I've written about my visit to Marcia Donahue's garden last December (with my then fellow Pacific Horticulture Society board members), as well as our stops at Keeyla Meadows and Raul Zumba's gardens. We made one other stop that day, at the garden of Jana Olsen.
Jana's home is tucked into a corner on a very step hillside in Berkeley. Some people might consider the site un-gardenable, but not Jana.
Unfortunately she had to run off to a meeting soon after we arrived, so we didn't get the benefit of touring the garden with its creator. In her brief welcome it was obvious she's a warm and generous lady who enjoys what she's created.
That's a very happy fern... am I the only one who thinks of glue dots?
Rather pretty too.
OMG! It just gets better! Palm tree or fern? (fern)
To get to the back garden you pass under a deck. Because Jana isn't the type to leave any space unimproved, this dark area is dubbed "Grotto of Santa Basura" and decorated with the collected trash (Basura is Spanish for trash) found in the ravine behind her home during clean up (now a garden with a stream running through it).
Next is the Graveyard of Rusty Tools...
Here's where you might want to click over to the blog Quirky Berkeley and read the story on Jana: Jana Olson’s flamboyant confidence of style. As for our tour we're back out into the afternoon light and heading down into the ravine...
A timing reminder. This was December 7th. A beautiful day that felt like the best autumn day back home in Portland.
Cordyline 'Cha Cha'
I was awe-struck. The (now) cracked and crumbling retaining wall was the work of a previous homeowner.
Rather than demolish it and pay to have it hauled away (every piece hauled back up those steep stairs and under the deck/through the grotto) she turned it into a feature. In her words: "Yeah, I was thinking since we live in earthquake country, why not emphasize it? (Although I think the wall is collapsing do to soil movement and lack of footing). Anyway, it sat there for many years in its crooked state before I decided to embellish it..."
And embellish it she did...
Of course it helps to have artist Marcia Donahue as a friend.
Her pieces definitely add a touch of class to the installation.
As do the plants Jana chose, I believe this Agave vilmoriniana?
From above, looking down.
I could barely tear myself away. This was just so damn cool!
I did eventually move on, where I enjoyed Marcia's turkey tail fungus.
And more ferns.
At the bottom of the ravine was this slippery passage to the other side. I'm a klutz and wasn't wearing appropriate shoes (I never am). I chose to retrace my steps and meet the group back at the top (really I wanted to walk past the broken wall again...).
Looking up towards the house...
And of course, because this is Berkeley, there were bromeliads just tucked in here and there like it was no big deal.
And spider plant? (sorry, that's all I know this houseplant as)
Back up by the house we came out of the shadows and into the sun.
What a garden! Thank you Jana, for sharing it with us. I do hope to return someday.
Weather Diary, June 10: Hi 86, Low 58/ Precip 0
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