Showing by category: Public Gardens

Festina Lente – Filoli’s winter garden
 Festina Lente.  Powerful words used since ancient times by the likes of emperors, military commanders, authors, artists and even Shakespeare himself. Translated, festina lente means 'hurry slowly'.  Personally, I think  my neighbor's bumper sticker says it best -  'Hurry up and slow down'. Out of the corner of my eye I discovered this plaque placed high up on one of Filoli's many garden archways.  I pondered its meaning as I slowly wandered through the garden on this cold and quiet winter morning. It was one of those magical days as I was not only scheduled to speak at this breathtaking read more
There's something magical about a winter garden, and I never pass up an opportunity to visit one - especially one that's known for looking it's best during the bleakest months of the year.  While attending a family wedding in Seattle this past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting the J. Witt Winter Garden in the Washington Park Arboretum.  I can't emphasize enough what a treat it was to see such unexpected beauty on a cold and drizzly day. The timing couldn't have been better either, as I'm just now finishing the manuscript for my new book 'Creating Harmony in read more
Earlier this week I wrote about my visit to Cornerstone Gardens and showed you the Red Lantern garden created by the amazing duo Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot. Today I wanted to introduce you to their other installation titled 'White Cloud'.  You would be correct in saying I've found my new favorite contemporary artists. read more
Cornerstone Garden Grasses
Sonoma's Cornerstone Gardens is one of my very favorite public gardens to visit any time of year.  In my opinion, though, the fall is the best time of all. Not only are the summer crowds long gone but the colors of fall are just beginning to explode.  No longer filled with grapes, the surrounding vineyards shimmer with shades of gold and red, and fall's soft and slanted sunlight peeks through the olive trees. And to top things off, the grasses (which have remained a steady source of green and gold throughout the year) are blooming and in their full glory. read more
As a landscape designer and garden writer I see lots and lots of gardens. And while I’m a huge fan of personalizing your garden with whatever art captures your heart, lately I seem to be drawn to selectively placed, oversized sculptures. I think this is because my own life is so hectic right now, and I crave the calming effect  these sculptures have on my whirling and tired brain.  My favorites are those larger-than-life sculptures that are strategically situated in the garden, without distraction from nearby plants, structures or any other elements. (more…) read more
While driving around Pasadena early the other morning, I had a few hours to spare before the Huntington Gardens opened. Imagine my surprise when, while looking for a coffee shop, I accidentally stumbled upon this treasure!  Tucked away in the middle of a residential neighborhood is one of the most exciting public gardens I think I've ever seen. This 3-acre garden (open every day of the year) is a collaboration between the McKenney family, the City of Pasadena and Pasadena Water & Power.  Designed by Mayita Dinos, it's inspired by Jan Smithen's book Sun Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style with read more
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at The Oregon Garden, located in the stunning Willamette Valley town of Silverton. I am so fortunate that I had booked an extra day for this trip as I was completely unaware of the sheer magnitude of this impressive garden. More than just a beautiful space, this garden consists of 80 acres of teaching and demonstration gardens, all seamlessly flowing from one to the next. Conservation is a theme that runs throughout the gardens, from teaching about the importance of local water eco-systems and forestry to helping gardeners create their own read more
I can look at succulents all day long.  I never grow tired of their colors, shapes and forms and the infinite number of ways that creative gardeners use them in their gardens. A few months ago, while rushing to get to the airport, my friend insisted we stop at Corona del Mar's Sherman Library and Gardens, since I hadn't been there in at least 15 years.  Holy Cow how things have changed!  While the quaint and charming building was the same, I don't remember their succulent garden looking anything like it does now.  Designed and maintained by Mathew Maggio, these succulents read more
Having spent a delightful morning touring the San Diego Botanical Garden last week, I must admit I was most smitten by these life-size topiaries.  Pat Hammer, Director of Operations of the Botanical Garden, created these incredible works of art, going so far as making clay masks of some of the members of the garden and Horticultural Society to use as their faces! Amazing, don't you think?   read more
While in Connecticut last week, visiting great gardens and great friends, I fell in love with the different chairs artfully arranged at Innisfree Garden.  Innisfree is a 150-acre public garden inspired by ancient Chinese design, and one of the most peaceful public spaces I've ever seen. If you're like us here in California, sweltering away this hot Fourth of July weekend, pull up a seat, grab a glass of lemonade and enjoy the cool breezes for awhile! (more…) read more
We kicked off the first week of summer by spending a few days at my favorite place in the whole world - Lake Tahoe.  Due to our unusually cool spring and summer, it was waaay too cold to spend any time on the beach, so one day we took a hike at D.L. Bliss state park.  The lake's shades of sapphire, turqoise and deep blue took my breath away and I couldn't help but take a few photos to share with all of you. (more…) read more
I try and visit Sonoma's Cornerstone Gardens as often as I can, as their gardens are constantly changing and I always see something new that I swear I've never seen before!   I've written about them in the past, but this time I was really captivated by a few of the fences surrounding some of the gardens. . This one, for example, is just a simple wire fence with eucalyptus leaves stapled to it.  While you might think it would be destroyed in a single season, here in California it's lasted a few years. . Here's a few more... (more…) read more
While in San Francisco recently, I stumbled upon this community garden sandwiched in between a really busy road and an apartment building. It's a community garden built and maintained by a homeless shelter and surrounding neighbors (which is cool enough!) but I loved all the creative (and free) living wall elements in it.  All the colorful and friendly painted signs made this such a homey and happy place to be.   read more
The inaugural Late Show Gardens at Cornerstone in awesome event... read more