Last week was frantic at work and I had no time at all to go visit gardens -- except I am a volunteer on the Going Native Garden Tour garden selection committee, so I just went.
And after just one or two gardens, I had completely forgotten about the craziness at my job and was completely absorbed in the joy and beauty of it all. Above, a photo of a stunning back garden bordering Steven's Creek. The garden has two very large native oaks, shown above, and the owners are doing everything to keep the oaks happy while having a beautiful garden with flowers and wildlife. Avid birders, they told us of over 80 different species in their garden, as well as other critters including salamanders and skinks. Amazingly, the garden looks quite unassuming from the front. A high hedge of ceanothus and berberis, established many years ago, provides privacy and is lightened up with some manzanita.
But in the back, the picture changes and we felt as if we'd entered a magical kingdom. Everything was so perfect, including the Garrya elliptica (Silk Tassel) in bloom.
But we had quite a list of gardens to visit, and it was possibly the most fruitful garden visit day so far -- all gardens were gratefully accepted.
Monardella already blooming in one garden (won't bloom until May in mine).
Beautiful manzanitas in several of the gardens, courted by hummingbirds and the first native bees.
One garden had a very pretty in-ground fountain surrounded by water plants.
I also liked the attractive grouping of different coral bells (Heuchera) near the entrance of a house. And I'm sure the hummingbirds agreed.
One of my favorites was this circulating fountain, which gave the illusion of running water in the middle of a 100% native, no-water garden. And can you see the Ribes speciosum (fuchsia-flowered gooseberry) in the back?
Here it is. And after all that beauty, I felt refreshed and ready to face work again -- it didn't even seem so crazy any more.