Tag Archives: Venice Garden & Home Tour 2012

Wrapping Up the Venice Garden & Home Tour 2012

The Venice Garden & Home Tour is an annual fundraising event, benefiting the children of the Neighborhood Youth Association’s (NYA) Las Doradas Children’s Center in Venice, CA. This self-guided walking tour showcases the unique homes and gardens of the creative Venice Beach community, with original homeowner style as well as the designs of renowned architects and landscapers. The Tour was conceived by Venice landscape designer Jay Griffith and Venice community leaders Linda Lucks and Jan Brilliot. NYA was founded in 1906, and has served thousands of “at risk” children and families in its 106 years.”

The last of the posts on this year’s abbreviated tour, having seen just a handful of the 32 homes and gardens. Maybe it was the food trucks that slowed us down this year, the scent of Korean BBQ and Indian curry wafting through the streets, seducing us to spend at least a full hour for lunch, unlike the forced marches of prior tours. This garden was originally designed by Jay Griffith, redesigned by Russ Cleta, so I’m not sure which designer deserves the award for largest agaves in a small garden setting. (The tour is a little Hollywoodish, after all.) These heroic agaves were such a force to be reckoned with that lemons were stuck on some of the spines near high-traffic areas for the tour.


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No. 24 on the Venice Garden & Home Tour

Beautifully restored craftsman set in low maintenance and low water ‘Sonoma’ style gardens. Garden design by owner Craig Boelson

This bungalow, which the owner described as slated for demolition when he took over the property, had lots of things to say to fellow bungalow owners like me. Chiefly what it exemplified was the power of restraint joined with simple, sure-handed taste. No lawn at all, neither in the front garden nor back, the ground surfaced in gravel or dry-laid repurposed bricks that came with the property when the owner acquired it. The house’s dark chocolate-colored paint and white trim set the basic tones used throughout the house and garden, building up a sustained mood both rich and light. The deep, wraparound front porch is rimmed in the front garden with succulents and Agave attenuata, with small trees and gravel deployed where traditionally lawn would be maintained. This was the definitive anti-compulsory maintenance house and garden.

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Venice Garden & Home Tour 2012 (street view)

A little prelude to upcoming posts on this tour held last Saturday in Venice, California. None of these homes were on the tour. They just happened to be located in the neighborhoods we toured through. Venice oozes a love of plants and gardens. This is the third year I’ve posted on this tour for the blog, and previous posts can be found here and here. The few photos not bearing photographer MB Maher’s watermark were taken by me.

The weighty symmetry of two large agaves flanking the walkway to this front door we passed slowed me down. Agaves look a lot like A. salmiana, possibly ‘Green Giant’ or ‘Mr. Ripple.’ Dark red leaves from Euphorbia cotinifolia. Also with Euphorbia characias and coral aloes.


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Euphorbia cotinifolia at another house, cut back hard or “stooled.” In my back garden a 15-foot Euphorbia cotinifolia is given the space to grow as a tree and is just now leafing out. With Agave attentuata and Mexican feather grass, Stipa tenuissima.

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Same house. Chartreuse shrub is the common tender bedding plant Helichrysum petiolare ‘Limelight.’ Silvery succulents probably dudleyas.

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Concrete pavers outlined in Dymondia margaretae. A front-yard lawn in Venice is a rare sight.

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Graveled-over front garden. Pirate foot locker for seating on the porch.

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More dymondia, which tolerates light foot traffic.

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Some of the sidewalks almost required a machete to navigate. Orange blur at the end is Thunbergia gregorii.
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Echiums in the parkway/hell strip.
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Agaves underplanted with succulents and gazanias.

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Must be an acacia.

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Lots of Euphorbia characias on the tour. This one in a hell strip looked like it might be the selection ‘Portugese Velvet’

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More posts later this week on houses and gardens on the tour. Out of 32 houses on the tour, we saw maybe a half dozen. Some we just couldn’t bear to leave. Like Molly Reid and Cliff Garten’s home and studio, up next.