Friday, July 12, 2013

The garden of Shirley Watts, where it all began…

The 2013 Garden Bloggers Fling (which I’ll be referring to as the 2013 GBF from now on) began with a cocktail party in the Alameda, CA, garden of designer Shirley Watts

Our buses pulled up in front of a house which looked to be about the size of mine, the front garden chock-full of plants, I immediately felt right at home. We all gathered on the front sidewalk, saying our hellos to each other and snapping photos…soon the front door opened and we were invited into the home and through to the private back garden. This intimate setting full of fabulous plants set the perfect tone for the rest of the Fling.

The expression on Fifa's face says “what are all you people doing in MY garden?”…while she didn’t seem too excited about the visitors, our host (Emmanuel Coup) and hostess (Shirley) couldn’t have been more welcoming.

Imagine 50-ish (not all the GBF attendees had arrived yet) strangers with cameras in your home and garden? I shudder at the thought (not because I dislike these people but because I would be worrying that my garden wasn't worthy...)

As I moved through the garden I realized something, something shocking. I don’t hate ornamentation in the garden (“garden art”) when it’s in someone else’s garden and is done with a strong sense of personal style. It also helps when it is carried throughout the garden, a piece of sculpture set randomly in a garden with nothing else to support it detracts ….this kind, well it just adds to the space…

I'm still not a fan of Staghorn Ferns, but these...these I liked.

I tried to get a good photo of this but failed. The tall screen is filled with mussel shells, the tillandsia cling to the outside.

This whole conglomeration was in a private back corner of the garden.

Real or fake?

Real. The color was slightly more blue than I could capture but still very very powdery.

Something else that adds to a garden? The people…

So yes I contradict myself. While the thought of so many people in my garden gives me pause, I also recognize that people in a garden is what makes the space come alive.

Oh and the house was anything but ordinary…I came away with fantastical ideas about how we might someday change up the back side of our house…

Finally it was time to get back on the buses and head to the hotel…a good night’s sleep and we would back up and at it again the next morning…

Thank you so much Shirley for your hospitality! For more (and better) photos of this garden and some of Shirley's design work visit this post over at A Growing Obsession.

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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