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.
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.
“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.
“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 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.
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.)
Makes me homesick. I can close my eyes and smell that California air – dry, resinous, cool in the morning. Ahhhhh. Thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos.
I touched on the issue of regional voices in my last post on ads. Hopefully readers realize that we cannot be everywhere at any one time (it’s one of the big reasons we love our Guest Ranters from regions we’re not currently in!) and understand that the spirit of working in a garden is present in all of our posts, no matter the region. We may be globally read, but we’re not globally funded.
Besides, as someone who has spent a great deal of time with British gardening literature, it does not offend me that they write from their perspective. It would be bizarre and frankly, dishonest, if they didn’t. Take what you can from us, and leave the rest. – MW
Amazing gardens! Oh, I lived among the Redwoods on the coast of Humboldt County for 70 years and now among Oregon’s Douglas Fir in the much warmer climate in the foothills of the Cascades. I don’t go to your site for help. I can get all that from sources such as Oregon State’s site and the fun new books I’ve purchases.(I am loving Windcliff a Story your site recommend). I enjoy your posts especially. Your sharing of what’s happening in your part of the country is a treat. Keep it up!
Thank you for this glimps of a warm, sunny place!
Wow, her garden is breathtaking. I’m seriously drooling. The fact that she did all or most of the work herself is equally amazing. Do you remember how large her property is? Also, how long did it take to get the garden to where it is now?
What an amazing garden, and as you noted, we have very different plants here in the Mid-Atlantic region, I am in Birmingham,Burlington County, NJ.
In the last photo, is that a bromeliad? It’s amazing!
Shirley’s garden is a perfect reflection of who she is. Thank you for sharing
Exactly what we need to get through a dismal February-sunshine and beautiful gardens. What more could anyone want?