My garden is my palette. It’s a place where I experiment with plants and spatial arrangements. I think of my retreat in terms of the Japanese word Shibui, which loosely means a quiet feeling. My home is my sanctuary, a place to let my mind wander free and a place for contemplation.
I started work on this garden in June of 2007. The beach lot, 40’x100’ is not grandiose and my goal is to engage different sensory experiences when passing through each room.
At the street, I built an entry gate of 2”x2” redwood which affords security and privacy, yet offers public observance into the entry courtyard. Bougainvillea drapes softly over the cement board wall that buffers the front garden from the street. Inside, lacey tree ferns mixed with flax and asparagus fern serve as the understory to queen palms that transition the garden in from the street.
For the pathways, I chose ¾” crushed rock not only because it’s low maintenance, it also requires no water. And it’s a lot easier to walk on than a rounder stone - these lock into each other. In water-starved California, I think of gravel as the new lawn.
Past the main house, the garden opens to an outdoor lounge layered with a variety of staghorn ferns, antlers, and glass hurricane lanterns filled with beeswax candles. A custom designed teak day bed rests between corten steel planters where olive trees canopy the room.
An eclectic mix of objects weave through the landscape: on the painting shed hangs a red wooden mold of a battleship part; an art piece “Jack”, which is what I called my father, is composed out of my recycled coffee cups; and a play on the classic garden medallion is a cattle feed pan in my orchid nursery.
Purposefully the pathway changes texture, from slab to slate to gravel, to create pause in the different parts of the garden. A backdrop of Boston ivy crawls across the cement board fence behind a row of gingko trees. Both deciduous plants were chosen to impart seasonality in a climate of endless summer.
How often does this garden change? Certainly with the season, my mood, and constant inspiration. I invite you for a visit.