‘Rose Thieves’ Inspire Palos Verdes Peninsula Garden
The Rose Stealers of the Southern Graveyard days were the inspiration for a half-acre sustainable woodland garden located in Palos Verdes Estates. “Rose thieves” are rose thieves who study, collect, and grow rare and often forgotten rose varieties by taking rose cuttings from old Southern cemeteries and abandoned properties, and sharing the knowledge at the early meetings of the South Coast Peninsula Botanical Garden. These plants often grow wild without care. They are original flowers with a pleasant scent and are not hybridized, and the restoration of these varieties has had an impact on this garden.
The plants and native Palos Verdes stone were selected by the gardener/homeowner (who asked that her name not be used), based on her three-decade relationships with the garden community. These include participation in “The Gardeneers,” which offers courses in gardening, landscape design and flower show certification (CaliforniaGardenClubs.com).
“It’s important to evaluate the entire plant, not just the flowers. Note a plant with non-hybrid rootstocks. Give it a home with the right microclimate and exposure, and use only amendments like cottonseed meal and natural leaf mulch — never chemical fertilizers or pesticides — to allow the plant to establish Its special relationship with the soil food web to obtain food and fight “disease,” said the homeowner.
“My former neighbor, Claude Marie Smith, walked her dog around our house and stopped by to say encouraging things when I was renovating our garden. Introducing her to several garden clubs on the hill, this chance meeting changed the course of my life,” said the homeowner.
“Our meetings were in members’ homes, as well as early South Coast Botanic Garden meetings. We had speakers on various plant species topics, followed by wonderful lunches. Members such as Claude, Helen Gates, Evelyn Green, and Gudrun Kimmel generously shared their knowledge of different microclimates in Peninsula, and hosted visits in their gardens, exchanging tips and heirloom cuttings.We did things with garden clubs and other botanical societies affiliated with the South Coast Botanic Gardens (southcoastbotanicgarden.org), such as the Fuchsia Society, the Begonia Society, and the South Coast Rose Society.
“I can’t say enough to thank the various plant societies for their sales at the South Coast Botanical Gardens, and for taking the time to help me choose plants for our garden.
“Marsha Hopwood of the Fuchsia Society is definitely the reason we got fuchsias. I learned from her about the Incleanandra fuchsias and varieties that have done well, and even about the later fuchsia ‘procumbens’ that acts as a ground cover, and has small orange-yellow-green flowers. “
In 2002, when she and her husband bought their home on Via Davalos, they hired landscape architect Rick Dixol. “It gave me the courage to do things. It was just a ‘weedy slope,'” the homeowner said.
“The Leyland cypress trees were diseased and had to be removed. We looked for solutions to fill in the missing trees for privacy, and to shade other plants. We replaced the trees with deo cedar and Canary Island pine.
“We collected PV rocks from construction sites because they were in short supply, and they were not available for purchase. We studied contour maps from the Palos Verdes Home Association, and were able to see every level of my property, and how they went down into the valley. Then we asked ourselves, what paths would “The animals follow them here, and we preserved those paths.”
“I created longer paths than originally envisioned so that one can lose oneself in the garden.”
The year-round flower garden off the family room and kitchen contains roses, camellias, hydrangeas, fuchsias and begonias. “There is always color to be seen outside our window,” she said.
“In 2008, the economy was bad, and the master builder and his assistant who were out of work would come to my house five days a week to build a three-foot high zigzag wall. Each stone was hand-cut to fit together seamlessly, then stacked and installed without using Cement.
“Cement is alkaline and seeps into the soil over time,” the homeowner said. “Introducing something foreign into the environment upsets the natural balance of things.”
“There is magic in using native stone,” she said. “A garden can reflect how chemistry, physics, mathematics and art resonate in nature. I have great respect for how mathematics and art work in nature. My husband and I were inspired by the Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher, who based his work on mathematics and geometry. He produced drawings of landscapes Italian.
The owner is now selling her house because, she says, “when I first planted the cherry blossom tree next to the apple blossom tree in the garden, my husband exclaimed, ‘Pink cherry and white apple blossom,’” and proceeded to hum the 1955 tune made famous by the bandleader and composer “Cuban Pérez Prado. My husband was a fan of my garden, but he passed away two years ago. Now it is time for the next generation to share in the joy that the garden has given us.”
For more information about this home and garden visit ChrisAdlam.com. pencil