miscellany from the Modernism Week Garden Tour 2019

On the recent Palm Springs Modernism Week self-guided garden tour, it was impossible to confine one’s attention to houses solely on the tour, so I’m including some other swivel-headed discoveries. No, I didn’t find #thatpinkdoor, but there were plenty of other sights to ogle. I haven’t been in such a landscape design-rich environment since the Venice Home & Garden tours (RIP). All of which brings renewed zeal to do something about my own front garden, which wasn’t designed so much as barricaded by fencing and hedging to keep pets and children safe on a very busy street. Definitely time for an upgrade. And I found lots of inspiring examples, Palms Springs style, for creating a more street- friendly privacy, using low walls, see-through gates and entry courtyards. In other words, sharing the garden with the neighborhood. Easing up a bit on the foreboding and forbidding. For someone who equates garden with sanctuary, that’s a lesson I need to absorb for my own front garden’s makeover.

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In Palm Springs, of course palm tree stumps become architectural pillars
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This stunning “driveby” find is none other than the Kaufmann house, designed by Richard Neutra, plantings recently updated by Marmol Radziner. “Cactus Slim,” founder of the Moorten Botanical Garden, advised on earlier plantings which subsequent owners removed. See Garden Design’s “Green Machine.
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Villa Vecchia, owners and designers Gino Dreese and Troy Williams, featured on the tour
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Villa Vecchia, owners and designers Gino Dreese and Troy Williams, featured on the tour
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11 Responses to miscellany from the Modernism Week Garden Tour 2019

  1. Kris P says:

    I’m surprised at how much I like some of the boulder-strewn planting vignettes, although, after 3 straight nights of raccoon rampages, I may be overly focused on creating plant fortresses.

  2. Sue Fitz says:

    I had to chuckle at the barrel cacti in the birdbath. They reminded me of something else… after a minute, it came to me. Close to fledging baby hummingbirds crammed into a too small nest, lol.

  3. ks says:

    Wowee, I could never live in that god-awful climate now but my grandma lived in Banning all through the 50’s and 60’s and I spent a lot of time in the dessert back then, even during summer. I find these photos very compelling.

  4. Oh my. What beautiful images. These shots rake at my desire for heat and desert. I have always wanted to be in Palm Springs for modernism week, but it never occurred to me that the surrounding landscapes might be even more compelling than the architecture. I want to be in those gardens!

  5. Thank you for this! It’s been awhile since I found a blog post where I could slow down and take in every photo, soaking up the design details. Much appreciated desert garden beauty.

  6. Renee says:

    So many good ideas! And what are those trees in front of that bright blue wall? Thank you for sharing these!

  7. Nell says:

    Until I read your text, I took the palm stumps in the first several images for gabion pillars. And after that series, it’s funny how the white-painted knobby stone pillars (at the blue wall house) evoke the stumps… Those silvery trees would be smashing in a lot of settings, but they really shine against the blue wall.

    Keep going back to the modernist dark house with reddish accents and perfect, immaculate plantings. Look what great work the ?palo verdes do at bridging the scale of the mature palms and the low roofline, and softening the super-hard lines. (The utterly fabulous grouping of blue whatevers, in contrast, comes off as more of a display of great wealth. But then this is Palm Springs, so…)

  8. rusty duck says:

    Absolutely glorious. It may be the desert but it looks mighty fine from cold and rainy England let me tell you!

  9. Elaine says:

    Wow! Thanks for a great tour. Such healthy plants and arranged perfectly but naturally so the landscapes didn’t looked contrived. I like this tour’s landscapes way better than the Venice Beach one.

  10. Saurs says:

    I’m going to quote a slightly obnoxious slogan and say Too Much Good Stuff. I understand why you were distracted.

    Love the palm stumps. I’ve done the same with arboreal yucca clumps, which also do double-duty as a feature for training vines, and, for me, it beats a garden ornament every time.

  11. hb says:

    Plants look great there this winter–they got actual rain and it shows. Wonderful gardens.

    The trash palms are much better as stumps than as palms!

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