April Visit to the Taft Garden

 The Taft Garden has been on the punch list since our friend Denise posted about her visit in 2014. It took me just about 5 years to make this happen even though I have been to that area almost every year since then. I think the relative low profile of the garden just caused it to drop off my radar. The intrigue surrounding getting in back in those days made me feel as though I needed to either 'know someone' or be a member of one of the horticultural  societys that were occasionally invited to tour . Apparently the Taft  Foundation has made peace with the neighbors , for now there is a website where one can request an appointment. Visit was duly scheduled and the map charting the non-GPS supported route arrived in my in-box. The road in is a bit sketchy the first time, partially from loosing the skill of reading a map and safely driving at the same time. Fortunately the map was excellent and there is little to no traffic - if you have to stop in the middle of the road to consult the map it's not a problem.

   I took 200 photos, so will put up duo-posts, and this one will focus on the Aloes.

 I don't think I have ever been to any garden, public or private, with more Aloes in the ground than the Taft. Although my Aloe ID recognition has improved significantly over the last year, there are no labels here and I'm not confident enough yet to include names .

 These huts at the entrance to garden is where you sign the guest book ; there is also a donation box into which I popped a 20. This garden is completely free to visit and 20 bucks was a small price to pay considering the enjoyment I got from my morning spent here. 

 The sign-in hut. There was not another soul encountered-I had the parking area and the garden to myself.

There were multiple paths radiating off the entry kiosks , so I picked one and set off.

 There is no way-finding signage which was okay with me-it enhanced the experience of being in a private garden where you were a special guest and the garden owner set you loose to wander on your own.

 In fact I'm pretty sure I took photos of the same plants from more than once perspective. There were just so many !

  This was the very first week in April, and many of the Aloes were in bloom.

 Beautiful impressive specimens whether blooming or not.

  In places the ground was covered with swaths of vibrant Arctotis and Osteos -probably Gazanias as well, a common theme in the gardens I saw on this trip. It kind of gave me the urge to plant some. I have not yet acted on that urge however. My non-gardening neighbor planted a batch of them on his hell strip and I might just keep an eye out to see how they do over the course of the summer.

 The Taft was not just about the Aloes . Post number two will feature some of the other collections in this 200 plus acre garden.


  1. Thanks for sharing your tour, Kathy! This garden is on my bucket list too - and being closer, I have fewer excuses for not having made it there yet. I think you should definitely try Arctotis, Osteospermums, and Gazanias. While I can't speak to how they'll handle your somewhat colder winters, they sail through the summers here, although I find that Osteospermums shut down during the hottest part of the summer, blooming again when the temperatures come down a bit. My Arctotis are spring bloomers only but they flower for 2-3 months and the foliage is inoffensive, at least once its trimmed back at the end of the bloom period.

    1. I don't think our winters will be an issue-but I have to get past my 70's era 'Freeway Daisy' prejudice. !

  2. Beautiful photos! You nailed it when you wrote: "... enhanced the experience of being in a private garden where you were a special guest and the garden owner set you loose to wander on your own." That's exactly how it feels.

    1. I will most certainly visit again . I loved the sense of solitude , lack of crowds and fantastic mix of plants. Thumbs up to gardens with restrictive use permits !


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