Monday, April 30, 2012

Neal Baer and Gerrie Smith Garden

THIS SPRAWLING property has a variety of plant habitats, some suited to drought-tolerant plants and some in which riparian plants thrive. Unifying the gardens is the use of local boulders, river cobble and native slate.

THE SITE was designed by environmentally friendly construction company Polly Osborne Architects from Los Angeles.  Salvage wood was used in doors, windows, and cabinetry. Great care was given to preserving the landscape and bringing the outside into the structures. The desgn fulfills 2 goals of the owners: to provide an oasis from city life and to provide habitat for native birds and wildlife.

A COLLAGE of hanging plants is found on the garage door as you enter the driveway. Fescue, yarrow, strawberries and succulents are at home here. Drought- tolerant plants such as salvias, buckwheat, Redbuds, California lilac, Matilija Poppies and gray Santolina grow in the dry entrance area, along with the Sycamores that line the drive.

AN ORCHARD of 8 mature olive trees is the backdrop for  the gray leaves and purple blooms of the Bush Lupine.  Nearby is a Pomegranate grove.

TWO TOWERING Valley Oaks draw attention to the front door of the main house. Fescue, Deer Grass, and Mexican Weeping Bamboo add the greenery. The riparian area at the back of the house, which stretches to the sandy beach of the Kaweah River, is home to Juncus, Iris, Blue-eyed Grass, ferns, and Coral Bells, which relish the shade under huge Sycamores, Alders, Redbuds and Willows that are native to the site.

ADDITIONAL plants you will see, tucked in and around various structures, include Spice Bush, Photinia, Verbena, Dogwood, Guava, Gooseberry, Bailey Acacia, Cotoneaster, Bird of Paradise, Primrose, jasmine, and Lillis of the Valley.

Food Fare:
Artist Painting on site: Wendy McKellar
Art of Garden: Nadi Spencer, Geoffrey Glass


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