Theodore Payne Foundation Annual Garden Tour

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Some gardens were small and intimate; others grand and stately. Some were private and restful; others exuberantly displayed their spring colors for all to see. Some were quirky and fun; others elegant and understated. Some were merely a couple of years old; others have been growing and evolving for ten times as long. Some were designed by landscape professionals; others by folks who make a living working in front of a computer, escaping to the yard whenever possible. All were welcoming to people, birds, butterflies, spiders, worms, and the like. My only disappointment of the weekend was that I could not make it too all of the wonderful gardens on the Theodore Payne Foundation Annual Garden Tour.




So what did I learn visiting 17 – not too shabby a number – gardens? First of all, I don’t care what my navigationally superior husband says, a GPS is a wonderful device. Second, although plant labels and books provide a good starting point for getting information on new plants, you never really know how a native plant will grow or what it will like until you give it a try. I saw many plants that looked different in different gardens. Some were way bigger than I ever expected to see them. Others were flourishing in conditions that were very surprising.



I had my third inspiration when I overheard a visitor say, “But I really just want an instant garden.” You see we were in a very young garden, less than two years old and it was remarkably mature looking. Yes there were established trees on the site, but the new plants eased in, looking as though they had been there for quite a while. To me this is an “instant garden” and it reminded me that gardens can develop quickly, that they are always changing, and that the fun of gardening is the unpredictability that comes with change.



Next I realized that the best gardens are alive with insects, birds, lizards, little mammals, and people. Many of the tour gardens were created to actively entice birds to visit. Hearing and seeing birds singing and flitting around, unconcerned as throngs of people passed through, was truly magical.




And finally, it occurred to me that the very best gardens are those that are shared. Thanks go to staff and volunteers at Theodore Payne Foundation for putting together this wonder event, and special thanks to all of the gardeners who so graciously welcomed us into their yards and homes.





9 thoughts on “Theodore Payne Foundation Annual Garden Tour

  1. A lovely garden. Occasionally I wish my garden was &#39;done&#39; in an instant, but the best gardens take time. My biggest tripping point at the moment is getting know which natives will like it here. I&#39;m rather envious of the California poppies in the photos. They do grow here, but alas, this year, the gopher seems to have eaten all but one.<br /><br />I&#39;m not usually for whimsy in

  2. Lovely inspiration as I&#39;m redoing the front yard with new garden walls right now and mostly native plants — my poppies are all sizes this year from tiny to huge — weird. The back hill natives are huge, too — the ceanothus and sages really took off and went crazy this year!

  3. What a lovely place to spend some time.

  4. Some really great looking gardens, Barbara, all showcasing the versatility and visual impact of natives both in the smaller home garden and in larger landscapes. Alas, the TPF tour was too far away for me to attend, but I hope in the future that many more communities throughout Southern California will be jumping on the bandwagon to offer native plant-themed garden tours to the public.

  5. Very inspiring! I do think it&#39;s so important to have variety on a garden tour. Glad it didn&#39;t rain for you, we had it pouring down on Sunday, cross your fingers that next Sunday will be dry…

  6. Love the espaliered Fremontodendron. I&#39;m guessing good gloves and long sleeves are the tools of choice.

  7. I agree, Troy, but even more important than gloves and sleeves is a face mask! TM – good luck on the tour. Wish I could visit. Camissonia – I think we all wish we could be everywhere! Keewee, donna and CVS, thanks for your comments. It was a really nice tour. Like I have said, the important thing for me is to slow down and enjoy what I am seeing and doing without wishing I was doing/seeing more.

  8. I loved the tour and I tried to get to as many gardens as I could too but it was impossible. AND somehow I managed to miss the 30,000 sq. ft. garden in Tujunga! But I loved Anna Maria Dr. in Altadena. Your pictures are great, as usual Barbara and thanks for sharing them.

  9. I met you at the Tujunga garden. Nice post.<br /><br /> The TPF tour was great, indeed. You got some nice photos of them. What was interesting to me was the variety – some quirky, owner-created, others very professionally designed. Some thrown together for low maintenance and others clearly the creation of dedicated collectors. <br /><br />Love that espaliered fremontodendron in your photo – that

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