Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bountiful Berries and Blooms

As winter fast approaches, a familiar walking trail in Valmonte is flourishing with trees of bright red berries, and scores of white, orange and pink blooms high in the sky.

The wild Agave with its swords of white and yellow flowers (and busy bees!) make for a striking view along your journey.

Can you guess where this is? Hint: Look for the occasional gopher to poke its head out!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Valmonte Schools Edible Children’s Garden & Fall Festival

In the heart of Valmonte lives a small children’s garden recently crafted at Valmonte Elementary School. This lovely edible garden features a variety of lettuce, herbs, corn, tomatoes, and many other tasty treats for all of the children with big hearts and big tummies to enjoy! The garden is speckled with orange flowers to keep with the changing leaves and fall themes.

Many families gathered at the Fall Festival to tour the garden in all its glory. Some claim to have seen roosters and a scare crow fending off the crows. I was able to capture some in pictures and pick up some organic vegetables at the farmers market stand.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Along came a spider... or 10.

The season for creepy spiders and vast spun web’s has arrived! While walking through Valmonte, you can’t miss these abundant webs and their 8 legged creators, especially after the rain. What better way to get caught up in natures design but through a picture and a poem.


I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth --
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth --
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small.

~ Robert Frost

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A path, a pond, a place to ponder..

In South Bay Botanical Gardens, called “The Jewel of the Peninsula”, and just to the east of Valmonte, flourishes a forest of trees, fields of wild flowers, large open spaces teeming with wildlife, and picturesque gardens of roses, perennials and succulents.

Ducks paddle silently across the pond and kids (mine in this photo) run along paths lined with Gazania and a backdrop of roses and wild cacti. Benches and walking paths beckon visitors to linger, explore, and take pictures. Grab your kids, grab your camera, go!

Monday, August 1, 2011

From Fallen Trees....

A bright red vintage 1953 Ford F100 rests on the pebble driveway of one of the most magnificent homes in Valmonte, blending beautifully with the red, orange and yellow themed garden designed by Blue Door Gardens and belonging to Blair and Tony Contratto.

One Christmas morning, a giant 80ft Eucalypts tree toppled on this 1920’s Spanish home on Via La Selva; not exactly the gift they were hoping for. The fallen tree forced this beautiful Spanish home off the foundation and destroyed a large part of the house. While they were able to salvage part of the home, the event laid the groundwork for a large renovation and addition, and inspired a new garden. The mature trees and vintage brick fireplace from the original formal garden, lend character and age to the vitality and freshness of the new design.

Surrounded by a sea of roses, a tri-level fountain in the front entry gives way to arches and hanging lanterns, and a flagstone walkway lined with succulents and bougainvillea. Blaire adds her personal touches to outdoor dining with centerpieces of roses from her garden. The Contratto garden pleases all the senses with sounds of water, fragrance of roses, and benches where one can rest and let the eye happily wander. This garden delivers on all that good garden design promises!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Spanish Splendor

I arrived at Norman and Sheridan Macknight’s stunning Spanish home one morning, as fog slipped silently through the tops of their California Pepper trees, sun and shade dappling their flourishing garden.

Located in the heart of Valmonte, this sprawling oasis is a tapestry of flagstone, Asparagus Fern, silver-foliaged succulents, punctuated with Red Grass Palms (Cordyline australis).

Brilliantly colored plants cascade from stone planters and ceramic pots. Moving along the stone path, one enters a magnificent courtyard featuring a tri-level stone fountain surrounded by Silver Carpet (Dymondia margaretae).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Grandfather’s Fenton

Many years ago I started collecting Fenton vases after watching my Grandfather grow his collection for more than 35 years. I became inspired seeing how passionate he was over the different colors, shapes and sizes.

While his vases are smaller in scale than mine, and his collection more vast, we share the same passion for collecting these beautiful pieces, a few of which I would love to share with you.

My collection is made up of the "Peacock" line from the 1920's, several pastel colors in the "Bubble Optic" line, Fenton's "Swirl" line, and the larger "Coin Dot" line. Most of my vases are between 70 and 90 years old.

Gracing these vases are lilacs, pale pink roses, and Oriental lilies. Fenton did a spectacular job at creating several lines that have an Asian feel, which is one of my favorite decorating styles. All year round, an indoor garden is brought to life with vibrant colors and house warming scents of the outdoors.

My Grandfather passed away in February, and I cherish each and every moment we spent sharing the joy of our collections. This article is dedicated to him. Thank you Grandpa for being part of my life, and as I search my garden for the perfect blooms to grace our vases, I'll think of you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rain in my Garden This Morning..

'Desert Museum' Palos Verde Tree - View from Henry's Room

Morning Glory

Patio and Bamboo

St. Francis

Friday, April 1, 2011

Small, Simple and Succulent

Ever wonder what to do in a garden with limited space? Nathan & April Stalker have the perfect solution, succulents!

This inviting garden features a variety of succulents mixed with vintage hardscape featuring 2 concrete planted urns, a tiger fountain with a mature fig vine, and several vignettes of green, yellow, pink and burgundy succulents.

Next time your are heading up Palos Verde Drive North, don’t miss out on this fabulous garden which looks beautiful all year round.