Back in 2009 I was in Los Angeles for my nephew’s wedding and got to spend a whole day with Shirley Bovshow, who invited me to see her garden, feed me lunch with her family, then drive me to see Huntington Gardens and then back to my motel. 

I came upon my photos of Shirley’s garden last month as I was organizing all my photos – don’t hate me for being so organized! I didn’t go all out and Marie Kondo my photos, which number over 115,000 digital plus hundreds printed in albums, but I tagged and categorized the hell out of them so I can actually FIND them, perhaps to use in a post right here. Yay!

(Since Picasa stopped being supported or even available for download, I finally found a program to replace its photo-organizing features – ACDSee.  It seems to do whatever PhotoShop and Bridge do, but with just one payment ($100) instead of a big fat yearly one. So far, I love it.)

So browsing through the many cities in which I’ve toured gardens, my shots of LA and Shirley’s garden in particular were the ones that my eyeballs wanted to glom onto and stay for a while.

Who’s Shirley?

A quick search tells me she’s an award-winning landscape designer, garden TV presenter and gardening educator. She’s also studying to become a California Certified Naturalist.  

If memory serves, Shirley was also the very first GardenRant reader who supported our new site with a tip.  Remember tip jars?  We initially had one here and it was a genuine thrill to get tips in any amount at all because they were so encouraging.  So thank again, Shirley!

These first photos of her garden are mine.  The quotes are from Shirley.

The Climate

“My LA garden is in zone 10a. Some lows in ’30s (rare) mostly ’40s in winter. Summer is HOT…to 110 but average in high 90’s.”

Shirley’s garden is in a suburb of the San Fernando Valley.

The Garden

“My husband and I bought his childhood home from his parents when we got married. The only original plant in the yard is the huge pepper tree. Everything else I planted. The yard was completely flat but I created different levels. I handpicked every stone for my wall and helped construct it. Ditto the pond.

“My yard is registered as a Wildlife Sanctuary garden.”

The Plants

“The plants are mostly drought-tolerant and drought-adapted plants. I have some more water-demanding plants like Camellias and a few hydrangeas in containers that I set in the shaded patio.”

I’ll admit to being consumed with jealousy by this image of sunny outdoor living in her garden – without even bugs to content with or, seemingly, rain! And of course, no freezing temps!  It doesn’t help that I’m writing midway through a fairly cold, grey winter.

That’s the end of my photos.  But below is more eye candy that Shirley sent me.

Above and below, the front garden is stunning, too.

More Favorite Shots in Los Angeles

Because why-not, I’ll end with photos I uncovered of two other gorgeous places in L.A. for your viewing pleasure.

Above and below, the Getty Museum, I’d never seen an azalea maze before!

One more view of the Getty.

Here’s Shirley and me at the stunning Huntington Gardens. Yes, that’s Frank Zappa on my chest.

Nothing here reminds me of Maryland.

Above, Disney Hall by Frank Gehry. Fascinating from every angle.

Above, just a residential garden somewhere in Brentwood that I happened to walk by that’s full of plants I’ve never grown and can’t grow here in Maryland. So dramatic!

An Ornery California Reader

By the way, did you notice the comment from a California reader who was angry that I post about gardens near me in the Mid-Atlantic region instead of showing California gardens and giving advice about growing plants there? Well, that sparked a lively discussion on Facebook and elsewhere but let me just say that this particular post was on my schedule before that and I’m publishing it now not because of that guy and his ridiculous complaint (more like demand) but despite him. (The comment in question is the second one on this post.)