Day Three of the Pacific Horticulture Gardening Under Mediterranean Skies VII: Lessons in Sustainable Gardening, in Santa Barbara.
We visited four private gardens today, designed by local landscape architects and designers, including Isabelle Greene (great grand daughter of Henry Maher Green, and great grandniece of Charles Sumner Greene), Puck Erikson, Sydney Baumgartner, and Lynn Marie Woodbury.
In the first garden we met Isabelle Greene and saw the very beautiful garden there that used a series of swales to collect rainwater from both the garden and the roof of the house. The swales collect the water from around the property and help slow its passage down so that the soil can be recharged. The lawn was planted using Carex praegracilis, which is much more drought tolerant and slow growing than regular turf grass.
The second private garden was designed by Puck Erikson and combines a stand of old oaks and succulents. Art work is integrated into the landscape and provides an element of surprise and interest. The garden is spacious with lots of different areas, combining the naturalistic areas under the oaks with a mid-century modern feel closer to the house and around the pool.
The third private garden consisted of an amazing collection of succulents and companion plants. Twenty two years in the making, we knew it was special as we pulled up to it on the bus. Unfortunately there were no photographs allowed as the garden had suffered some plant thefts, so you will just have to take my word for how amazing it was!
The fourth garden was the home of Sydney Baumgartner, a Santa Barbara landscape architect who specializes in estate homes. Her garden was full of surprises, divided into rooms with charming corridors and focal points. Her chickens help her create a rich compost which in turn is brewed into compost tea. Both the compost and the compost tea are used around the garden, and they allow her to be totally organic. The garden truly shows its health and vigor in the plant life and the rich, dark soil.
I felt sad that my three days were over, but I went home with lots of sustainability ideas to put into practice at The Yard Fairy, many beautiful design ideas to share with my clients, and a wonderful set of new friends and colleagues in the landscaping world.