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Susanna’s Folly

Articles: Susanna’s Folly

Recycled concrete blocks were used to retain the steep hillside, offering a creative and sustainable solution that minimized demolition waste. Photo: James Griffith

Susanna Dadd has soil in her blood. She began gardening when she was a tender four years old living in the English countryside during the austere years following World War II. Her father’s doctoral work in botany at London University was interrupted by the war and the family relocated.

“We had this garden next to an old mansion that had burnt down in 1916,” she recalls, seated at the table in the simple, cozy kitchen of her Altadena home, which overlooks the front portion of the property. Two resident cats monitor our conversation. “So he just took the fence out. There was nobody about, you know. It was farmland and then these ruined buildings and our little coach house. We ended up enclosing two acres, and he built a really beautiful garden there. They gave me a plot. I went into the forest and I came back with all these colored mushrooms that were deadly poisonous—but I’ve always gardened. Always. Later, when I had a flat in London, I always...


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