Botanical paradise with a view: Mary and Lew Reid garden
This post continues the tour of the private gardens in Sonoma County, California I had the privilege of visiting as part of Pacific Horticulture Society’s Summit 2016. The first garden we saw was garden designer Roger Raiche’s place in Guerneville. Stop #2 was Mary and Lew Reid’s garden outside of Sebastopol. This is how it was described in the 2016 Summit program:
Mary and Lew Reid’s garden is 25 years old and ever changing. Lew, who never passes up a chance to grow a plant, and Mary, a landscape designer, have the pure pleasure of creating this beautiful garden painting high above Sonoma County’s lowlands, The zone 8 setting makes it possible to grow just about anything, and their garden is filled with plants from all over the world. What matters most to them is the juxtaposition of foliage colors and textures. Carefully considered, these carry the garden throughout the year. You’ll see it in its autumn glory.
It took quite a while to get there from the first garden. The roads were getting narrower, and the houses fewer in number and farther apart. Eventually we realized that this was not going to be your ordinary property. I didn’t know how large it was at the time, but a search of public records revealed that it’s 55 acres.
In the photo above you see the entrance to the fenced section of the property. The area where we parked, off to left, had room for a dozen or more cars, Oh, to have the luxury of so much space! (I allowed myself a brief moment of indulgence just now but stopped before I got carried away.)
Kathy and I ambled through the garden at a leisurely pace, taking pictures left and right. It rained twice, just a few minutes at a time, but conditions were perfect for photography otherwise.
I can only dream of large trees like these
Cabbage tree (Cussonia paniculata) from South Africa
Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) from Hubei Province, China. This tree was planted by the previous owners and is an offspring of the material originally brought into the U.S. by the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley.
This fellow attracted a lot of attention…
…stumping quite a few of us…
…until somebody more knowledgeable than me stepped forward with an ID: cunco rojo (Colletia ulicina) from Chile. Here’s a post about it.
Lovely variegated dogwood (Cornus sp., not sure which)
Massive Agave americana ‘Mediopicta alba’ in a large urn
Tapestries of color and texture on a grand scale: that’s where this garden excelled
Just look at this! To my eyes, this is perfection.
Everybody was talking about the phlomis in the foreground. You see the seed heads in many photos below. Apparently it’s Phlomis russeliana, or Turkish sage.
California fuchsia (Epilobium sp.) is at its best at this time of year
More Phlomis russeliana
Look at these textures and colors!
And the views!
More textural perfection
Even a tree-sized banksia!
Not sure which species
Grasses and Leucadendron salignum
One of the most beautiful manzanitas I’ve ever seen
Truly a living sculpture!
I’ve never been a big fan of barberry (Berberis sp.) but I’m ready to change my mind after seeing this
Red Berberis and Manfreda undulata ‘Chocolate Chip’
Echeveria ‘Imbricata’ and purple sage (Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens')
Echeveria ‘Imbricata’ and some sort of groundcover grevillea?
More tapestry perfection
…or two at the Agave americana ‘Mediopicta alba’. Also check out the blooming yucca behind it.
Another beautiful manzanita. I wish I knew which species. Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos) baffle me. There are over 145 Arctostaphylos taxa in total, of which maybe a dozen are endemic to Sonoma County.
What might this tree be? Another dogwood?
This is definitely a dogwood, Bentham’s cornel (Cornus capitata)
Bentham’s cornel (Cornus capitata)
Imagine a garden so big you could have tranquil spots to relax…
…or gaze out at your plant collection
The large dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) in front of the house seen from the other side
Apparently it’s a male
The main residence itself is perfectly nestled into the landscape. It doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb the way so many newer houses do. That made me love this property even more.
Pool and grapevine-covered pergola
Simple but beautiful patio
I assume this is the master bedroom. Check out the plants!
One final view of the patio
Before we knew it, an hour had gone by and it was time to move on. I was so happy to have visited the Reid’s place that I’m sure I had a Cheshire cat grin on my face when I climbed into the car. Their garden had everything I love: space, a view, and a choice collection of plants from similar climates all over the world—impeccably curated, grown and maintained.
- Pacific Horticulture Summit 2016, Sonoma County, CA, Oct 15-16, 2016
- Roger Raiche’s garden (Guerneville, CA)
- Mary and Lew Reid’s garden (Sebastopol, CA)
Josh Williams’s garden (Sebastopol, CA)