The first garden owned by Messrs Young and Wong was a beautiful small garden, clothed mainly with cacti and succulents set amongst bold groups of stone. I particularly liked the unique bottle-based garden seat in the front. At the side of the house was a paved area incorporating a surprisingly attractive use of broken concrete. I realise I didn't take an overview of this garden which was mainly filled with the pool which is such an essential part of so many Californian gardens.
|Arriving at the first garden|
|Nice young Echinocactus|
|Some lovely specimen stonework|
|A unique seat and fun gathering the building materials!|
|A surprisingly acceptable way of using broken concrete - work in progress|
|Water feature behind the main pool|
|Simple but dramatic planting of Agave stricta|
The Grace Miller House is a traditional Mid Century Modern House with a garden refurbished to its original plans. Sadly photography was not allowed (why I ask?) but as the garden was tediously boring you haven't missed anything!
|NO PHOTOGRAPHS ALLOWED INSIDE GARDEN!|
|The owner explains the garden|
|Great patterns but possibly more planting needed?|
|Rear garden and ever present pools|
|Outdoor living space|
|The Japanese influence?|
|Not sure if this pic is the right way up!|
At the fourth property, the front garden only was on show, actually quite a plantman's garden with a wide range of species. Individually built seats, some dramatic garden urns and a cascade of succulents adding interest to this garden.
|Packed with plants|
|Sense of humour!|
|Pleasant wall mural|
|Love the vibrant colour of this!|
|Just love the positioning of these urns|
On the opposite side of the road we were invited to walk by the frontage of 256 Palo Verde Ave. The arid planting here is pleasant enough, although by no means spectacular. I did however rather like the classical post box! One day I must do a blog on post boxes as there are many different styles from the mundane, through the elaborate, to the humorous.
|Yes - its a post box!|
The final garden at Ma Kettle's house was a wonderfully exuberant Mediteranean landscape around a 1931 residence. A colourful mix of plants fills the garden and attracts wildlife and many bird species. I loved the huge bush size poinsettia which seemed to be thriving and sheltered enough to have avoided our frost a few weeks ago.There are two koi ponds, one of which is also home to a a small group of very tame turtles.
|This pic is for Mark and Gaz!|
|What makes you think people drink a lot in Palm Springs?|
|Late Christmas colour!|
Now I'll tell you why I was critical! Initially its a bit of a mystery tour as one has no idea which gardens are open - all top secret! (By the way - many thanks to Marty for acquiring this ticket for me after the event had been sold out!) One has to buy a ticket in advance, having no idea what will be on show, turn up at a registration point on the day and only then does one get a list of the locations. Each garden is only open for a specified hour, so all the gardens have to be done in the same order with most of the 140 ticket holders arriving at the same time! Good planning!
The first garden was over-run with docents in orange tee-shirts. At the second garden, photography was forbidden - so sorry no pics! This meant I was early arriving at the third garden which wasn't yet open, so I and a crowd of others had to wait in the street as the docents hadn't arrived from their previous allocations. Finding the fourth location was a challenge as the map provided was incorrect and indicated a continuous road that didn't exist - good one! Once again we all had to wait in the street and the garden owner finally deigned to open 15 minutes after the designated time. Overall I got the distinct impression that as visitors we were generally not wanted and there under sufferance - so unlike the warm and generous welcome at so many NGS gardens. Were these really the only six gardens in Palms Springs that would open to visitors? Were they really the best or at least unique? Was this really the neatest way to organise this event?
And of course so unlike NGS gardens, there were no cream teas on the way, although there was a reception at the Saguaro hotel which I will tell you more about in the next post!