2564 Armacost Avenue - Cluster 1

Photo credit: Izumi Tanaka Photography
Click here for audio description of this garden.

The owner, a landscaper (Rose in Bloom) uses this garden as a testing ground to see what plants work in what areas as well as to push the envelope somewhat by planting unusual species and seeing how they grow…and how sustainable they are. Inspiration came from a desire to bring some unusual gems to client’s gardens, giving their gardens that extra pizzazz.

One “client” that has certainly benefited is the owner’s own family. There is movement in the garden everywhere. With four water features and fruiting vegetation year round, birds and other wildlife come and go constantly.

The pondless waterfall is a favorite. On spring and summer Sundays, the owners sit on a swing with their coffee and watch the water all morning. The waterfall draws people in. Many guests say it is so relaxing that they‘ve never sat still for as long as they do in this backyard.

The owners love the mixture of succulents and Mediterranean flowering plants. There are some very unusual plants. They wait all year for rare bulbs to display their once yearly blooms. One favorite, Draculuncus Vulgaris (a black lily), only lasts a week, smells like rotten meat, but is so beautiful that all is forgiven. Most of the year, the spider lily looks like an agapanthus but, when it blooms every August, hundreds of white flowers—with tendrils make them look like elegant spiders—cover it.

Trees include Japanese persimmon, orange and loquat. Alpine strawberries grow in pots; their tiny, tiny fruit is heavenly—the owners pick and eat them by the bowlful! Tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, blueberries and other vegetables grow in a small vegetable garden. 

The carefully chosen plants thrive with deep but infrequent irrigation. The garden is watered once weekly in winter and twice weekly during the hot summer. Running the traditional sprinklers for two rounds of 5 minutes each—for a total 10 minutes—eliminates runoff and insures that the water goes deeper to the roots.