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.
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.
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...
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