekend, the garden was “created to honor the memory of Americans who lost their lives to terrorists on 9-11-01, and particularly to honor Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., who died on Flight 93."

What a beautiful place. The infinity edge pond of the garden meets the Pacific Ocean, meets the sky.

And who doesn’t love a fabulous rill?

I believe this is my long standing crush, Callistemon 'Little John'…

Echiums, lovely Echiums. Echium candicans, Pride of Madeira I believe.

Even the faded bloom spikes are beautiful. I hope my pink blooming spikes fade out like this.

The foliage has a California tint to it.

Moving on from the garden proper and exploring the nearby landscape this site made my heart skip a beat. This same planting was once in my front garden. Then arctic winters took it away.

Look at that Phormium! It glows….

California lilacs (Ceanothus)…

Having left the garden and about to enter the library this scene stopped me, look at those Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos)! Just growing like nobody’s business…like they don’t have a care in the world…

Oh to be able to live like this.

Look at the strange growth on this Phormium, it looks like a bloom that later sprouted leaves, can they do that?

And look at this tree! I want to call it a Baja Fairy Duster (Calliandra californica) but the foliage isn’t quite right.

Finally something that easily grows at home, Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’) growing between pavers…

27 comments:

  1. What a beautiful garden! I like how it visually connects the ocean to the inland hills. And the rills are fantastic.

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    1. The Ceanothus was just finishing up, I imagine a week or two earlier those hills were probably a similar bright blue as the ocean and sky...

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  2. drooling..... seriously. That looks like a little piece or paradise. Callistemon "Little John" is such a wonderful plant! They have a bunch of them right now at Cedar Rim and I keep fondling the leaves and putting them on my cart... so far none have come home with me. As for those flax ... wow!

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    1. I haven't seen "Little John" here locally. I think (think) I could resist it if I did. I've already got so many hardy Callistemon that buying one that's not just seems silly. (not that I don't do plenty of silly things)

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  3. The planting that made your heart stop is the same planting I had on my hell strip in California. Everytime I see that Phormium ('Jacks Spratt' or 'Tom Thumb') I crave it again, but know in my heart that it will be wiped out in an acrtic blast. So sad.

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    1. I don't think I've seen one of those Phormium in a nursery this year. If I did I might just have to scoop it up to use as a container plant.

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  4. Just think of the cost of living and traffic. OK... Really nice scenes of some well-designed spaces, and that just grabs me. But with the weather you had, it's even better. And I didn't have to pay for the gas!

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    1. The weather was amazing. Not too hot, just right. But you're right...expensive!

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  5. That blue sky... that view... those plants! What a fun time. My phormium made it through this past winter unscathed. I'd like to think we're finished with bitter winters for awhile. But I still hesitate to succumb to any more phormiums so I guess I'm not completely convinced. Thanks for the tour.

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    1. Mine did too (Phormium), I haven't planted any more huge ones in the ground but have a couple of smallish ones, and others in containers. I could very easily get lulled back into thinking the low to mid teens (along with the days and nights below freezing for a week at a time) are a thing of the past...

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  6. What a lovely tribute. And that Baja Fairy Duster plant? I need one of those. WOW.

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    1. Better move south then, they like it a little warmer.

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  7. Cool garden! I still remember marveling at all the phormiums I saw when we first moved here three years ago. It was our first winter here that they all succumbed to. I'm wondering if that strange plantlet on the end of the bloom spike is a proliferation? Daylilies sometimes do that.

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    1. Now there's a term I'd never heard before...thanks Alison! Certainly looks similar.

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  8. Next time you go past Pepperdine be sure to check out Pacific View Nursery a few miles north right on rt. 1. The plants are generally unlabeled but they have a huge field of succulents and other landscape plants for wholesale (or cheaper than wholesale in some cases) prices!

    Kind of surprising to find a nursery with such great prices at a place as expensive as Malibu.

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    1. Not sure when I'll be back but will definitely be sure to stop by Pacific View. There was another nursery that we passed en-route to Pepperdine (so it would have been south I guess) that looked pretty amazing. We didn't stop.

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    2. The other nursery was Cosentino's. Lots of succulents and pottery but not a particularly exciting selection. They have a florist and antiques shop as well, a few miles south of the larger nursery.

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  9. The mystery plant I believe could be in the mimosa family, as the the bloom is identical to mimosa quadrivalvis(which is more of a briar).

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    1. Oh yes those blooms are indeed the same, but the foliage still doesn't look quite right. The leaves on the tree I saw were much larger...

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  10. A nice garden, and one of the more tasteful 911 memorials I have seen. The water in the garden, and beyond, makes it.

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    1. Indeed. Of course the blue blue sky helps make the water all the mo'betta.

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  11. Hello. Long-time reader, first-time commenter. The mimosa-like tree is a calliandra haematocephala (a.k.a. Pink Powder Puff). It is a mimosa relative, but it is evergreen in southern California (zone 10), and starts blooming (at least mine do) in November-December.

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    1. That's it! Thank you Jeremy...

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  12. I really like 93% of the Pepperdine garden. A disappearing edge water feature at the edge of the continent--What's not to love? Well, actually, the one thing I didn't care for was the flagpole placed in the worst of all possible places right in the middle of the view. I know the memorial is fulfilling a patriotic function, but do we have to be unsubtle about it? But the rills, the water, the plantings--quite nice.

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    1. Interesting...while normally I would be tempted to agree with you to me it felt right. Maybe because with the placement you could see the flag from many places in the garden, not just when you were standing smack dab in front of the view. If it had been at the beginning of the garden, where the sign is, then you wouldn't have been able to see it once you were actually in the garden.

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  13. What a pleasure to see a memorial that seems so comforting rather than stark and confrontational. I'd much rather remember and honor people in beautiful ways that pay tribute to the continuation of the lives they saved. From your pictures, this is one of the most humane memorials I have seen. Thank you for sharing it and the beautiful plant palette they used so effectively.

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