Looking through the pile of papers and books next to my favorite reading chair, I came across an article I had saved from the June 2nd Press Democrat about the “unique garden sights” there are to see by walking through the JC neighborhood in our town. Not wanting to put it off any longer and miss a chance for a fun horticultural outing, I called a garden friend and we set off on foot to see what there was to see along Orchard, Benton and Beaver Streets in Santa Rosa. The weather was lovely, the sunset warmed the sky and my little dog Chloe was up for a walk so off we went. It’s truly amazing what you see when walking, that you would completely miss driving by!
Right away we came upon a front yard that had been seeded with wild flowers. It was a riot of color and texture…poppies, bachelor buttons, coreopsis and lupine all tumbled together in a cheerful mass of color.
The little pink and blue bachelor buttons brought back memories of my grandmother’s garden. It was full of them – mixed with baby’s breath and zinnias – all planted for us to pick and arrange in tin cans covered with foil to put on relative’s graves on Memorial Day!
On Benton Street we came upon the huge pepper tree mentioned in the article and admired the St. Catherine’s Lace and Vitex…truly stunning!
Walking a little further we passed by a fig tree loaded with fruit and a picturesque old artichoke flower that proves aging can be beautiful!
The article mentioned another garden on Benton St. belonging to Paul and Lynette Scolari, so we walked a little further to find a real gem. Exclaiming over a new treasure every few feet we were in horticultural heaven! The best part was meeting the owners who came out just as we were swooning over their garden. They have worked together to create a garden the Wildlife Federation has deemed a Wildlife Habitat and as you peek into their garden with us you’ll see why!
Part of the garden has a unique low edging, a willow “fence” woven by Paul from their own willow tree!
Asters bloom along the sidewalk in beautiful sky blue…
and Cone flowers in a soft pink…
While this garden is a perfect habitat for wildlife it’s a charming and cozy habitat for people too! We took away so many good ideas!
After a neighborly chat and a generous garden tour with directions to another garden gem we were on our way! Next up a gorgeous hydrangea hedge with a sign that made us smile! I’m glad people obey it so others can enjoy the beauty..
The next garden was also designated a Wildlife Habitat, with a wild and natural look along with some bright and beautiful Cleome….
Since it was getting dark quickly and our car was…well, we weren’t sure anymore where it was parked…we headed back in the general direction…and came upon some a row of bright dahlias…
…and then something that made us both say, simultaneously….I want to do that!!! The owner, probably wondering about these weird women running around taking pictures in the near dark, came out and graciously spoke with us. His wife made these with a piece of rebar and five pots and he assured us we could do the same!
The owner also told us about the huge magnolia tree in the front yard. Planted by a Civil War Captain it’s said to be the second oldest tree in Santa Rosa! (Since it was getting too dark, even for my 2000 ISO, I went back before work the next morning to take a better photo!).
I love the way the tree seems to loom over the house almost protectively. It’s a good thing it’s so beautiful since the owner mentioned that the upkeep is a lot of work!
Finally back to the car, we realized we only covered a few blocks of this wonderful neighborhood so we’ll be going back! Next time you have a free evening take a leisurely stroll through the JC neighborhood, meet some nice people and admire some lovely gardens!
Copyright Donna Jones Photography