Private Garden in the northern California hills

This is the third and final post from my trip to the Bay Area and the gardens I visited in May,  This was the garden of Mr. and Mrs. Watson who are the parents of my brother-in-law.

The Watson garden is located on 40 acres up in the chaparral hills near Vacaville CA. Mr. and Mrs. Watson are retired educators and purchased the property decades ago. The property had originally been part of a ranch which was divided and sold.

Mrs. Watson mostly gardens around the perimeter of the house in borders using a blend of natives and drought tolerant plants. There are 360 degrees of borrowed views from the natural landscape. Due to an early spring the hills were already turning gold in mid-May.

View from the driveway

Here are a few photos of the views around the house.




Patches of green quickly changing to gold




Cistus skanbergii

Cistus, a wonderful choice in the borders, has that lovely fragrance from the leaves which the heat seems to bring out.

Unknown cistus with a lone flower on it



Our hostess could not recall the name of this plant. I want to say Grevillea of some sort but the flower does not match. Any ideas?



Mixture of grasses and small shrubs in a border.







A variety of salvias were used though many were just finishing up their first flush.


Blue Oak ( Quercus douglasii)

The landscape was dotted with several of these small oaks. Mrs Watson called them Blue Oaks and stated that they were volunteers.  I very much like the blue color of the leaves.




Manzanita, variety unknown



The tall spikes of purple in the background are Woolly Blue curls (Trichostema lanatum) I believe. I saw it used in many gardens.  I’ve tried it up in our area but it has never wintered over for me.



Final and parting view. How lovely is that?  That said, I was beginning to miss the vernal lushness of home and was anxious to see what was transpiring in my own garden in the week I had been gone.

Each trip brings fresh ideas for not only my own garden but for planting in general for our urban area.  I’m compelled to add more of our native plants into the landscape.


3 thoughts on “Private Garden in the northern California hills

  1. That last photo is beautiful. I love those golden, rounded hills, and still hope to find the perfect affordable little plein air painting. Your relatives have done a very nice job making the most of the climate and terrain.

    Liked by 1 person

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