by Charlene Burgi
Sometimes we need to get out of our gardens and into the realm of gardens dreamed of. These respites can be found in something as simple as leafing through magazines, going online or perusing books. Other times the gardens can include trips that encompass the beauty in living color.
Living in Marin opens up many opportunities to explore local public gardens or parks. For example, Gerstle Park in San Rafael harbors many trees not commonly found anymore. Falkirk Gardens is worth a visit where UC Marin Master Gardeners designed and installed a water wise landscape. A quick jaunt down the street will find you at Boyd Memorial Park where my father-in-law worked installing gardens many, many years ago. Both gardens are located on Mission Avenue.
A day trip could find you exploring the Ruth Bancroft Gardens in Walnut Creek, or Filoli Gardens in Woodside where my cousin worked as a gardener for years. A stop to visit the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco and taking in the Arboretum in Golden Gate Park could complete the day! It is all about the planning and time of year to capture the season.
And planning it takes. The plan for this gardener is to take you with me the best way I can (through the blog) to explore some of the gardens I studied years ago while in college studying landscape architecture. The history of some of the gardens on my list continue to impact the landscape designs of today and it will be exciting to see them in person.
It is my hope to share these blogs from such places as the Kew Royal Gardens just outside of London where collections of rare and beautiful plants are kept in enormous greenhouses. This trip includes my entire family (all 17 of us). The comments regarding this gardener are already flying to expect that I will be stopping at every rose bush and hedge to capture it all on film!
From London we will all depart for our favorite destinations before joining again in Italy for the last leg of the trip. My son, daughter, son-in-law and I will take off to Switzerland with anticipation of seeing hamlet gardens in the villages we drive through. Our anticipation is to capture the quintessential estates of castles and parks of those regions found in southern Germany and Austria. The trek will conclude in my grandparent’s home town found in northern Italy where some of our family still resides.
Our last visit with our Italian family found us in their garden. Fruit trees were loaded with a variety of fruits unknown to me and, like a little kid in a candy store, needing to sample each one. Flowers such as peonies and roses graced the yard. The focal point of the garden contained a pizza oven – what else would you expect in Italy?! We were treated to not one, but ten types of pizzas following the need for a very long walk around town to walk off an amazing lunch which allowed more local garden views.
This trip to Europe will be taken during the fall and the scenery and gardens sport an entirely different picture than our June visit several years ago. Stay tuned for this upcoming trip. It is my hope to paint a picture worthy of the beauty to be found in the Alps.
Meanwhile, curtail the irrigation runtimes to your plants despite the heat. Plants are getting ready to bed down for the winter and are not in need of too much moisture.
Have a great weekend.