Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Views and Vistas California Style

As I mentioned in the previous posts about my experience in California, I felt like I was gawking at everything that came into view.  I was in awe.  Some of the views were small, courtyards or hillsides, others were as far as the eye could see.
The first garden is Matt Gill's garden, filled with fantastic sculptures that he made in his workshop on the lower level of this property.


 The backyard backs up to a highway overpass.  The hillside is filled with amazing plants, holding the soil and rock in place.

For those who wondered about the dog bone in the last post, here is another view, along with the highway high above the garden.   I love the bone, suspended on a support, in homage to his pet.

From the Gill garden we went back into town, to the Organic Mechanic garden.  It is a small courtyard garden in the middle of a few apartment buildings.  We went down a pathway.....


Through a portal....


And into bold plants with bold colors.  This garden was filled to the brim with plants and interesting hardscapes.  A tiny vista that takes you far away from the city ----


Large plants created rooms within the courtyard. Small views with a grand feeling.

That afternoon we were taken across the water to the Wave Garden.  As we walked down the street from where the buses dropped us off I marveled at the gardens.  

The Wave Garden was so full of color and sculpture and killer views.  

The Conservancy of Flowers in the San Francisco Botanical Garden was amazing on the inside, but also lent itself to beautiful sunset vistas, glowing in the last rays of the day.

The next morning we had views and vistas to think about as Saxon Holt lead a workshop on 'Filling the Frame' in the Botanical Garden.  There were some wonderful long views through the gardens and beyond.

Many of you know me for all the tree posts over the years I have done.  I love seeing tall trees with all their scaffolding -- another great view. 

Our workshop instruction was to fill the frame and tell a story.....lead the viewer to want more.  This curved pathway beckoned one to come further into the garden. 

There were some long views, all the way to the telecom tower on one of the far off hills.  

Sunset gardens had more of these grand trees...doesn't this view make you want to climb up into its branches?  

On the other side of the building from where we had a short presentation on some new plant varieties was an expansive bed of grasses, hiding a covered patio in the shade.

 Filoli, the country estate we visited, was out in Woodside, CA.  The estate was built in the early 1900's and its name comes from the owner, Mr. William Bowers Bourn's favorite credo- "Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life".  Money came from gold mining and Spring Valley Water, the estate is on the southern end of Crystal Springs Lake.   It certainly had the long views.

In some respects it reminded me of the Biltmore with grand gardens.  I chose not to go into the house and fill my time in the gardens.  Some of the Fling attendees did go inside and have posted about it.  You can find the link to more posts here.

Rebecca Sweet's garden had some quiet spaces, this one in the front yard.  Love the view into the cool green shade.


After you go through the gate to get into her backyard, you are welcomed with the bold color of a Bougainvillea and lush beds leading you to the back of the garden and her workshop.


Small courtyards in the front yard of the next garden lent themselves for some smaller vistas. Testa-Vought Gardens were a welcome spot on this hot day.

Their views from the covered patio were of a bocce ball court and an inviting swimming pool.  Just looking at the water made me feel cooler...or was it some watermelon served by the homeowners?  Wonderful!


The next morning was incredibly hot, seemed fitting as we were in Ruth Bancroft's Garden of desert plant material and sculptures.   Cactus with a backdrop of flowering shrubs and bold colored artwork made for some lively views.


One of the docents wanted to make sure we had this view...he called it Longhorn Cattle Cactus.  Not sure of the correct name but the 'horns' were shaped like a TX longhorn.


We lunched at our next stop, Dudan's gardens.  I felt as though we were on top of the world.  We ate under the shade of a grand tree on a stone wall.  What an inviting setting.


Views as far as the eye could see.  

The house and garden were on the top of a knoll, or a mountain, or a hill, not sure what to call it, but the views were 360 degrees.  Literally on top of the world.

Under the tree was a small pond, inviting dragonflies and hummingbirds to swoop and dart around us.



How would you like this to be your view out your kitchen window?  Ok, minus the Garden Bloggers.  The Nichols garden wasn't large but again, one packed full of color and interesting plant material...and views.


Their home is on a sloped lot and every inch was planted.  So many of the plants were so large, yet they seemed to be perfect for the space they inhabited.

The garden of Keeyla Meadows was filled with interesting views, usually with one of her pieces of artwork as the focal point.  The day was so bright, photographing it well was hard.

Views, vistas, focal points-- a vital part of these gorgeous gardens.  Views framed by plant material or focal points with sculptures were great lessons in design and significantly added to my experience in San Francisco.  Stay tuned for the final posting on bold color!!

©Copyright 2013 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

30 comments:

  1. Dear Janet,

    I so love your perspective and a view of the gardens I didn't get to see. And yahoo on Longhorns. Have to say that I was thrilled to meet a fellow "tree person," though I'm not knowledgeable like you. Still, I was more impressed about the trees we saw than anything else.

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    1. Linda, thought you would enjoy the Longhorns! Yes, trees are my focus...and there is a lot I don't know about them!

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  2. What a whirlwind of stunning gardens it was! Thanks for the retrospective.

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  3. So fun to revisit all the gardens from another's eyeballs (and camera lens!). I could do our tour many times, and thru the Fling postings, actually get to! Thanks, Janet

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    1. Jeannie, I enjoy that too! Great meeting you Jeannie!

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  4. California is not so very far from us, but still a different world of plants. To you it must have seemed almost like another plante. So glad you got to go.

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    1. Ricki, yes, I think CA is a world unto itself! I am glad to have gone.

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  5. What an amazing variety of gardens. It must have been spectacular.

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  6. Lead the viewer to want more, eh? OK. You got me on the wave garden. Who can resist the view of the bay in the background. I want more of that.

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    1. Ray, you want more? Did you see the other posts? :-) I loved that view from the Wave Garden...outstanding!

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  7. Dear Queen of Seaford,
    what a wonderful sight - isn't it always interesting to visit the gardens of other people? I'm a bit slow at commenting (and blogging), because since 2 weeks I work hard on my website. Have a nice weekend! Britta

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    1. Britta, it is wonderful to visit other gardens, I really enjoyed this trip.

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  8. And I think I have a challenge gardening with my view - some of those are jaw-dropping... Lots of interesting ideas in your shots too.

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    1. Janet, your views are outstanding too! These views are almost Hollywood-like.

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  9. I enjoyed every minute of this "tour," Janet! Thanks for explaining the dog bone, even more special knowing the significance behind it. So many beautiful gardens, it's hard to comment on all, but I was especially struck by the urban courtyard. What a wonderful oasis for those living in the apartments!

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    1. Rose, so glad you could tour this way since you weren't able to come this year. I understand about not being able to comment on all of it....I had trouble bringing it all together to post!

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  10. So many gardens were missed when I could not attend but thankfully Janet your captures have brought them to life in all their stunning glory.

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    1. Donna, thanks for coming along through the blog posts.

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  11. Such a great overview of all the amazing gardens we saw during the fling. The quality of your photos is excellent.

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    1. Jason, wow, thanks! I grow every year with my photos....it is funny to look back over the years and see how much I have improved.

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  12. Janet! thank you so much for sharing! I will certainly try to go to Portland next year. Hope to see you there!

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    1. Tatyana, I sure hope you are able to come, would love to meet you!!

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  13. Having never been to California it almost looks like a foreign country. Maybe Italy? Hot and dry. It is very fascinating and seems so varied. It sounds like your trip was fun filled and packed with very neat things to see and do!

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    1. Tina, you would have been like me...oooohhing and ahhhhing at everything! I thought some Mediterranean country, so yes, Italy would be a good example.

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  14. It is nice to have this chance to get a taste for the experience of meeting other bloggers and seeing all the sights. What a diverse range of gardens. Everything is so tropical in comparison with my own garden. They are look amazing!

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    1. Jennifer, that was so much variety of gardens and plant material...just wonderful.

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