a holiday visit with Dustin Gimbel

Now that garden designer Dustin Gimbel has branched off into ceramics, I can buy a few holiday presents and visit his incredibly inspiring garden.

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Coming in the little side gate, there’s this silvery vision of Acacia pendula, faced down by a mature leucospermum loaded with flower buds. A new planting of aloes catches the light. I still get palpitations every time I visit.

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Acacia podalyrifolia on the opposite side of the porch has replaced the Arbutus ‘Marina’ that stubbornly failed to thrive here.
It was uncharacteristically windy today, the first real “weather” we’ve had in Los Angeles, starting off with the previous night’s measurable rainfall. Note the Acacia podalyrifolia bowing in the wind.
The totem sentinels seem to have proliferated since my last visit, accentuating a really strong, syncopated flow he’s been working on in the front garden with octagonal pavers and festuca.

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The view under Acacia pendula, trained beautifully on a rebar arbor, looking down the main path at the front of the house toward the driveway

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In this view, to the right of the main path, is where his signature totems congregate. The small pavers allow for a “custom” journey through the garden, an intimate, immersive engagement with the plants. Dustin uses berms to build topographical interest into the front garden. The stones to the left rim the berm containing the leucospermum. At the far end is a berm built up with “urbanite” aka broken concrete, which abuts the driveway. Of course, drainage in the berms is excellent too.

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The berm by the driveway, planted with echium, adenanthos, centaurea, kalanchoe, and lots of other treasures. The dark green ground cover is Frankenia thymifolia. Luminous Yucca ‘Bright Star’ needs no introduction.

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We played around with his new “tinker toy” ceramic pieces in the front garden.

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I continually nag him about getting a shop website up for his ceramic pieces. He promised it will happen in the new year. Wonderful shapes and texture from box balls, grasses, Agave mitis var. albidior through a scrim of dripping acacia.

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The Gaudi-esque tinker toys among pavers, grasses, small succulents.

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I’m always impressed by the captivating visual power of Dustin’s garden, the compounding effect of the pure geometric, organic shapes and forms he favors. Just beyond that hedge, it’s almost a shock to the system when the magic quickly dissolves into ordinary sidewalk, street, cars, etc., etc.

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Everywhere you look the planting is almost unbearably gorgeous.

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In the back garden, I was able to check on the progress of the wood screen which hides the propagation tables.

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I gathered my holiday purchases (which must remain a secret for now), very pleased with myself for combining business and inspiration in one visit. You can find more of Dustin’s ceramics and garden designs on his Instagram feed.
Have a great weekend.

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10 Responses to a holiday visit with Dustin Gimbel

  1. Kris P says:

    It’s a really interesting garden. I love all the silvery touches and I was completely taken with the hexagonal boxes attached to the wood screen – part shelves/shadow boxes, part vertical garden display, part art installation – altogether wonderful!

  2. Alison says:

    Those six-sided frames on the wall are fabulous! What a wonderful treat this visit must have been. I follow Dustin on Instagram, and his ceramic pieces are so cool. I hope you manage to convince him to get a website set up to sell his work. I would buy it in a heartbeat.

  3. Ah yes, thank you, what a smorgasbord of beauty! Just what these snow and ice burned eyes needed.

  4. Denise says:

    @Kris, these photos are just the tip of the iceberg. Dustin’s garden is dense with stimuli!
    @Alison, let’s hope he gets that website going. There were lots of other pieces I coveted.
    @Loree, what a winter you’ve been having with the rampaging polar vortex. The icy photos coming out of the PNW are unbelievable.

  5. hb says:

    Dustin’s garden looks great! Its fun to see it again and to see the progress and changes in the plants. Thanks for the photos.

  6. Tim says:

    Captivating and unbearably gorgeous are exactly the right descriptors. I’m definitely in awe of the artistry and design sense that does not seem to overpower an impressive collection of wonderful plants. The tinker toys are wonderful, as are the repeated hexagons. This really makes me wish that I weren’t dealing with a virtual frozen wasteland these days.
    Amid all of that soothing blue and green, that bright star yucca is delightfully jarring and garish. I mean that as compliment; I love it!

  7. Gerhard Bock says:

    I love this garden. Stunning plants (those acacias!!) and perfectly integrated art. Beautiful and inspiring. Can’t wait to find out what you bought!

  8. Anna K says:

    So much to love! I covet the drippy silver of the Acacia, framing the view. I wasn’t familiar with his work before this, but I love his forest of totems, and the hexagonal tapestry on the fence. Thanks for sharing your visit, and Happy Holidays, Denise! I bet your gift recipients will be ecstatic! 🙂

  9. Peter/Outlaw says:

    An inspiring garden indeed! I’m joining the chorus of website wishers!

  10. Ian Lumsden says:

    The screen fence is a thing of beauty but it is the texture of the planting together with almost metallic, bright colour that is so simulating.

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