Spring Bursts Forth For Annual Garden Tour

April 16, 2009

The annual Pacific Palisades Garden Club Garden Tour and Plant Sale will take place on Sunday, April 26, noon to 4 p.m., rain or shine.


423 Arbramar

For this family, outdoor living is key, and the back yard takes center stage. Once dominated by a 1950's kidney-shaped swimming pool with a flagstone surround, the area has been transformed into two generous spaces: one for swimming and water play, the other a patio decked out with a gas barbecue and formal dining area'covered with two shade sails, one blue, one yellow. A small bridge of floating concrete pavers crosses a koi pond, which is surrounded by a pygmy date palm, black mondo grass and decorative asparagus.

Landscaper Heidi Santschi extended what had been a meager patio to become an open platform looking out over the same swimming pool'updated with new plaster and a saltwater system that eliminates chlorine. The wall adjacent to the patio is faced with multicolor mosaics, and enhanced by a waterfall.

A stainless steel railing, strung with stainless wires offers a transparent safety fence for the guests above. The view from the deck area across the pool is a triumph of color and texture. The landscape designer traveled the world, so to speak, for her plant palette. Trees that help to enclose and provide privacy from the next-door house include a Kentia palm, Eureka lemon and a carrotwood. Large ginger plants and bird of paradise camouflage the aboveground hot tub.


1027 Galloway

This tiny taupe cottage sits cheerily, surrounded by a garden that speaks to the owner's native Kentucky roots. The garden's evolution began with a small magnolia tree that the owner had planted a few years ago in the front lawn. Now, a lush perennial flowerbed encompasses the 'Little Gem' magnolia. Honoring the Victorian garden fashion of strong use of evergreens and topiaries, two vertical evergreens add interest close by. A blue spire of juniper, and a dark green columnar yew stand like two sentries, side by side. As if grown from seedlings dropped from neighboring woodlands, the two differing genera bring a look of natural happenstance and a feeling of grandness to this small garden.

These English garden design principles favored in the Southern and Eastern states came into play while garden designer Heidi Santschi worked to create a 'Kentucky feeling.' Beds swoon and curve around lawn dotted with Virginia Blue stepping-stones. The same Bluestone brings a touch of the countryside in the form of a traditionally Southern dry stack wall. Pink iceberg shrub roses en masse remind the owner of the pink peonies she loves. Heliotrope and pink diosma sweeten the air. Plants like Geranium maderense suggest peony foliage. Oak leaf hydrangeas give fall color and giant white conical blooms in spring and summer.

Heidi searched for plants that would evoke the romantic, fragrant, steamy gardens of the South, but would be adaptable to shale and clay soil.

Many more Southern-flavored textures, colors and scents fill the beds and the air in the front and back garden; and beyond a Kentucky whiskey-barrel fountain, a wisteria drips over a neo-classical pergola, where a white old-fashioned metal glider beckons.