Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My visit to the garden that inspires A Growing Obsession

I am fortunate to have visited several gardens belonging to my online blogging friends, I count those stops as some of the best times in our travels. So when Andrew and I began planning our December excursion to Southern California naturally one of my first thoughts was "we'll be driving right by Denise's garden!" Then it hit me that our visit would fall on the Sunday before Christmas, what were the chances she'd be home, let alone have the time / energy / desire for a pesky garden visit? Well not only was she home but her garden was even more amazing than I thought possible, and she and her husband Marty were so welcoming that Andrew and I ended up staying way longer than we should have, and could have stayed even longer!

The first plant to great us upon arrival was this blooming Acacia podalyriifolia, yes it smelled just as good as you'd think...

Do you read Denise's blog, A Growing Obsession? Of course you do, and so you're familiar with the signature style with which she photographs her garden, it's very dreamy, a little romantic and very sexy. I was nervous, would she let me take pictures (yes, obviously) and would I be able to do it justice? I hope so!

The front garden is small, but somehow larger than I pictured it. In fact all of her garden seemed both smaller and larger, that doesn't seem possible does it? I think it has to do with the sky. It was more a part of the garden than it is in her plant photos, thus there was an open and airy feeling that I wasn't expecting. So yes, here we are in the front garden.

Oh, and you know that disclaimer we all issue before someone stops by for a visit? About the less-than-perfect state of the garden? Well I'd heard something similar, but wow...I think the folks from Garden Design or Sunset could stop by anytime and find things looking just picture-perfect.

Agave parrasana 'FireBall', those spikes!

That big guy is Agave 'Mr. Ripple' and in its agave embrace is A. potatorum (on the left). Front and center is a lovely A. 'Blue Glow'...the brick path is turning a corner and heading into...

The side yard, where I spy A. 'Joe Hoak' along with one of the many cozy vignettes found throughout the garden. Of course I now want my fence to be exactly that same color.

The City Planter from Potted. Potted was a sponsor of the Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland last July and Denise was the lucky winner of this beauty (via Lisa who won it first and then realized it was too big to get home to Spain). Nicely planted up eh?

The borrowed view from next door ain't bad either.

Denise has an eye for vintage industrial. If I lived in the same city I'd shadow her on shopping trips.

See what I mean? Oh and check out that Banksia ericifolia in the square planter.

The ladder leads up to a small sleeping perch. Can you imagine how beautiful this is on a summers evening?

That furcraea! Be still my jealous heart (I can't manage to keep one alive in a container).

Plants, cool plants, everywhere you look. I should have asked for a total count on the agaves.

Fantastic blooming Grevillea 'Robyn Gordon' and Manihot escuelenta ‘Variegata’ echoing the blooms with it's bright pink petioles.

Just before our visit Denise had posted about the fly attracting blooms of her Tetrapanax papyrifer. Since the blooms on my plants are always cut short by a freeze, I was thrilled she held off cutting them back, and I got to see them in all their fly-covered glory...

Agave attenuata 'Ray of Light'

Variegated St. Augustine grass encircling an Aloe scobinifolia

Melianthus major 'Purple Haze' - I must MUST find one of these to have for my very own.

Schefflera soleil

Echium simplex

Bocconia frutescens

So many extraordinary plants! That tall light-green plant rectangle, to the left of center, is Cussonia gamtoosensis.

At front, with the glossy leaves, is Cussonia transvaalensis. The blueish leaves on the right (which I mistook for an acacia when asking Denise for help on ID's) is Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon' and the silvery kalanchoe next to it is K. hildebrantii. The glowing light green agave is...

Agave attenuata 'Kara's Stripes'

Agave ‘Dragon Toes’ (powder blue)...

Along the back if the house is a rack made of pipe with dozens of interesting things hanging from it. You can see more good stuff in this post.

Agave parryi ‘Cream Spike’

Cordyline 'Cha Cha', on the right.

Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor' with babies.

Cussonia natalensis, I believe, tall and in the terracotta.

In addition to tasty snacks, the table on the patio held this trio of containers. Denise had just scored the vintage spotted one on the right.

The rest of these images were all taken as I lazily sat on the steps, beer in hand, and stole glances around the garden while chatting away...

Agave vilmoriniana ‘Stained Glass’, read all about making the purchase here.

Would you believe I neglected to get a photo of the garden owners? Instead I give you Ein the corgi, pretty much adorable.

In the distance, on the right, there's that Cussonia gamtoosensis again. Andrew would have liked to take it home...

I think for me the title of "most coveted plant in the garden" goes to the gorgeous Agave celsii var. albicans 'UCB'. I do have one, but it's condemned to life in a container and looks nothing like this.

Pachypodium namaquanum

And my parting shot, Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire' with a bit of glow from the setting sun. Thank you so much Denise and Marty for your hospitality! You made our wonderful vacation even more memorable. My only regret? While in the area I would have loved to garden crash at Hoov's Piece of Eden and Kris' (Late to the Garden Party) place. Maybe next time...

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

53 comments:

  1. When I was recently in LA I felt too shy to contact any of the bloggers there but then I spent the entire trip thinking, "...coulda, shoulda, woulda..." I really admire Denise's design eye and the lovely photos on her blog. I also appreciate your photo tour, which gives me a much more comprehensive idea about how her garden is organized. Thanks!

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    1. Next time! You really should contact them, it's so wonderful to get to meet the person behind the blog.

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    2. I stumbled on your blog after deciding I had to have a agave celsii UCB for my new garden. It's available through san marcos growers. I love all your pictures

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  2. Lovely, just lovely.

    It's a grey, dreary, rainy day here, so all this green is a definite pick me up!

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    1. Whoda thought? Green from Los Angeles...

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  3. It is so, so fun to see a blogger friend's garden in person, and I'm thrilled for you that you got to visit Denise's. And envious! You expressed perfectly how she photographs her garden -- dreamy, romantic images. They're always stunning but don't always give a sense of the larger scene, which your photos do. This is why it's so great, as a reader, to see a garden through the eyes of different bloggers. Anyway, thanks for sharing your visit. Denise has created a beautiful, fascinating collector's garden, with such fun ways of displaying pots. I particularly like the little agave perched atop the metal grate laid over concrete columns.

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    1. I am convinced I could return again and again and see something new each time, she's got so much "good stuff" tucked in everywhere. Someday I hope to be standing in your garden!

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  4. Oh my goodness. I'm all inspired right now! Tis a foggy, foggy day but I feel the outdoors pulling, pulling me.....

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    1. Yay! That's a good feeling isn't it?

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  5. It's just fascinating seeing Denise's garden like this. I have always wanted those longer views and your tour does not disappoint. Denise has a beautiful eye for display and planting and, of course, a plant collection to die for. Thanks so much for rounding out the picture in this comprehensive and gorgeous way!

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    1. Glad to do it Jane! I love the sense of mystery Denise has built (whether intentionally or not) around her garden. I wasn't sure if it was just me who yearned for the camera to tilt up and pan around a bit.

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  6. Just like Denise's photography, her garden is dreamy! So many exotic plants with their fabulous colours and shapes, wonderful! She grows her plants really well and it must have been an absolute walking through her garden. Actually it's not that dissimilar to your equally gorgeous garden!

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    1. That's a huge compliment, thank you! Since Andrew was with me on this visit, and the one to Gerhard's fabulous garden, I was wishing he'd had the chance to see yours too...

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  7. Loree, you've done the post I never seem to be able to, so this is a record I will treasure almost as much as your visit. That variegated manihot has since lost all its leaves and some of the big grasses have been cut back, pots have been moved, but the bloom trusses are still on the tetrapanax -- might as well see the whole progression. At least the flies are gone! It was a wonderful holiday treat to see you and Andrew. There'll always be a bowl of cilantro dip waiting for you here!

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    1. Thank you Denise, I was worried I might have pulled the curtain back a little too far. A friend once mentioned that visiting my house she was never sure what she was going to see. Things were always in motion, different vignettes coming and going. I think it must be the same visiting your garden.

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  8. What a fabulous garden, thanks so much for showing us so much of it. I do follow Denise's blog, but she doesn't give such a long, loving look at her own place. I don't recognize most of what she grows, but it's fun to look at.

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    1. Fun indeed, glad you enjoyed the visit Alison.

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  9. I've got to have a black fence! Love it. It looks like it is just stained, is that right? I do read her blog and I am glad you gave me some perspective about the look and layout of her garden. Great post. I'm adding the fence project to my list of things to-do (plain ol' black stain?)

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    1. Yes I think so, black stain. I'll try and remember to ask her and report my findings. Or maybe she'll see this and share the answer?

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  10. Wonderful to see Denise's garden through a different camera lens--most excellent photos! Everything looks so well cared for and of course all beautifully arranged. Must have been like seeing what your own garden would be in a warmer climate.

    Do stop by if you ever get the chance, but don't expect it to be so nice as Denise's!

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    1. Thank you Hoov, and yes, I got that feeling both here and at Gerhard's, thinking several times...if only I could put that in the ground! I will take you up on that, and I expect I'll be wow'd (and try and overlook the roses...hehehe).

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  11. Wow, just wow. It is so fabulous to,see the longviews of Denise's amazing personal garden. One I have on my bucket list to see in person. I confess you have given a totally different perspective on it as a whole, and in part. Thanks for such a treat you shared with your wonderful photos and artistic eye.

    Cindy H.

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    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment Cindy.

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  12. Denise's garden is exquisite--so well curated and edited. Truly, a plant collector's dream. In addition to the plants, I also like all the artistic touches that are apparent throughout. Denise has an impeccable eye for what looks good!

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    1. She does! Taste and creativity as well as a huge amount of plant savvy. I'm really liking the idea of an L.A. Fling...

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  13. An early Christmas for you and what fun! I have been long been longing for wide views of Denise's garden. You nailed them.

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    1. Have you been there in person Sue?

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  14. Spectacular! I felt that way about seeing YOUR garden the first and hopefully NOT last time. Beautiful post!

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  15. How fabulous! a magnificent garden. I love seeing it through your camera, thanks for tagging me on this!

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  16. I have admired Denise's garden for sometime, even if only virtually, and it is really nice to see it from another gardener/photographer's eye. It reminds of the the time Pam Penick showed me a different view of your own garden.

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    1. I still remember how startled I was looking at Pam's photos and realizing it was my garden!

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  17. What a great tour of Denise's garden! While I recognize many of the plants from Denise's own posts, the overall picture is much different than the one I carried in my mind. Your photos provide a context between plants and areas I didn't have before. I love the Acacia in the front and all the spectacular agaves. The garden is spikier and more mature than mine, which, like its gardener, is still seeking its focus.

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    1. Oh gosh, I kind of hope you don't find too much focus. I like the different areas and personalities of your garden Kris!

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  18. Oh my, that was beautiful! All of it! I'm going to have to follow her blog - thank you for the gift!

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    1. Oh yes, do...I think you'll become a serious fan.

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  19. I bet you didn't want to leave, Loree. Denise's garden is fantastic. I'm partial to any and all Agave attenuata. And I love her rusty stuff. Great post.

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    1. Ha! Yes. It was only as we were making our way up to Pasadena that I realized just how long we were there, and I didn't want to leave. I give you all the credit for introducing me to Denise's blog, thank you!

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  20. I can sense your excitement in this post. I dont know Denise's blog so am off to check it out as whilst I cant grow many of these plants in my garden I do love them. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Did you get to meet Denise in San Francisco?

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  21. OMG The plants...sigh. Such a collection of beautiful plants and the garden itself looks as interesting and charming as the gardener herself! Thanks Denise and Loree for this delicious tour!

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    1. Indeed, the garden reflects it's creator.

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  22. Fun photos! I am hoping for no more cold so I can keep leaving all my potted half-hardy Agave outside. They look so pretty in winter in pots, until I miscalculate and leave them out one night too long... thanks for the inspiring tour of a fab garden.

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    1. I'm jealous that you can even think about potted agaves outdoors this early in the season! (if not the cold, then the rain would get them here).

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  23. Ohh, it is so nice to see Denise´s garden!!! I´m so happy you were able to visit her!! what a fun visit!

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    1. It was such a thrill, now if someday I could come visit you!

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  24. What a garden, and what amazing taste in plants! Love all the rusty industrial bits throughout.

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    1. I can see the two of you being very dangerous when it comes to getting your vintage shopping on.

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  25. Gah, I'm so jealous! Such an impeccable garden and Denise is delightful, so you can't even hate her for it.

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