Behold — our favorite garden on the tour. How did this home spread its vines in our hearts?
We love this place — one of six stops on the La Jolla Secret Garden Tour; read Part One here — because it’s a living example of how you can add green to a compact space in a way that thrills and surprises at every turn. There are garden stories within stories in this place. And the overarching narrative captures you from the sidewalk, where pollarded (“within an inch of [their] life,” a tour goer noted) trees direct you toward the whitewashed gate.
Beyond the gate, the roses nudge you inside.
This cagey creature is a pollarded American sycamore (we think?). Pollarding is a pruning technique that restricts trees and shrubs to a certain height and can also regulate the amount of shade a plant creates.
Above the gate, a gem-toned block of bougainvillea.
Roses of various heights shepherded us toward the front door.
The golden tips of a firesticks (Euphorbia tirucalli, far right) adds a warm welcome. Native to semi-arid tropical regions across Africa, this euphorbia brings heat to its hedged surroundings.
This home is five minutes away from our house. Walk a few dozen steps through the interior — maybe take a peek at the art collection, the sculpture, photos, the midcentury modern mobile — and suddenly you’re in an open-air Moroccan-inspired courtyard. Each corner woos you. There’s the bed where stemmy leopard plants reach out and pop against the gray pavers and vines on white. Cordyline proves itself as the plant for lovers of metallic. A fat Canary Islands dragon tree gets a daybed and an ocean view. Lanterns and a plaster angel add a human touch without competing.
You get a bird’s eye view of it all when you mount the stairs to “the turret.” More lovely outdoor decor, plus a succulent ground cover and a huge century agave on an incline.
High, low, practically hidden — so many great vignettes. Join us as we jump in!
One moment you think you’re in a Renaissance-inspired space…
…and the next, you’re in the West. This span of agaves harmonizes with the other drought-tolerant plants on the property.
The bronze cordylines towering on the left are another drought-tolerant selection, this time in the courtyard. The color looks wonderful against the metallic lighting. On the right, the smooth fronds of a giant bird of paradise (Strelitzia nicolai) reach for the roof.
We love this bed. When you walk outside from the house, this burst of green leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum) jumps right out at you. It’s extra exciting against these slate pavers and cornered by a viney facade.
We would eat dinner out here EVERY NIGHT.
Brilliant touch: a bronze Moroccan-style lantern against a bronze cordyline plant. Both popping against the azure sky.
More bougainvillea. This time, it’s growing around the outdoor fireplace and accompanied by more green leopard plants and wispy-tipped papyrus.
A study in blue and orange next to the outdoor staircase leading to a higher terrace…
The 42-step stairway leads to the turret, built when the hillside was excavated in 2005 to build a 650-square-foot wine cellar. That succulent ground cover you see is blue chalksticks, a type of Senecio.
This daybed has one of the best views in the house, with eyes on the courtyard and the ocean, and some jumbo flora around it.
A century agave relishes the western exposure.
Under the spell of the Canary Islands dragon tree (Dracaena draco).
Another favorite drought-tolerant beauty: lantana. It comes in just about every color you can imagine, is a marathon bloomer, won’t wilt in the heat, and creeps like nobody’s business. (So note: it can be invasive.)
We ran into Barbara Raub of the SD Horticultural Society! Another friendly face from when we hosted last year.
The aeonium is almost overtaken.
Agapanthus, sempervivum and sedum by the pool.