More GC Open Days/Pasadena

More on the Pasadena gardens on the Garden Conservancy Open Days, April 25, 2010.

This was my first tour of Pasadena gardens. I knew the gardens would be large, stately, formal. What I wasn’t prepared for was their scale. The six we saw were truly estate gardens in every sense of the word. Seeing the vernacular elements of garden design on this massive scale can be disorienting; coming home later to my little garden, it felt like I was looking at it through the wrong end of a telescope. It took a couple days before the fun-house mirror effect wore off and my garden looked normal again and not so…well, so squished.

Sally and Harlan Bixby Garden. Spanish Revival architecture, 1922. One-acre garden redesigned in 1990’s by Owen Peterson/Bob Erickson.

Immediately I sensed a languor to human movement through such large spaces. You slow down, amble, drift along.


To admire intimate details of inlaid tiles adorning doorways and arches.



And a juggernaut of Euphorbia ammak jutting up well past the roof. The Huntington curated this desert garden, accessed through a side gate off the main pool/pergola area.



The wisteria on the pergolas had already bloomed, but more scented plants were arrayed in large pots around the pool, including brugmansias, roses, and plumeria. I sat down on the pool’s retaining wall covered in Delft tiles to take in the opposite matching pergolas and the flight of steps flanked in enormous Aloe plicatus leading up to the house.


Pleasure grounds in every sense, sybaritic, Gatsby-esque.



All photos by MB Maher.

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4 Responses to More GC Open Days/Pasadena

  1. Matti says:

    whoa…I would never leave. Prop me up on a chair and I dip my feet in the water. Pasaparidise? Matti

  2. Oh my. Can you even imagine living like that? I know I couldn’t, so much beauty. The small tiles that frame the doorway are such a great touch!

  3. Grace says:

    Oh, you’ve pictured my dream gardens. 🙂 I love the jutting-up form of the cluster of palm trees in that last photo. So much to see, I imagine one has to slow down to drink it all in.

  4. Denise says:

    Matti/Loree/Grace — Wish you guys could’ve been there!

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