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the desert gardens of Steve Martino


I’m checking the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days website daily now, anxiously awaiting full publication of this year’s schedule. I’m expanding my radius to include Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, Palm Springs, California, New Mexico, anyplace I’ll be likely to find some inspiring desert gardens. I’m hoping gardens designed by Steve Martino will be included on the tour. Here’s why:


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From Mr. Martin’s Palm Springs Garden Pinterest board.


5 comments to the desert gardens of Steve Martino

  • David Feix

    I’m a big fan of Steve’s work also, and love the sculptural qualities of his best work, and how he really makes concrete walls and hardscape rendered in vivid colors as backdrops to his desert plantings. That photo of the fountain pools with backlit crowded beds of columnar Euphorbias(?) and travertine paving is just stunning.

    If you’ve got a trip in mind to the San Francisco Bay Area, I’d love to show you around to some of my client’s gardens. A different plant palette with less stickies and a lusher aesthetic perhaps, but it would be most entertaining to talk gardens with you!

    Hoping to join Chris Gramp’s group down to Santa Barbara and Lotus Land in April, probably my only garden touring this spring as I’ve got to keep focused on paying down debts.

  • Denise

    David, I wouldn’t think of passing up an offer like that, so if I find myself in the Bay Area this spring I’ll drop you an email. The “dry lush” aesthetic is what I’m still chasing, until drought really forces my hand, which is fine as well because I’ve always loved my “stickies” too, as you put it. And look how just a couple gaura impart a sense of lushness in that first photo. And that “pleated” golden wall — wow.

  • ks

    So clean and elegant. Results so difficult to achieve if one just keeps collecting !

  • Perfection for the agave and cactus lover. I’m one.

  • Denise

    @Kathy, isn’t it great that there are those who don’t collect plants, so that designers like this get a blank slate?
    @Me too, Jenny!

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