While central Texas is just east of the western U.S. region covered by Sunset magazine, the monthly publication is widely available on newsstands here, and I pick up a copy from time to time to admire the stylish gardens it features. So I was interested to see what the gardens at its headquarters would be like. I was not disappointed. A 3,000-square-foot test area with edible beds, colorful seating areas, and trial plants from their Western Garden Collection greets you.
I loved this orange, metal arbor — a contemporary moon gate! — from TerraTrellis, which serves as entry to a colorful flower garden. But at $840, this garden structure is, ahem, just beyond my reach.
This wooden arbor with an orange fabric shade, recycled windows, and comfortable, cushioned benches is also fabulous, and I like how the arbor is partially enclosed by a low stone wall that supports a raised bed.
Under the arbor, a charming, orange-flowered bouquet in an orange watering can on an orange side table — orange, it seems, is the hot garden color these days.
Around the corner, a sunny, patchwork patio constructed of various materials provides space for a mod, white plastic chair and table surrounded by red- and orange-flowering perennials and bronze phormium. While I like the zigzag design of the patio, I’m not a fan of the mixed materials in this case; they make the small space seem even smaller, and the white glares in the sunlight.
I do like those potted carex though.
Its sunny foliage looks great paired with orange helenium…
…which looks fine paired with ‘Blonde Ambition’ grama.
I lusted after this pistachio-colored, woven-metal side table.
It matches this green patio set and umbrella.
A sweet bouquet of nasturtiums, a little wilted in the unseasonable heat that San Francisco was experiencing while we were there
Hollyhocks and blue sky — a gorgeous combo
And who could resist colorful nasturtiums tumbling along a low, split-rail fence? Not me.
Following a path around the corner of a building, you leave the test plot and enter a more-expansive display garden, with beds representing various regions of the U.S. West surrounding a central lawn studded with a few majestic live oaks. For the most part, these gardens are more rugged and drier, more shrubby and less colorful, than the intensively cultivated test plot. A small rock placed on a boulder caressed by golden grasses caught my eye.
As did a swath of pincushiony Agave stricta in the desert garden.
Appealingly shady on this hot day, a path running through a planting of tall cactus and tree yuccas — part of the Southwest Desert and Southern California section — beckoned for cool exploration.
In the Northwest section, with Japanese maples, ferns, and other woodland plants, a trickling fountain constructed of stacked concrete troughs was attracting thirsty birds. I love the look of this fountain.
Circling back to the entry patio, I found several of my friends enjoying a shady rest: Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings in Oklahoma; Andrea (one of the Fling planners) of Grow Where You’re Planted in College Station, Texas; Susan of The Bicycle Garden in Lubbock, Texas; and Layanee of Ledge and Gardens in Rhode Island. I feel so privileged to know these wonderful women and all the other garden bloggers I’ve met thanks to the annual Fling.
Just a couple more images from the test garden — vertical frames from Plantasy — to close…
…and then it was time to jump back on the buses and head to grand Filoli.
All material © 2006-2013 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.