Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wave Garden, Point Richmond, CA

In the spring of 2013 I heard about a mysterious garden overlooking San Francisco Bay that features stunning concrete work and the most amazing array of plants. Called the Wave Garden, it isn’t a public garden, yet it’s open to the public. I never got around to visiting at the time but the Wave Garden had been on my mind since then.

This past Monday was President’s Day here in the U.S., one of the few public holidays we have. Nudged by a post on Loree Bohl’s fantastic site Danger Garden, I decided to take this opportunity and finally make the 1-hour drive to Point Richmond.

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The owners of the Wave Garden, Jeanne and Vern Doellstedt, bought the property adjacent to their home to prevent it from being developed (and presumably from blocking their view of San Pablo Bay, the northern extension of San Francisco Bay). They decided to turn it into a collaborative space combining concrete walls and paths, metal gates and fences, and lush yet drought-tolerant plantings that provide visual interest and color year round. To top it all off, they elected to open the garden up to the public to enjoy. The result is utterly stunning and unique, as you will see in this post.

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This is what the Wave Garden looks like in Google Earth:

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A word on how to get there: The Wave Garden is located in Point Richmond. Coming from Sacramento on I-80, we made the mistake of following my GPS, which took us on a needlessly circuitous route. My suggestion is to stay on I-80 to El Cerrito and take the Carlson Blvd exit. Then follow the directions of your GPS to Grandview Court in Point Richmond. The Wave Garden doesn’t have a street address per se, but the entrance (see next photo) is located at the end of Grandview Court.

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The entrance to the Wave Garden is fairly inconspicuous as you approach it…

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…but once you see the gate and metalwork, you know this is a special place

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The metal and concrete work combine harmoniously with the plants growing with wild abandon

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Furcraea foetida ‘Mediapicta’ and Aeonium undulatum

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Cabbage trees (Cussonia paniculata, I want one now!)

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Flowering aeoniums

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I love the way the fence ends

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Aeonium escobarii with my traveling companion for scale

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Cotyledon barbeyi?

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Leucadendron ‘Jester’

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Leucadendron ‘Jester’

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Leucadendron ‘Jester’ and Cotyleton orbiculata

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Close-up of Leucadendron ‘Jester’ aka ‘Safari Sunrise’. I planted a small specimen in our front yard last year.

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Leucadendron ‘Jester’

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Leucadendron ‘Jester’

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Leucadendron ‘Jester’

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Have I said that I love the textured concrete walls and walks? They meander here and there, giving the impression that the garden is larger than it actually is.

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Leucadendron ‘Jester’; stunning view of San Pablo Bay and the Richmond Bridge

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Huge clump of aeoniums, many of which were in bloom

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Leucadendron argenteum

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Echeveria elegans

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I love the organic shapes of the concrete steps

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Leucadendron ‘’Golden Tulip’

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Leucospermum cordifolium hybrid

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Leucospermum ‘Spider’

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Leucospermum ‘Spider’

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Seating area offering a great view of the Richmond Bridge

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Ceanothus sp. and Leucadendron salignum

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Ceanothus sp. and Leucadendron salignum

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Leucadendron salignum

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Aeoniums spilling over a wall

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Aeoniums and Leucadendron salignum

The creative geniuses behind the Wave Garden are Victor Amador who did the concrete work (800 lineal feet of textured walls and paths), Robert Sharpe who provided the metal gates and fences, and Kellee Adams of dig-it landscape design who came up with the plant palette. Their combined efforts have resulted in something truly special.

(If you want to see a photo of what the Wave Garden looked like before the plants went in, click here.)

I’m obsessed with the Wave Garden and can’t wait to go back. And thanks to the vision and generosity of the Doellstedts, I can—as can anybody else.

RELATED POSTS:

In July 2013 the Wave Garden was one of the destinations on the Garden Bloggers Fling tour. Here are a few posts by fellow bloggers:

18 comments:

  1. Even the metal gate and railings look great! Love the organic feel and curves of the hard landscaping and your hints on how to get there will come in handy for anyone intending on visiting after reading your post!

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    1. I love creativity above all else, and the Wave Garden ticks all the boxes for me. I'm so glad I went.

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  2. OMG!!! I want to go there. is it open to the public? You have great photos. How do I share you blog?

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    1. Laura, yes, it's open to the public. I don't think there are fixed hours. You can walk right in.

      To share this post, simply copy and paste the URL: http://www.succulentsandmore.com/2014/02/wave-garden-point-richmond-ca.html

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  3. Great photos Gerhard, I'm so glad you went! It looks like an entirely different space when you have it all to yourself.

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    1. I found it to be a very tranquil and meditative space. Perfect for hanging out, reading a book, sipping a coffee...

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  4. Such a special garden! Thanks for sharing it and bringing back fond memories of the fling visit there last summer.

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    1. From the blog posts I read, it seems that this was one garden that was universally liked by almost everybody. Justifiably so.

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  5. I wonder how many locals visit this garden, or how often the owners do? I love when people share the spaces they've created with others!

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    1. We talked to a neighbor, and it sounds like the owners live right behind the Wave Garden. There is a gate from their house to the garden, and I imagine they use it often.

      This neighborhood had a wonderful feel to it. The neighbor we spoke with had lived here all her life. I can understand why she wouldn't want to move.

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  6. I'm going to make a point of it to leave some time to drop by this garden the next time I make an Annie's Annuals run to the bay area! Sue

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    1. Annie's Annuals is only 4 miles away. I think quite a few plants at the Wave Garden came from Annie's.

      I wanted to swing by Annie's on Monday but time got away from us and I still had work to do at home.

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  7. The design of this garden is incredible. And the work it must take to keep it looking so pristine. Keeping mold of the concrete must take a full-time job. Beautiful.

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    1. There was no dirt or mold on any of the concrete. It looked pristine.

      I read somewhere that the garden receives 8 hours of maintenance a week. That's not much, considering how many plants there are, but the landscape design deliberately focused on low-maintenance (and drought-tolerant) plants. All in all, a rousing success in my book.

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  8. So nice to see it again; great post! It looks as well-maintained as it did last summer, so it seems they use their 8 hours quite well.

    That ginormous Aeonium is way cool. When you make it to the Huntington, do not miss the very old Cussonia in the Desert Garden to see what that baby one will become.

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    1. Several blogs listed the cussonia as Cussonia paniculata, but I'm not sure since Cussonia paniculata is only supposed to grow to 12 ft. It could be one of taller cussonia species...

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  9. Thanks to this blog, I got to go enjoy this awesome little garden on the way to Annie's!

    A note about how to get inside the garden: Set your GPS to 607 Grandview Court, which is right across the main entrance to the garden.

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    1. I'm glad you got to visit the Wave Garden. What a beautiful spot, isn't it?

      Thanks also for the GPS tip. Very helpful indeed!

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