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Relishing the Light: Dexter Cannon’s Garden

Articles: Relishing the Light: Dexter Cannon’s Garden

A hillside of succulents. Photographs by Deidra Walpole except as noted

A mature columnar cactus (Trichocereus peruvianus) with nine-foot-tall rusting steel obelisk in the background

For almost a decade, artist and industrial designer Dexter Cannon has gardened a steep slope in a canyon nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains in Sherman Oaks. Sharp-shinned hawks and Cooper’s hawks feed their young in plain view, while lizards sunbathe oblivious to the gardener at work. Native California black walnut (Juglans californica) and coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) shade the walnut woodland habitat. The topography and the woodland both affect the light that infuses the garden.

The garden around the home where Cannon lives with his wife Lee Hendrix, curator of prints and drawings at the J Paul Getty Museum, blends seamlessly into the mountain range surrounding it. A path separates their “wild” garden on the hillside above from the landscaped garden below. Above the path, gooseberry (Ribes californicum), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), Coton...

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