This Pacific Palisades garden was the final garden we visited 1/24/13 with Lili Singer via the LA County Arboretum Thursday Garden Talk series. Despite being firmly in the grasp of winter this January morning, or as firm a grasp on winter as Los Angeles can manage, all three of the gardens sparkled on this rainy-day field trip. Posts on the other two gardens can be found here and here. Being born and raised in semi-arid Los Angeles means I doubt I’ll ever view a rainy day as an inconvenience. Rain is always a godsend, like an unexpected kindness. True, traffic becomes even more awful, if that’s possible, but then I generally expect the worst where that’s concerned.
This last garden celebrates water in true mediterranean fashion, with water gardens and fountains. Richard Hayden is the designer here, and I note from his site that we both attended the same UCLA horticulture certificate program. (Some of the excellent instructors for this program in the past have included Lili Singer.) The owner/client is a huge fan of not only Dan Hinkley, meaning she continually brings up new plant enthusiasms for the designer to consider, but also the garden antiquarian and salvage porn king Big Daddy’s. The full complexity of planting in any garden isn’t visible in the dormant month of January, but it’s an excellent opportunity to clearly appreciate the structure and layout. Listening to the client and Richard banter throughout the tour about some of this garden’s old projects, new projects, abandoned projects, was a fascinating peek into the close relationship that develops between client and designer.
It can only quicken anticipation of what’s further down the garden path when an enormous Leucadendron ‘Wilson’s Wonder’ greets you at the front door.
From the handout:
“An elegant landscape of form and foliage, playful touches of color, and greens that glisten in the coastal sun. Inviting paths, a series of outdoor rooms, garden art and the sound of water enhance this now-completely organic garden. Designer Richard Hayden will describe the garden’s evolution and how he and the client have been changing over to more sustainable practices and plantings.”
The front garden’s water feature was quiet in January, the tropical plantings resting for winter, so we focused our attention mainly on the back garden, accessed through a narrow side garden, very formal in character, which set the tone for what was to follow.
The narrow side garden leads to this view. (Please ignore the discontinuity of the photos betrayed by that spectacular cinematic clock.) The cushions are covered in a material made from recycled plastic and have been left outdoors year-round for many years.
The salt-water swimming pool was due for a cleaning this morning.
Looking back at the house, designed by architect Irving Gill.
Mediterranean garden meets modernist architecture, join hands, and live happily ever after. For summer the owner grows tuberous begonias in the shallow display bed against the house, which shares a glassed wall with an indoor conservatory.
The owner said 95 per cent of what we saw was from Big Daddy’s. I’m guessing these chairs fall into that 95 percent.
Across the broad lawn, a rustic retreat.
Leaving the pool area on the right, the path that skirts the lawn…
leads to brand-new rockwork of stairs and terraces. Stepping past the ghost plant, Graptopetalum paraguayense…
and a bucket of blooms from the Cup of Gold vine, Solandra maxima…
the path leads up to more sitting nooks and dining areas closer to the house.
Follow the urns and obelisks to get your bearings. For example, that white urn at the top of the stairs in the distance leads to…
this side alcove that overlooks the pool and lawn and the new rockwork paths we just climbed. (which despite its timeworn look and creeping plants, really is brand-new, just finished in fact)
A few blooms can be seen on the Cup of Gold Vine, Solandra maxima, wrapping itself around the pergola support beams.
Follow the path that leads past the side alcove and on past the obelisks…
and you’ll come to a courtyard and central fountain in a patio just off the house
At the far end of the courtyard is the fireplace
And beyond the fireplace, a stairway leads I know not where
Thanks again to Lili Singer’s Thursday Garden Talks program at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and the three designers who generously shared their time and expertise:
bulk of photography by MB Maher.