From junky to funky - all in a day!

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.


  1. What a trip ... Have always wanted to see California and am totally envious :)

  2. People's imagination is limitless, isn't it? I love the guys in the first picture!
    Big Sur coast is one of our favorite places, majestic indeed!

  3. Big Sur and Carmel would be lovely to see at this time of the year. The junk yard garden looked interesting.

  4. Would love to visit and stop off at these beautiful gardens ... just love the idea of the Small Planet Garden and that Carmel Mission Garden looks terrific. It's great to hear about these places.

  5. Hi there Charlotte, they sound wonderful gardens to visit. Love that photo of the wave breaking on the rock :-D

  6. One of my most favorite spots in the world.

    If I was a American, there is no question that I would live in Monterey.


  7. I am enjoying following you on your travels, and ,yes, I was in a panic when blotanical was down. I am new to blogging and was quite dependent on it. I just spent some time catching up with you. Be sure to post again on the Wave Garden when you verify the history, as I am very curious. Hillsides are so challenging. It's amazing what was done there. The rhododendrons at Berkley are so beautiful. I am a little too far south for most of these to prosper, though I do have azaleas. I want to spend some time traveling California's coast. I think it may be similar to Oregon's, which I love. The Carmel Mission garden is fabulous, and the garden made with recycled junk is inspirational. I am going to take a fresh look at some of my own junk! Thanks for a great post and have a wonderful week!

  8. Your banner photo made my heart leap. Stunningly gorgeous. Interesting post and lovely photos.

  9. Go on, give us a few more pics of the first garden; you know you want to!!!

  10. What a wonderful day of gardens - I would also love to see more photos of the first one if you have them :)

    I'm going to have to spend some time catching up on your wonderful posts as I did miss them when blotanical was down (another blog to add to the blogroll!)


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