The Gamble Garden, Redux

In mid-June, I found myself back in Palo Alto for my younger son’s graduation weekend. Since my body was on East Coast time the day after I arrived, I decided to head for the Elizabeth Gamble Garden, which I’d last visited in February several years back. I’d loved the garden’s “bones” and its topiary bunny, as well as its impressive collection of succulents, which can get through Palo Alto winters easily.

This time the area was awash in unusual heat, reaching up into the mid-90’s, but the garden looked beautiful and didn’t appear to be suffering. The bunny was still there.

Gamble Garden, Palo Alto, topiary bunny

A sunflower admires the topiary rabbit in the Gamble Garden in June.

Even though it was only a little after 8 a.m., the sun was already very bright, so I chose my shots carefully. Verbena bonariensis, scattered throughout the garden, looked especially nice in the rim lighting.

Gamble Garden, Palo Alto gardens, Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis, acting as a see-through scrim in the Gamble Garden with pink Agastache behind it.

Moving away from the harshest light, I found some other great plant combinations. The first one was a contrast of Santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’ (my thanks to the thoughtful volunteers who had labled it) combined with a blue-purple annual verbena. I loved the pop of the colors.

Elizabeth Gamble Garden, Palo Alto gardens

Santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’ and purple annual verbena in the Gamble Garden, contrasting nicely with a broader-leaved perennial in the upper right corner.

In the “let’s do monochrome” category, I liked the way some pink alstroemaria had been planted in front of red barberries.

Gamble Garden, Palo Alto gardens, Alstroemaria

Pink alstroemaria (variety unknown) in the foreground of a planting of red Berberis thunbergii.

In the end, one of my favorite images ended up being this one, where all the colors, despite their differences, seemed to work together. The small path light on the left works to balance the smoke bush on the upper right, I hope.

Gamble Garden, Palo Alto Gardens

A path through the Gamble Garden in the early morning light.

And though my son doesn’t go to college here any more, I hope my travels will bring me back to revisit this garden in the future. Do see it if you’re in the area.

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2 Comments on “The Gamble Garden, Redux”

  1. Liz Says:

    Beautiful shots , Melissa.

    Especially love the santolina. I don’t know the secret to growing it here in Pgh. I plant it in some places and its a multiseasonal star, and other places a big flop. I guess like lavendar, suffers from extremes of temp andtoo much humidity?? just a theory, but that lemon santolina is gorgeous.


  2. Nice shots you have here. I love the yellow Santolina “lemon fritz”. This gives me an idea to plant one in my garden. Beautiful!

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