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Garden History: The importance of trees (Botanic Garden, Sydney, Australia)

Trees surround us and fill our gardens, for the most part, but we often ignore them. Read any article about gardening and you will see that many of us focus downwards to the smaller annuals and perennials in our gardens. Yet, it is the trees that bring the structure — the bones — the foundations […]

Garden History: Sunnie-Holme, Home of Annie Burr Jennings

Gardens are ephemeral things. Left to their own devices, they can quickly be subsumed by nature once again with natives and weeds running wild through the once-carefully managed beds. In this case, though, Sunnie-Holme was actually destroyed by its owner, who declared the that house and grounds should be removed when she died. Very little […]

Garden History: “The Dunes,” Frank Bestow Wiborg house, Highway Behind the Pond, East Hampton, New York

There is something very special about a garden house, especially one covered in some form of rambling or climbing rose. I am not quite sure why, but my thoughts have been turning to climbing roses for a while now. I keep thinking about the possibility of growing one on the front porch, over the garage […]

Garden History: Henry Edwards Huntington house, Oxford Road, San Marino, California. (LOC)

Here is a view that still exists — in a large part — right up the road from me. This is a vintage shot of The Huntington. In fact, this is one of my favorite places in the entire gardens — the Japanese Garden. This is always my first destination in the garden each time […]

Garden History: Pittville Gardens, Cheltenham, England

What is it about water in the garden? Are we attracted by the sound, the sight, the reflections that dance across the surface? It is sure that water elements in the garden attract humans and wildlife like flowers attract bees. There is something soothing and contemplative about water whether it be a still pond, or […]

Garden History: “The Appletrees,” Henry Eugene Coe house, Southampton, New York

Many old gardens — even impressive ones like this — understood the need for a porch…and a great view from that porch. Here the homey back porch looks out on a somewhat formal garden design. The boxwood hedges are neatly clipped, but the flowers inside seem exuberant and ready to break out of their confines […]

Garden History: Thornewood, Tacoma, Washington

It seems a long understood principle that beautiful architecture benefits from being surrounded with a beautiful landscape and vice versa. This photo of the approach to the Thornewood in Tacoma, Washington illustrates that fact. it doesn’t hurt that the grounds and the gardens were designed by the Olmsted Brothers (John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law […]

Garden History: Mrs. Francis Lemoine Loring house, 700 South San Rafael Avenue, San Rafael Heights, Pasadena, California. (LOC)

I drive by this address in Pasadena on occasion when visiting a client who lives nearby. The note on the photo says the garden is no longer extant, but it might the interesting to drive by and see what it looks like today. The more I see the lovely rose arbors in these old garden, […]

Garden History: Tatham Garden

I originally grabbed this photo because it showed a lovely formal garden, but as I examined it more closely, I could see a lot that was wild about this picture, too. Yes, it has large lawns, stonework and a fountain, but looking at the edges it is also exuberant, with the beds threatening to spill […]

Garden History: Santa Barbara Mission, 2201 Laguna Street, Santa Barbara, California. (LOC)

Just 1.5 hours up the highway from us here in Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara Mission gardens are as welcoming today as they were back in 1917 when this photo was taken. Described as the “Queen of the Missions”, Santa Barbara has been nearly destroyed several times in its long history. Earthquakes on 1812 and […]