Friday, October 7, 2011

"Autumn in the Garden", San Diego Garden Tour I

Last Saturday my husband and I went on a garden tour organized by the Master Gardener Association San Diego County with the title "Autumn in the Garden". They featured eight gardens and all of them were tended by Master Gardeners. This was the first garden tour they ever did and I was quite excited to see what a Master Gardener's garden would look like. Are they any better than the gardens of "regular" gardeners? 

The first property we visited was Nan Kaufman's garden. It was surrounding a very beautiful 1929 Spanish revival style home. There were many things to see and admire, but the garden was very hard to photograph because it was packed with visitors. So what I show you will be more separate plants, details and small areas of the garden rather than whole garden views simply because I could not take decent photos of them without having at least three people running through or standing in my picture.

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)


Above you can see a shot of the entrance to the house. I liked the two gray-blue containers with the little trees under planted with succulents to the right and left of the front door quite a bit.

Here you can see one of them a little closer. I think, it is a great idea to plant a gorgeous selection of succulents at the feet of the little tree in favor of more commonly used plants like pansies, impatiens, sweet alyssums and the like. Love the color combination of the succulents. So subtle and fascinating.

Getting even more closer. I really like the trailing succulents with green pearl shaped leaves (?) planted together with the ones that take on a rosette shape. All succulents that I have seen in this garden looked absolutely healthy and were thriving. I wish I could say that about mine, too!


The photo above shows the window box more closely that you can see on the entrance photo of this post. Again, to me this is a stunning use of succulents.  


Succulents were a theme that was running through this garden and I have to admit it was masterfully done.
On the inside of the property by the garden gate right when you where leaving the garden there was another arrangement of containers partly planted with succulents...

... and it was mirrored with a set of three containers on the other side of the garden gate. I like when things are done in a symmetric way in a garden. I feel it provides a more harmonious designed look rather than leaving the visitor with a feeling of being exposed to "just a collection of pots".

In front of the garden gate seen from the outside of the property before you even entered the garden there where also two gray-blue containers planted with a small tree and succulents to its feet.This way the theme of succulents was already introduced and using the same colored containers created a cohesiveness that helped tying all the pots together.

Close-up of the succulent mixture chosen for the pots greeting visitors at the entrance of the property. These look great, too, but I liked the combination chosen for the containers standing right at the entrance of the house even better (see second and third photo of the top of this post).

The front yard was containing two rectangular beds facing the street planted with roses, companion plants, and what looked to me like a couple of edibles. I noticed that I do not like flower beds with straight lines, in this case marked by a concrete border. A bigger bed with a more curvy shape would have looked better here in my opinion. What I did like though is the massive use of companion plants in this bed. It gives it a feeling of lushness and keeps things interesting.

The roses in this section of the garden were looking OK but not great, except one. I asked a volunteer Master Gardener about the name of this particular rose variety, who was available to answer questions in this area of the garden and he said this rose is 'French Lace'. I was growing this variety in my previous garden and I am not a hundred percent convinced that this really is 'French Lace', but it is certainly pretty and had a nice medium scent. 

In this part of the garden they were displaying the plans for the garden remodel designed by a landscape architect. Apparently they had executed the remodel of the yard not too long ago. I only can dream of having the money to hire a landscape architect. Right now my garden has to put up with me taking on this role.


There were a lot of edibles growing in half wine barrels and I was surprised how productive these plants have been in so little space. I always admire people who grow there own vegetables and fruits. In this garden they also had a couple of fruit trees espaliered against the warm walls. I guess, if you are really trying you can get a lot of edibles out of a small space if you make optimal use of it and put the proper garden techniques to work.

After leaving the front yard we walked by the right side of the house and entered a pretty cozy courtyard that was used for intimate meals as indicated by the nicely set table. I am a big fan of dining alfresco and always love to get some new ideas how to set a table for the outdoors. This one was certainly well done, decorated in an autumn theme fitting for the season.

I was won over by this small side table also lovingly decorated for autumn. Who would not feel invited to place a chair close by, putting down a cup of tea, and reading a good book or magazine?

Another good idea, displaying pumpkins together with pomegranates in a beautiful unusual basket.

A pumpkin filled with succulents. I had never seen this before visiting this garden. What a smart idea!

This area was opposite the table decked for a meal shown in an earlier photo. Isn't this a nice focal point to look at? What a little colorful planting can do...

Another beautiful arrangement of containers in the outdoor dining area.

The garden tour continued through the house to get to the back yard. Even inside they had put up very beautiful and unusual flower arrangement with an autumn theme.

Don't you agree that a lovely bouquet of flowers can change the whole atmosphere of a room?

So far for toady with the Master Gardener's garden tour. Please come back to see part II.
See you in the garden!



  1. I love to tour new gardens - I always get a new idea. Thanks for taking us along with you! I never think about succulents, but now I realize that's what I should be planting in my containers, as I usually forget to water them! 'French Lace' or perhaps I should say "French Lace Imposter" is really pretty.

  2. Some great ideas there, Christina! Years ago, I hated succulents. I think they're a taste you acquire with experience. And like HolleyGarden said, they're an easy option for pots. I love them now, so thanks for sharing this visit.

  3. Lovely garden . Nice arrangements and great ideeas . Love the pumpkin filled with succulents . Have a nice weekend, Christina !

  4. Hi Holley, I love to tour gardens, too, in reality or in the blogshere :-)! You are right, I always leave with new ideas, which is so inspiring. I think, planting succulents in containers is a great idea, exactly because they don't need much water, which is especially important when you live in such hot climates like we do. When we have a hot day I can ruin a miniature rose planted in a container by not watering it one day (just happened to me), but succulents are much more forgiving!

    Lyn, I am so happy that you are able to leave comments on my blog now! For a long time I was not a big fan of succulents either, but since we moved to San Diego I really started to enjoy them. Most of the time they do so well here.

    Dani, yes, the pumpkin planted with succulents is a very neat idea, would make a great centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table.


  5. Christina, thank you for taking us on this tour! This is a great chance to see some beautiful gardens and lovely homes! So many ideas.... I love the topiaries underplanted with succulents! This post also reminded me that it's time to decorate the house for the fall!
    Answering your question on my last post: Yes, I have some dahlias in my garden, gifts from my friends. But they are not as gorgeous as those on the farm. Thanks for your nice comment!

  6. Tatyana, thanks for visiting and leaving a kind comment! I haven't started to decorate our house for fall either. Maybe today is a good time to start :-)!


  7. Bardzo mi się podobał ogród i pomysł z różnymi sukulentami w donicach. Niestety u nas takie coś mnożna zrobić tylko w domu ( zimy w ogrodzie nie przetrzyma). Pozdrawiam

  8. Giga, thanks for leaving a comment! I am glad that you liked the garden that I featured and the succulents in the containers. If you live in a climate where succulents won't survive the cold months, I think, you can just bring them inside over the winter and they will do just fine.


  9. Thank you for the tour. I loved the containers with succulents, very pretty. You took such a lovely picture of that rose, whatever it is. I love the light in it. I am looking forward to Part II.

  10. Masha, nice to see you visiting my blog, again! Thanks for your kind comment. Since you are such an outstanding photographer it means a lot to me that you think I took a nice picture of that roses.