Artist Marcia Donahues' garden in Berkeley was on Garden Conservancy Open Days in April , and I visited with my friend Gerhard of the excellent Succulents and More . It had be a few years since I visited Marcias' garden and have blogged about it here. Gerhard produced a really nice post about our visit here; as is his custom he is detailed and will give the reader much more background information than I present in this post.
As often happens to me when I get into gardens that speak to me in a strong way, I become distracted and take a whole bunch of really bad photos. These weren't too awful , but I have resolved to visit again in 2017 with a more attentive approach.
Both are magic. Really magic.
On your way to the back you see the neighbors' wall, accommodatingly painted to provide a nice color background to the plants in this narrow side yard .Here lives the famous bowling ball mulch.
Art can be an awkward addition to a garden if it's not done well, and at Marcias' the pieces blend quite seamlessly into the mature plantings and enhance the scene before you.
Many of the pieces are plant based with a deeply organic color palette that compliments both the architecture of the house and the jungly vibe that surrounds you in the garden.
See how the ceramic beads (tennis ball size) meld effortlessly with the tree that hosts them.
Because the garden is so densely planted and mature , the winding paths create a sense of mystery and anticipation for what lies just beyond.
Maybe it's this...
Or this ...
The light filtering down into the garden is compelling , and creates a sense of peace and tranquility. I recall observing Marcia sitting with a garden visitor; the visitor had one of the chickens on her lap , stroking the feathers as one would a cat. They were quietly chatting about the garden , and the moment was so serene I never considered taking a photo, feeling that it would have been intrusive. The image has remained in my mind , evocative of this garden.
The chickens are extremely friendly .
If you look up from inside the garden you might see this.
Passing through a shady thicket you might come across this at eye level.
And the hell strip..