Michele's succulent garden in Davis

My friend Michele lives in a small subdivision here in Davis where the homeowners’ association (HOA) manages common areas. As part of their purview, they also control what the front yards look like. Michele is one of a few homeowners who obtained permission to add water-wise landscaping after the HOA removed the previous lawn and added bark and stone. She recently started to plant succulents next to the walkway to her front door... ...and filled a divider between parking spaces with mangaves: Both beds are mulched with grayish purple rocks, purple being Michele’s favorite color. It’s wonderful to see turf giving way to much more sustainable—and attractive!—plantings. While Michele’s front yard is, by necessity, more restrained, her back yard is a treasure trove of succulents. After taking out a large tree in the corner (far left in the next photo), she suddenly had a large sunny space to fill. Never one to miss an opportunity like this, she created a dry garden. It’s still in its begin

Abkhazi Garden, my favorite garden in Victoria, BC

When people think of gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, they immediately think of Butchart Gardens ( see my recent post ). My favorite, though, is very much the opposite: small, intimate, and quiet. No surprise, seeing how it started as a private garden, reflecting only the preferences of its original owners instead of a corporate business plan. I’m talking about Abkhazi Garden, located in the Greater Victoria neighborhood of Fairfield. You could walk through the garden and thoroughly enjoy it without knowing a thing about its history—and I suppose people do. However, once you know who created the garden and how it came about, you’ll be able to appreciate it on a entirely new level. I shared the history of Abkhazi Garden in this 2016 post , and it bears repeating here. Some may not be willing to admit it, but all but the grinchiest among us enjoy a good love story. And a good love story gets even better when it plays out against the backdrop of war. Our story starts in 1922 in Pari