Garden Conservancy Open Days — a Lilian Bridgman House
This past weekend I went to two more gardens from the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days. The first is a house owned by Ace Architects, a firm known for quirky postmodern architecture such as the Saxophone House. (Their company website has probably the only Flash Intro that I have ever liked.) This house on the tour is a historic lodge that they’ve renovated and added on to, different from what I think they usually do but beautifully done.
I’d seen photos of the house somewhere before. It’s a beautiful little Lilian Bridgman (a Maybeck-influenced, Berkeley architect) house from the 1930′s, originally built as a hunting lodge back when Lafayette represented the outer reaches of the Bay Area. The brickwork on the house is beautifully restored, and additions to the house blend smoothly while still revealing the original design.
The garden is suitably quirky for owners like Ace. I walked through it before I found out it was designed by them, but for a variety of reasons I could already tell it was designed by an architect. There’s something about the training or the mindset that always seems to show up when architects design landscapes. The gardens are often interesting, but usually somewhat static. For instance, in this garden, it seemed like very little would ever change; there would be little seasonal variation, the planting would always emphasize the structural form of the plants, and the plants would get bigger but never touch each other or need to be moved. Also, it was completely purist, with zero non-succulent plants, and it ended abruptly, delineated as if it were a built structure in the landscape. Maybe the architect influences were more prominent because Ace has such a distinctive style. It was cool, though. There were some great specimens, especially the Yuccas and a big Xanthorrhea.
Further down on the property, surrounded by the dried-out grassy hills of Contra Costa, was a roundish lawn watched over by five statues reclaimed from the San Francisco public library and edged by a wide hedge of aloes. I’m not sure how one ends up with old statues from the library, but they were a very strange and cool thing to find in a private garden.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 at 6:51 am and is filed under private gardens. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.