A Garden That Knows Its Place
While working out in the gym, a woman came up to Shawn to comment on his Theodore Payne Foundation t-shirt and asked about it. Shawn explained that he has worked with native plants for some time now and told her about Studio Petrichor. After comparing biceps, they became buddies and she invited him over to meet her husband and see the garden.
Their garden in the foothills of Pasadena is surrounded by native Oaks and is a wildlife corridor frequented by bears, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, deer and many other furry and feathered friends. The front garden is a sloping hillside, reaching towards the home and lower driveway. It is the view you see when you walk out the front door and was bursting with introduced plants such as alyssum, tradescantia, lantana and many other non-native species. The residents wanted something different, so Shawn explained the importance of habitat and food sources for wildlife, birds and pollinators, especially in this transitional area (known as an “ecotone”.)
After a wonderful conversation and stroll through the garden, the couple were excited to see what different ideas we might generate and the work began.
One feature is an 80’ hugelkultur berm supporting a sagging retaining wall and surrounding the base of the hillside. This organic solution enriches the soil and gives the impression that the hillside terminates at the lower elevation. The entire garden is planted with California native species (both hyperlocal and not), with the exception of a few heirloom plants the clients wished to keep. Two hugelkultur berms and rain gardens at the street level, bring form and interest to what was once an Oleander hedge.
One of the most charming moments in the garden is the front entry that we reimagined as an area to sit and enjoy the burbling sounds of a weeping boulder water song and the delight of visiting birds.
This garden truly is a work of artistic collaboration and love. This refreshed and enchanting garden is dedicated to Bruce Reid, one of our Clients, who tragically passed shortly after the garden was completed. We KNOW his spirit lives in this place and we are reminded of him everytime we step into it, listen to the bird song and inhale the intoxicating scents of native habitat.