Sunday, July 17, 2016

Marin County Open Garden-Bolinas



 I'm not really sure  why I loved this garden. I'm not  usually a fan of  clipped and formed shrubs , I obsess about the topped Phormiums and the meatball Loropetalums seen in commercial landscapes around town. Why do people think that looks good ? A few years ago I posted on this topic here  and here. I will admit though , that I have often seen admirable uses of this device . It's helpful if the gardener actually knows what they are doing, and knows the name and habit of the plant they are working on.



   Bolinas is a beach town on Tomales Bay, and the climate is ideal for almost everything except tomatoes and peppers. It never gets hot and it never gets cold. The garden here is the creation of watercolor artist Sally Robertson. From the Garden Conservancy guide: "As a painter, I often choose plants as inspiration for a watercolor, but I give much thought to their placement, for the garden itself is a highly orchestrated color palette ." Yes indeed.

 The sculpted Cypress are seen from both the street and much of the garden. Not simply a tree,this is an art piece- obviously the maintenance is not a casual affair; there is skill involved.




  In some areas of the garden the shrubs were shaped, but never to the point where the plant skeletons were exposed , and the shapes themselves, along with the varied foliage colors lends direction for the eye, the way leading lines would.



 The garden was densely planted with shrubs flowering plants and small trees, the paths meandering to reveal hidden views.



On this path we approach the rose arbor, a feature that marks the transition from the front garden to the back.




The Nasturtiums are allowed to thread their way up this palm. Maybe Phoenix caneriensis , but I am embarrassed to say that even though I was born and raised in Los Angeles my palm ID skills are quite spotty.

 Bigger view of said palm.





 The back garden was arranged around a large pond, with paths on all sides.







 There were succulents too..






 In this mild climate , Bromiliads can live outdoors all year. This large tree stump makes a nice home.


 At the rear, a shady area was created from native trees with few distractions and views toward the pond.



 The gardener and artists home and studio. Researching Ms. Robertson, I found that there is a vacation rental on the site, and the idea of a night or two in this garden is compelling.Gardens are rarely open for the photographers 'golden hour', but as a guest in residence the light is at your disposal.


12 comments:

  1. The sculpted cypress trees look like something you'd see in a children's book - they have the same fairy tale quality about them. They do add a quirky quality to the garden that would be missing if they weren't there. I don't usually care for dramatically manicured plants either but these do add interest.

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    1. They are very large too Kris, which adds to the drama.

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  2. How lovely! And you should definitely treat yourself to a stay there.

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    1. It's on the punch list Loree--a great area for photography .

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  3. Those shaped trees are fascinating. I have to say, some of your photos here count as art too. That shot of the two succulents with the California poppies at the right edge is lovely. It WOULD be rewarding to have the garden at your disposal as a guest in residence. Thanks for sharing your photos from this visit, I enjoyed them very much.

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    1. Aw, thanks Alison ! As soon as I saw the guest house blurb on her website I started pondering the options.

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  4. Beautiful garden, and the patience and skill involved in sculpting that tree is admirable (it looks like a brain to me though!).

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    1. well there is the brain thing, but in photo number two a certain cheekiness emerges.

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  5. I like the sculpted cypresses too. I can see them on the set of Edward Scissorhands or the Hobbit movies.

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    1. Context can really change perception.My photos didn't do this garden justice (I took almost 200) but at least it was overcast !

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  6. The sculpted cypresses in this garden are stunning. You're right, it's all about the skill of the gardener and his/her knowledge of the plant's habit. I'm off to find out about the guest rental. What a great place that would be to spend a night or two!

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  7. Maybe it's because you were born and raised in LA that your palm ID is spotty. I know that's why palms escape my radar, it's just background. Except for the braheas and bismarckias, blue/silver spectrum. Great intention and execution with the topiary. I can't even keep a straight line of box hedges looking decent -- just no interest in clipping plants. Well, except for santolina orbs. I love clipping those.

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