Folly Bowl

Another garden preview for the upcoming Gardening Under Mediterranean Skies symposium to be held this September 23rd to the 26th through Pacific Horticulture.

Photographer MB Maher and designer Dustin Gimbel of Second Nature Garden Design visited artists Sue Dadd and James Griffith at their home and garden which will be on the upcoming tour. Since I wasn’t there for this preview, I wouldn’t presume to attempt an approximation in words. These amazing images more than suffice. If the tour isn’t already sold out, I’d make the effort.

What could be more evocative of the Mediterranean than to have your own amphitheater, where every summer, when the sun sets and the stars and twinkly lights start to glimmer, artists of your invitation entertain you and friends for a summer evening?


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Dadd and Griffith dragged and carted all the soil, all the broken concrete into this steep ravine, materials found strewn about their street when the civic plumbing lines were refurbished, to make this extraordinary place, what they call the Folly Bowl. Dadd and Griffith have said they had no particular plan in mind when they began the project after buying the property in 1999.

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I am at a complete loss for words.

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Apart from the astonishing physical creation of the steep amphitheater, the planting is sophisticated, appropriate, gorgeous, and flourishing.

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More photos at MB Maher’s slideshow.

7 thoughts on “Folly Bowl

  1. First is the name, which hints at the creativity to come. I can tell by your photos that these guys are designers extraordinaire and not afraid of a little hard work–okay a LOT of REALLY HARD work!! And look at the results? I wonder if they rent it out for weddings and such.

    If this isn’t enough to tease gardeners out of the woodwork nothing is. I hope you have a great time.

  2. Since PH first announced the symposium, I’ve lamented not being in the neighborhood. Now I’m well and truly sad.

    Thank you for the glimpse of this amazing place. Do enjoy!

  3. Dear Denise, As you say, this garden is an extraordinary feat of sheer hard work and boundless vision. I do so like the idea of ‘green theatres’ where a space is created outside for performances with room for onlookers to view the whole. Opera in the garden is becoming a very popular summer pastime in the UK and is perfect provided the weather holds!!

  4. Hi Megan, mine is losing its strong color but still holding on.
    Kathy, you have had quite the summer already!
    Grace, there’s a select few that can appreciate the work involved, and you’re certainly one of them.
    Hi Jane, like you, I may see this garden this year only through these pictures, but one day I’ll make it.
    Edith, it is a timeless, enchanting idea, isn’t it?

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