Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The garden of Erin and Brian Ray, a Study Weekend visit

The next garden I visited, as part of the Study Weekend event, was one I'd wanted to see for a long while; the garden of Erin and Brian Ray...

It's always a good sign when you park near a garden and get distracted by the neighbor's plants en-route. Love this Erica arborea...

And look! A Parasaurolophus (thanks Andrew) taking a dip...

Okay, this is our garden destination...

Erin recently acquired this Agave ovatifolia and has high hopes for it. Irrigation, planted in sun, with great drainage. This will be one to watch.

From our event brochure: "Twenty-three years ago, these gardeners started to work in their small multi-level lot out of necessity. Their new-to-them old house had crumbling terraces, a rotting patio overhang, and overgrown everything. So they started ripping out the old stuff and then just kept going. They became hooked on their garden! Erin eventually left her "day" job to pursue landscape design, and as her expertise and tastes evolved so has the garden..."

The mixed plantings spoke to me, as I have a similar style.

There is a tiny strip at the top of that wall which is their property, otherwise we're looking at the neighbor's place. The wall is the side of their driveway.

Lots of sempervivum tucked in the wall where ever there was room.

Agave bracteosa

Aloe striatula

Oh! And these...

Marcia Donahue pieces which a covet...

Climbing the steps up to the front door...

Looking back on the front porch sitting area before walking down the narrow side yard...

I closed the gate to get a photo, doing so freaked out a few of my fellow visitors.

Stepping into the multi-level back garden...

Before I climbed to the upper level I had to investigate the areas along the back of the house...

And on the other side of the house—the working area—aka pot storage and plants in waiting, as well as canoes!

The back garden, as viewed from just outside the "working area"...

And climbing up...

I suspect this sitting area in a far corner is well used...

I wonder if Erin put these wall hangings together herself, or bought them pre-planted?

Looking back down to the lower level...

And up at bananas!

Another sit spot...

And it was time to take the stairs back down...

A few detail shots...

The vibrant foliage above the orange elephant is Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Ogon Nishiki'.

Delosperma something or other...

Cotula hispida aka "silvery buns of goodness"

And on my way back to the car I am again distracted by another garden...

Weather Diary, Aug 26: Hi 88, Low 56/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. All those levels and fabulous plant combos make it seem like a huge garden. Love the idea of a sitting area right outside the front door.

    1. It certainly did feel larger than it was. And yes me too, an opportunity to watch the neighborhood.

  2. It must be nice for her to live in a neighborhood with so many other great gardens and gardeners. I love that driveway wall full of Sempervivum and Sedum. So many great takeaways here -- like the window shade! I'm also wondering what form the "freak-out" took -- "How dare you touch that?" or "Oh no, we're locked in?"

  3. I love it when gardeners use every single inch of their space like this. I imagine it would take a good day or more to fully explore this one. Those rusted metal screens are incredible.

    1. I would have loved to sit awhile and really soak it all up, "unfortunately" I had more gardens to tour!

  4. Some of those plants looked unreal. A most interesting place. Then the neighbors carpet of what looks to me like wooly thyme. It is probably more exotic than that but that is what it looks like in this photo. Such creative people with the gate, window shade etc.

    1. I wish I could tell you if it was indeed wooly thyme, but I can't remember!

  5. It's a tasteful and well designed garden; I enjoyed the visit. I agree with Alison, the window shade is fantastic. I also admire the pavers, specifically in the parking strip around the peeling-bark tree. And the chairs: eclectic and fun.

    1. I meant to ask her about the fabric for the shade, no doubt something vintage.

  6. Love it ! Love it ! Love it all ! :) x

  7. So glad you gave me the heads up on this one Loree, it was excellent !

  8. Okay, I'm ready to move in. ;)


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