Showing posts from March, 2016

Hortense Miller's unique hillside home and garden above Laguna Beach, California

It's hard to beat the spectacular location of the Hortense Miller Garden high above Laguna Beach in southern California. Perched on the crest of Boat Canyon, it has unrivalled views over the Pacific and it was here that the spirited environmentalist and author, who gave her name to the garden, lived and worked there for more than 40 years in the single-storey house; creating the 2.5 acre landscape on a steep gradient; and then leaving her legacy to the local community. Hortense was born in 1908 in St Louis, Missouri and spent her formative years there. At 12 years old she announced that she would never marry, but when she met her husband Oscar - a successful Chicago lawyer - on a paddle steamer cruising the Mississippi, some 40 years later, she changed her mind. She was a self-taught artist, although marriage afforded her the opportunity to attend the Chicago Art Institute, which laid the foundations for some of the artwork you can see at her home today - the house and garden that …

Fullerton Arboretum, California, offers plenty to see throughout the seasons

Take a quick glance at the picture above, with its abundant greenery and scattering of flowers and you could be forgiven for thinking it's an English garden beginning to bloom in springtime, but take a closer look and you'll soon realise that apart from the euphorbias, there is little here that we grow in the UK. Not surprising as this is the garden at Fullerton Arboretum in California that I visited recently, to find a stunning array of plants, notably cactus and succulents, as well as a fine collection of trees. Given its city location, not far from central Los Angeles, I was amazed by its verdancy and delighted by some of the unusual plants I found in this 26-acre haven that forms part of the campus at California State University. It was established as recently as the late 1970s by a group of faculty members and students who decided to nurture the plot at the northeastern end of the campus, which had been under threat of conversion for additional parking for the college. Tod…