Ever heard of a G ART EN? Me neither; I just made it up. But, if there was ever a modern garden that blended art & plants to create one, I found it in Beverly Hills, and it blew me away! Funny thing is that Judy (other passionate gardener) had just said to me, “only focus on gardens that blow you away.” Then along came this G ART EN and I was in candyland!
Just to back it up a little: We took a few day road trip down to Los Angeles to check out some home gardens. We walked and drove around neighborhoods like the Art District and Downtown (which if you haven’t been, is very urban) to more residential neighborhoods like West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Venice. Outside of LA, we spent the day in Pasadena, which without traffic was about 35 minutes from downtown LA, and a great place to visit the famous Huntington gardens.
Now, back to this very cool art garden in LA…
The Readers Digest Version of What We Saw:
The front garden is made up of steel edged beds created in long rectilinear bands of different widths. The driveway runs through the center. Each side is a mirror of the other and is symmetrically laid out; though not the exact same quantity of plants in each band.
The bands include stunning blue art glass, some compositions of succulents, including: yellow stonecrop (Sedum) ground cover paired with artichoke agave (Agave parryi); stonecrop (Sedum) ground cover paired with golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii); blue fescue (Festuca) ground cover paired with foxtail agave (Agave attenuata); and sedum ground cover paired with a cream variegated agave.
Closest to the front sidewalk is a 7 foot wide band (estimate only) that includes a mixture of plants: Rock Purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora), variegated flax, Aeonium ‘Sunburst’ and dwarf olive shrubs.
Creating delineation and an outer garden boundary on both sides of the property is done using two varieties of Pittosporum. One is a low hedge of variegated Pittosporum, (I’m thinking Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegata’) and this plant also continues around, tracing the front of the home . For an airy screening effect, a taller Pittosporum variety is used, (it looks like P. tenuifolium ‘Silver Sheen’). Note: you can see the delineating low Pittosporum hedge and taller one in photo below.
Looks like Sculpture:
The photo above shows you some popular and reliable choices. I love the simple repetition. Is it a piece of sculpture or a plant? The golden barrel cacti reminds me of chess pieces, don’t know why. Here are some other succulents in the design that look like someone shaped and molded them.
- Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)
- Artichoke agave (Agave parryi)
- Variegated agave (Agave ‘Mediopicta Alba’ ?)
- Foxtail agave (Agave attenuata)
More info on Agaves here!
Variegated plants. (Variegated – think of stripes here):
- Variegated Agave
- Variegated flax
- Variegated Aeonium (Aeonium ‘Sunburst’)
- Variegated Pittosporum low hedge
The garden brings in vertical, with the airy sage green leaves of non-fruiting (mulitrunked) olive trees and palms. (On the olive theme, they also use dwarf olive shrubs as a low natural hedge).
Yellow in the garden:
No yellow flowers that day, the yellow was in the foliage. Or, the variegated foliage. Here were the ones I remember:
- Variegated Aeonium (Aeonium ‘Sunburst’)
- Variegated flax (yellow stripe)
- Golden barrel cactus
Plants with blue tones in foliage:
- Senecio serpens
- Several fan palms
- Artichoke agave
- Variegated Pittosporum
Blue pop and metal sculpture:
I can’t stop thinking about this garden and how much I loved the way they used the decorative blue glass and wonderful blue metal sculpture, (photo above).
About the planting:
- drought tolerant
- succulent plants
- trees and shrubs
- ground covers
Main shrubs delineating the planting:
- Mock Orange (Pittosporum tobira ‘Variegatum’.) Maintained at about 2 feet and perhaps higher, 3 to 4 feet bordering the home’s front perimeter. About this plant: Attractive mounding evergreen shrub with white, gray and light green foliage. Creamy white flowers are small but have a terrific orange-blossom fragrance. Good border, hedge or landscape accent.
- Silver Sheen Kohuhu (Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Sheen’). About this plant: Upright growing shrub to 12-15′ tall w/ silver-green leaves and dark stems. Plant in full sun. Medium water needs. Hardy to 15-20 F.
Beverley Hills in 1920
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