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Pasadena Garden Conservancy Open Days

  • Apr 28, 2013 · 9:15 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Please Note: Read all the instructions carefully below before you RSVP 'Yes' for this event.

1) I am hosting this event for both Gay Foodies and Pleasure Palate.

2) When you arrive at Arlington Gardens, you will need to purchase 6 tickets  to see all the gardens on the tour.

3) Call me (do not text me) me when you arrive at Arlington Gardens at:[masked]

4) You can explore Arlington garden for about 30 minutes but we need to leave by 9:45 AM to arrive at the 1st garden we will visit at 10 AM. This way we beat the crowds.

5) Tickets for access to all 6 gardens in the tour cost $25.

6) Our first stop is the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden which was recently featured in the LA Times. We are visiting the Storrier Stearns Garden first because it will be the most popular garden in the tour that day:,0,5073883.story

7) We will then visit the gardens the other gardens according to the map they give us.

8) After the tour, I will host a lunch and then host a 'bonus round' to an artist's residence filled with tile work and sculptures in the foothills of Pasadena.

9) While not mandatory, I strongly encourage that we carpool for the garden tours so that its easier to get from place to place. If you ride with someone, please give the driver at least $5 in CA$H to compensate for gas and car maintenance.

10) Bring about $30 in CA$H for lunch at the restaurant we will eat at after the tour. Restaurant is TBD, but will be in the Pasadena area.

I have been a member of the Garden Conservancy for a couple of years now and have been attending their garden tours in Pasadena and LA They are among the better garden tours in SoCal held every spring. So come join me as we enter and explore these privately owned gardens not normally open to the public.

  1. Brandstater Victorian Garden 10:00 am - 4:00 pm 

    The 1890 Victorian farmhouse was one of the first houses built in the town of Sierra Madre. The owners contacted Lenkin Design in 2006 to help create an outdoor living area. The owners, both artists, wanted the design on the garden to reflect their special interest in the Victorian period and furnishing and accessories were chosen for this purpose. The active family of five wanted to cook, entertain, soak, and garden in a romantic Victorian cottage style. Lenkin's design takes advantage of the two levels by carving out multiple areas including a kitchen, a dining area for ten, an outdoor living room with a fireplace, a Jacuzzi, and playhouse. A sweeping staircase leads up to the fireplace with both areas linked by a pergola structure. Granite river rock and neutral bluestone blend well with the blue-grey paint color of the home and the soft pinks of the plantings. The garden has become the center of the family's home and is host to ongoing parties and events.


    Directions: At the request of the garden host, directions to this garden are available through our Open Days Directory, at additional gardens open on this date, and at the Arlington Garden in Pasadena, 285 Arlington Drive, Pasadena, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


    Brandstater Victorian Garden

  2. Wenzlau Garden 10:00 am - 4:00 pm 

    Henry Huntington's grandson, Edwards Huntington Metcalf (Ned), built this authentic English Arts and Crafts styled estate (originally on one and one half acres) as the primary residence for his young bride and him. It sites less than a mile from his grandfather's renowned Huntington Library and Gardens. The construction began in 1934 and took two years to complete. The artisans worked on site to carve and plaster and wood trim both inside the residence and outside along the eaves. The windows were shipped over from England, each one unique and custom designed for the residence to recall English lore and the Huntington's own ancestral lineage, which had been traced back to King Arthur. The current owners bought the property from Ned Metcalf in 1992 and began the much-needed restoration of both the house garden. Roses were a natural selection for the garden with such strong English "roots". The front rose garden was planted after the new owner was inspired on a visit to Les Jardin de Bagatella outside Paris. In fact, the fragrant, ivory roses on either side of the walkway as you step up to the main rose garden are Rosa 'Jardin de Bagatelle'. In all there are 170 hybrid teas, climbers, miniatures and tree roses in this front garden. As you make your way to the back garden, enjoy the cool shade along the south side. It's hard to miss the charming collection of bird houses surrounding the beautiful fountain under the bay laurel and cassia trees. The west exposure in the back yard is a perfect place for the more fragrant French roses, grandifloras and floribundas, about fifty in all. Don't miss the opportunity to stop and smell the roses! On the turret is the stunning single bloomer, Rosa 'Sally Holmes Climber'. Take the walk towards the rear of the property and you are once again reminded of the English influence celebrated here. The extensive collection of azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons is quite unusual. Many are rare varieties propagated in Japan and nurtured for many years. Some of the camellias have unusual yellow bloom while others are truly fragrant. You may get lucky and see some of the late bloomers still throwing out some color! Continue through the pool pavilion (originally the garage) and barbecue to the back porch. There are a variety of herbs and vegetables grown here with easy access to the kitchen and the custom designed mini-green house, tool shed, and potting bench. Rosa 'Eden Climber' is the pink blush rose pouring off the entry arch. As you make your exit down the driveway, don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving a pot of Lady Londonderry Tea and warm scones smeared with Devonshire cream.


    Directions: At the request of the garden host, directions to this garden are available through our Open Days Directory, at additional gardens open on this date, and at the Arlington Garden in Pasadena, 285 Arlington Drive, Pasadena, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


    Wenzlau Garden

  3. Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden 10:00 am - 4:00 pm 

    Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns, after their travels to Japan, hired Kinzuchi Fujii in 1935 to create a Japanese garden on two acres of their Pasadena estate. Fujii spent seven years designing and constructing a “stroll garden” around two large ponds, with gentle pathways and changing views. The hills and peaceful sounds of waterfalls; the quiet colors of large boulders placed to look like an ocean shoreline in Japan; and the exquisite, authentic teahouse as the focal point, all create the harmonious and tranquil environment traditional to Japanese gardens for centuries. Recently restored under the direction of Takeo Uesugi, FASLA, the garden exceeds its original beauty. The now towering trees provide a canopy of shade and ever-changing, sparkling light.

    Directions: At the request of the garden host, directions to this garden are available through our Open Days Directory, at additional gardens open on this date, and at the Arlington Garden in Pasadena, 285 Arlington Drive, Pasadena, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


    Photo: Copyright 2012 Deanie Nyman Photography.


    Storrier Sterns Japanese Garden. Photo Deanie Nyman Photography.

  4. The Iaffaldano Garden 10:00 am - 4:00 pm 

    Originally designed and built in 1926 by the famed architect, Sylvanus Marson, the Cutty/Iaffaldano house in the neighborhood of the Huntington Gardens. The house went through an extensive remodel a few years ago by Thomas Lake Builders, including the addition of a pool house and pool. Landscape architect Mark Berry was responsible for the elegant master plan of the rear garden, including the stunning pool, fireplace, arbors and all the hardscape. The current owners, who purchased the house shortly after this remodel, wished to accentuate the Mediterranean architecture with a grander, more formal motor court as well as new Mediterranean inspired plantings. Landscape designer Gabriela Yariv was brought in and completely re-designed the entire front garden, as well as the majority of the plantings in the rear. As a result, the garden that you see today is the result of two very talented designers. A spacious motor court, surrounded by mature olive trees, features a custom-made French limestone fountain typically found in villages in Provence. The Lodi pea-gravel, an environmentally sensitive substitute for concrete, has a pleasant crunch underfoot. Large pads of Dimic-style-concrete, artistically created by R. Cooke Construction, lends an Old World feeling to the garden. Inter-plantings of elfin thyme, violets, English geraniums, and Santa Barbara daisies fill the specs between the step stones, blurring the lines between hardscape and softscape. Additional front garden plantings consist of stately Italian cypress, feijoas (pineapple guavas), arbutus, and sycamore for the trees and a refined perennial plant palette of lavender, westringia, bearded iris, clipping African boxwood, variegated fortnight lily, and low-growing Camellia sasanquas. Massive Agave americanas punctuate the corners of the garden. The rear garden's extensive lawn surrounds a formal swimming pool, on axis with the new guest house. The existing tropical plantings were almost completely replaced with a Mediterranean palette. The stately Agave americanas are repeated as focal points, Citrus trees now punctuate the lawn-edges and flowering Solandra maxima and bougainvillea vines add vibrant splashes of color. Large areas of concrete were removed on the upper dining terrace to allow for additional plantings of cypress, Salvia leucantha, bearded iris, lavender, and lavatera. The western portion of the garden is almost completely in shade and the plant palette changes quite drastically. Camellia japonica 'Ramona' and 'Mrs. Tingley', Camellia sasanqua "Kanjiro', holly ferns, variegated duranta, purple flowering plectranthus, clivia and various varieties of liriope all thrive in the low light and delight the senses with their contrasting foliage forms and textures.


    Directions: At the request of the garden host, directions to this garden are available through our Open Days Directory, at additional gardens open on this date, and at the Arlington Garden in Pasadena, 285 Arlington Drive, Pasadena, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


    The Iaffaldano Garden

  5. The Hogan Garden 10:00 am - 4:00 pm 

    This garden as it can presently be seen, is a collaborative effort in the truest sense of the term. Completed less than two years ago, the garden is a result of the mutual efforts of Mark Bartos, the designer and the owners. The garden is also a work in progress as many elements are still envisioned including a plunge pool and spa. The main goal in creating the garden was to maximize a somewhat small amount of outdoor space in comparison to the Hogan's previous residence to accommodate the same scale of entertaining and outdoor living they enjoy. This resulted in a garden meant to be used in its entirety rather than one simply to be looked at. Privacy was an issue and was accomplished with a traditional hedge ofPrunus caroliniana in the front and with, what the designer refers to as a 'floating' hedge of the same plant material in conjunction with custom-designed, treillage fencing in the rear. The designers favorite hardscape material, crushed granite appears throughout the garden, as 'chip seal' in the driveway and loosely compacted for patios and walkways in the rear. The pedestrian entrance and one of the rear patios feature the much more luxurious use of flagstone. All of these areas and, in addition, the front lawn area are bound with margins of another favorite material, tinted, wash finished concrete. The plant palette is minimal. The front garden achieves its rather sophisticated elegance utilizing 'Iceberg', 'Eden' and white flower carpet roses, Wistringia fruticosaCerastium tomentosum, and existing camelias all bound by the Carolina cherry hedge and accented with potted topiaries of box and dwarf olive. Vertical 'exclamation points' are provided by four Platanus acerifolia (London plane trees) which will eventually be pollarded. The climbing 'Eden' roses also appear on the rear garden joined by Pittosporum 'Marjorie Channon', Setsugekkacamelias, Brunfelsia pauciflora, star jasmine, and Spanish lavender. A collection of cutting roses is bound by a low hedge of 'Little Ollie' olive. In the rear the vertical element is provided by four 'Aristocrat' flowering pears. The two rear garden areas were designed to flow directly from the residence and from the century old, beautifully appointed barn used as the gentleman of the houses retreat. Space was made for many wonderful elements collected over the years including the fireplaces, fountain, and marvelous containers.


    Directions: At the request of the garden host, directions to this garden are available through our Open Days Directory, at additional gardens open on this date, and at the Arlington Garden in Pasadena, 285 Arlington Drive, Pasadena, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  6. Merrill & Donivee Nash 10:00 am - 4:00 pm 

    Donivee Taylor Nash was brought up in Delaware surrounded by the rich culture of nineteenth-century estate gardens—Winterthur and Longwood included. She brought these gardening roots to this 1938 New England-style saltbox thirty years ago. Although the house and landscape have grown and changed, its park-like graciousness is still very much in evidence. Donivee is a collector of beautiful specimen plants; over the years she added roses and perennials to the existing English-style gardens. She added a poolside pavilion (a miniature version of a Beatrix Farrand design at Dumbarton Oaks) to the west end of the pool, which is a cool oasis in hot summers. In 2009, when the couple wanted to unify the backyard and reduce water consumption, they called upon well-known garden designer Judy Horton who accomplished the transformation of their landscape. Out went much of the lawn, in came eighteen trees, including a sycamore grove to screen the tennis court, a birch grove of Japanese anemones, and a mixed grove surrounding an antique Japanese lantern. A fig tree garden was added east of the east of the tennis court, and an olive terrace south of the house. Mediterranean plants are now artfully planted near the living and dining rooms. The golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) still shades the patio as it has for decades, but now is accompanied by a fresh palette of lavender, silver, white, and chartreuse.


    Directions: At the request of the garden host, directions to this garden are available through our Open Days Directory, at additional gardens open on this date, and at the Arlington Garden in Pasadena, 285 Arlington Drive, Pasadena, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


    Garden of Merrrill & Donivee Nash


Join or login to comment.

  • SunnyDE

    Is that an old LA Times article? It said the gardens are open May 5 for touring. ??

    April 25, 2013

    • Robert

      There are 2 Garden Conservancy events: the one in Pasadena is being held this Sunday. The one for LA is being held the following Sunday. I am hosting both events.

      April 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    My wife will be joining!

    April 17, 2013

8 went

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