A rubbish dump is a pretty unlikely place to start a garden tour, but that's where I began my first day in California last week as I went in search of different gardens on the Big Sur Coast in California. Just a few miles south of Moss Landing, there's a garden with a difference - the Small Planet Garden, where waste items have been re-used to decorate the tiny plot.
It's a wonderful idea and a great way to educate children about re-cycling and having seen it for myself, I'd like to see other municipal waste sites thinking along these lines, including ours in the UK, so I'm going to see if I can interest our local tip on just that when I get home! After all, our English sites take garden rubbish, so they've even got a good supply of compost!
After that we headed south on the Big Sur coast, where we saw the biggest waves I've ever seen and more wild flowers than I could imagine. We were blessed with wonderful weather and I couldn't believe that this was only February and here I was in a T-shirt!
Next stop was another unusual garden that my B&B hostess had told me about - The Spirit Garden in Big Sur (above). Not so much a garden where you will see unusual plants, but the brainchild of Jayson Fann who organises wonderful music and arts programmes here - if I'd had more time, I certainly would have loved some of the cultural offerings, because musicians come from all over the world to play here. There's also a constantly changing art and sculpture exhibition and I was particularly taken by the spirit houses which Jayson makes.
And from here it was on to lunch at a cliff-top restaurant where we watched the waves pounding on the rocks below - just breathtaking!!
Finally, a visit to the Carmel Mission which has another, but very different type of garden - beautifully manicured and filled with flowers. I don't think you could visit California without a visit to a mission, and this one is well worth the detour to catch a glimpse of history combined with a garden.
And if you've missed any recent postings while Blotanical has been down, you may enjoy The Wave Garden at Richmond Point, quite one of the best gardens I've seen in my travels so far; the magnificent display of rhododendrons and camellias at the Botanical Garden at Berkeley, which simply took my breath away; and if you want to share your own garden pictures, there's the new site I've set up at GLOW.