On May 19th I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the eight gardens listed in the 2013 Vallejo Garden Tour. My focus was on intimate gardens, places where one could do some quiet reflection or meditation or to talk quietly with an intimate other.
Of course, there is an ornamental and utilitarian (such as veggies and cut flowers) side to gardens, and there was plenty to be seen along those lines. But looking at gardens from the “quiet reflection” point of view gave me purpose and a framework from which to look, not to mention inspiration for creating my own. And I found plenty of what I was looking for.
Many of the gardens had special places, some sun-drenched, and some inviting filtered light, and often with the sound backdrop of a wonderful fountain, with a seemingly unlimited array of styles and sounds. In fact,
I found many interesting water features, including a waterfall in one corner of a small backyard garden, cascading down a 6-foot slope. At that same location, creeping fig (Ficus pumila) nicely covered what might otherwise be an unsightly wall of concrete block.
What inspired me was the combined plantings of perennials and annuals often as an understory of larger shrubs and trees. There were countless Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum), one of my favorites for color and form. And clumps of geraniums (Pelargonium), meticulously placed for their shady or sunny locations, often with lush splashes of ferns.
And interspersed among the foliage and color were interesting statuary and other “garden art objects”, too many to detail here, but very fitting with the intimacy of each location.
A favorite ground cover was Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis), which can take sun and fill in nicely between pavers, adding to the feel of a softly carpeted area.
All in all, it was a gorgeous day, and I came away inspired to use much of what I saw as ideas to create my own quiet garden space.
photos by Bud Veliquette