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Creating a Southern California Garden—Slowly

Articles: Creating a Southern California Garden—Slowly

Recycled broken concrete creates the terrace walls of the perennial garden between the lawn, below, and the patio, above. Author’s photographs
Because of the mild, dry weather, people live outdoors in a mediterranean climate more than in other regions....Over the thousands of years since the gardens of Egypt and Mesopotamia, solutions have evolved, been lost and then rediscovered, and even perfected. These solutions are the models for the modern gardens we see today.
Jan Smithen, Sundrenched Gardens

After the "oohs" and "aahs," the comment I hear most often from garden visitors is "I bet this is just how you dreamed it would look!" I chuckle to myself before responding. I'm not sure I had an image of how it would look, but it is how I dreamed my garden would feel.

It was difficult to develop a vision for this garden when we started it nearly ten years ago. Our half-acre corner lot in northern San Diego County was almost a blank canvas. About 3,000 square feet were taken up by a neglected, thirty-year-old home, accompanying oversized garage, and guesthouse. But the lot, itself, was virtually undeveloped....

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