Thursday, April 27, 2017

Do-Over at the Nichols Garden

  My first visit to this garden was on the occasion of Garden Bloggers Fling, San Francisco in 2013. This was the year my camera went belly-up on the evening of day one and thus I had few photos of any of the gardens we visited . Thankfully our friend Alison over at Bonney Lassie had cleverly brought along her point and shoot and kindly let me borrow it , though the unseasonable heat wave and horrible photo conditions were not in my favor . At that point I also had an early generation iphone that took such abysmal photos  I didn't even bother to use it. The Nichols garden in Piedmont (the high rent adjunct to Oakland) was a favorite among my fellow Flingers and I have been regretful that I was not able to document it to my satisfaction. This year I was thrilled to see that this garden was included on the Garden Conservancy Open Day on April 22nd . I took many many photos , and I am only sharing a portion of them here; Gerhard from Succulents and More joined me there and I expect he will post about this fantastic garden as well and hopefully cover some of the areas I have excluded.

 So, if you are walking down the street, just strolling along, you come upon this.









 The San Francisco Bay Area, and particularly the East Bay which includes Berkeley, Albany and Oakland, cities which are nestled up to hills that separate the cool fog belt from the inland dry/hot regions are areas in which I'm pretty convinced  you can grow just about anything . No frost, modest heat, decent winter rains and just the right amount of sun.These photos should convince you.

 The largest and most pristine Aloe polyphylla I've encountered. Going to say it was 2 to 3 feet in diameter.



And the front garden includes this Tillandsia tree. I'm trying not to over do the photos I took of this feature. Bear with me, I'm showing restraint.






 And speaking of Tillandsias, the lot is steep , and  the path up to the back garden is bordered by a rustic fence that displays more of the Nichols collection of epiphytics. It is all beautifully curated and artfully arranged . I spent considerable time on this path.




At the top of the path is this beautiful water feature .







 We haven't visited the back garden yet. Here's about a tenth of the photos I took there. The color combinations are very well done, and as a contrast to the front there are Roses, some herbaceous perennials and evergreen shrubs clearly selected for color and form.




 I particularly liked the color echos provided by the Irises juxtaposed against Berberis and Coprosma.Well done !



Lots of beautiful stuff in the back.




 I'll close out with a few random images from various areas of the garden. Thanks to Ann Nichols for generously sharing this outstanding garden.









Follow this link to see photos from Fling 2013

25 comments:

  1. I love seeing photos of this garden. Such an incredible, dizzying tapestry of plants. I don't think it's possible to overdo photos of that tillandsia tree.

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    1. tapestry is an excellent characterization, in places no soil was visible at all, every inch covered with plants. I try so hard for that effect but it never looks as artful as this garden !

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  2. You hooked me with the entrance: Wow!

    I'd love to see in person, but this is the next best thing. I'm glad you took your camera back and got your shots ;)

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    1. At the very last a drive by is available to you Lisa if you ever find yourself in Norcal !

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  3. Holy crap! This is someone's private garden?

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    1. And walking distance to a nursery too. Very convenient for plant shopping !

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  4. Thanks for the gorgeous memories. I still remember yacking away to Scott (or maybe it was Peter) on the bus as we drove past this garden and I just stopped cold. Immediately hatching my exit plan..."must get off this bus, must visit garden!" Thankfully for everyone we did. It's a dreamscape of the highest quality.

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    1. Definitely one of the more memorable gardens I've visited !

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  5. Ohmygoshohmygosh, it looks even more beautiful than it did for the Fling. I remember the glorious Aloe polyphylla, and now the palm has 10x the Tillandsias it did for the fling, and it's all just even more wonderful. Thanks so much for another view of it.

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    1. Every garden is more beautiful when it's not 100 out Hoov ! I sure enjoyed seeing it again.

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  6. Oh my! I remember seeing photos of this garden from the days of the SF Fling but that doesn't diminish the wonder of seeing it through your eyes. I love all the touches of deep burgundy scattered about.

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    1. I wish every one of my gardening friends would have a chance to see this garden in person. It's one of a kind.

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  7. Your photos brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. I can't explain what this garden does to me, but it's visceral. Thanks so much for sharing your great pictures (and for the shout-out to my blog). And I'm so glad it seems I have Gerhard's post to look forward to as well.

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    1. I confess that I went back to the Fling 2013 website before the Open Day to look at some of the posts there. I think I was trying to plan what to focus the camera on , but of course that all went to hell the moment I walked up to the garden ! I hope your reaction to my post gave you positive feelings-tears can go either way. But I completely understand that gut feeling when you walk into garden that speaks to you so internally.

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  8. It was amazing in the summer, but this is even better after a wet winter has ended.

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    1. And it was overcast too ! Excellent for the photo gig.

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  9. I'm loving revisiting this garden through your eyes! It was a standout in the series of stellar gardens we saw on the Fling. I am amazed yet again at the riot of carefully controlled color and form Ann Nichols has created here. So glad you could enjoy it again - and share with us!

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    1. I was thinking about the differences between our June (or was it July?) visit and the effect was mostly in the back garden. And there was the temperature issue of course. I would visit this garden again without hesitation.

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  10. LOVELY photos of a fantastic garden. I was so glad we were able to meet up. I'm writing my post as we speak. I took so many photos, it took a while to edit them down.

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    1. Thanks Gerhard, I didn't use but a fraction of my photos -I took a ton. I'm much better now at dispassionately deleting the crappy ones!

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  11. so glad your camera equipment and excellent photo skills were in sync for this visit. Is that a puya about to bloom? And a perfect spiral aloe? They really do possess an enviable climate. And what a gorgeous watsonia in the photo above the berberis/coprosma. Excuse me while I run out to throw water on mine...

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    1. You missed this one right Denise ? Assuming it's a Puya and that spiral Aloe was indeed perfect, and overlapping a public sidewalk. I'd be terrified.

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  12. You and Gerhard both took some great photos of Ann's garden, and perhaps we do have an ideal climate here. Certainly it does make it easy to go wild with bromeliads and succulents, and Ann has certainly pushed the boundaries of their possibilities.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I enjoy visiting gardens in Oakland and Berkeley-such a relatively short drive times for me from Napa but another world as far as climate goes. It's great that we have so much diversity to enjoy within an hour or two drive.

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  13. My favorite garden from the 2013 Fling! Thanks for bringing back fond memories of this extraordinary garden. Who wouldn't want to garden in this wonderful climate? Living in the bay area must be a gardener's dream.

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