Garden Photo of the Day

Kathy’s Calabasas Garden

Remembering a beloved garden

Today we’re off to California to visit with Kathy Sandel.

I am a landscape designer, now retired, and I want to show you pics of my garden in Calabasas, California. This is a property I lived at for more than 20 years while I was doing other people’s gardens. I moved from there about three years ago to be nearer my daughter. However, I loved my garden so much I often look at pics of it.

I lived in a small house overlooking a man-made lake in Calabasas. A terrace hung out over a hill of about 12 to 15 feet in height. The slope beneath was planted and bordered a walkway around the entire lake. The gardens adjacent to the terrace all around the house were paved with Saltillo tiles, and I built a series of planters the better to see my planting from inside the house. It was an ideal environment and something I never thought I would leave. But life is full of changes.

The terrace at night

Looking out at the lake at dusk

My kitchen garden

View of the garden from inside the house

Peonies (Paeonia hybrid, Zones 3–8) are growing happily beneath a Melaleuca nesophila (Zones 9–11) tree.

Red valerian (Centranthus ruber, Zones 5–8) is spilling out of the bed with flowers.

A rose blooms amid the red valerian.

Clematis (Zones 4–9) surrounded by Polygonum capitatum (Zones 8–11), with leaves of a potted blood orange tree (Citrus × sinensis, Zones 9–11)

A Chinese magnolia (Magnolia × soulangeana, Zones 5–9) in bloom

The blooms of the rose ‘Climbing Dainty Bess’

This is one of the David Austin roses, but I don’t remember which.

The climbing rose ‘Eden’ with the rose ‘Othello’

The roses ‘Polka’ and ‘Angel Face’ were trained as climbers on the wall next to the fountain, with alstroemerias (Alstromeria hybrids, Zones 9–11) underneath.

Kathy shared so many beautiful photos that we’ll be back to see more of this garden tomorrow!


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. user-7821942 12/06/2023

    So beautiful, Kathy. Your roses are magnificent and all of your plants look so lush and vibrant. I love seeing the plants in different parts of the country and world. Gardeners are so creative and you are no exception.

    1. [email protected] 12/06/2023

      Yes. The roses loved that location. The same rose can look so different depending on where it is planted. The color will change and often the size of the blooms really react to their environment. But, I do find them to be fairly drought tolerant. Enough to mix with succulents. Which is a look I love. I am not crazy about traditional rose gardens. I like to mix them in with other shrubs and succulents and they seem to like it.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/06/2023

    Your clematis are so pretty.

    1. [email protected] 12/06/2023

      Thank you. For many years I had a double white clematis trained on the terrace railing. I can't remember its name, but it was spectacular. When they are happy there is no stopping them. But, eventually I needed to repaint the railing and somehow the plant never regained its footing. I do love to sneak them in here and there. If you can find a location where the roots are in shade, but the plant is in the sun, they love it.

  3. btucker9675 12/06/2023

    I can't express how beautiful this garden is to me - everything is so lovely. Your kitchen garden raised beds are works of art. LOVE!!!

    1. [email protected] 12/06/2023

      Thank you so much! I would stand at the sink and that was my view. I loved it. Over the years I made many changes. When I first built the planters my thought was to plant the lower planters with lettuces, arugula and herbs and the center deeper and higher planter with various roses and flowering shrubs, mostly perennials. But there was just me trying to eat all those greens! I couldn't keep up, so eventually I got tired of maintaining what I wasn't eating and decided to plant the whole thing in perennials. Of course, once you do that you can't go back without changing the soil because of whatever might be in it from various fertilizers and even the safest of sprays for aphids, etc. The other advantage to using planters is you have total control over the soil amendments. You don't have to fight clay soil or too sandy soil or hard pan. And you can refresh every couple of years as the soils settle. It is a dream to plant in loamy soil.

  4. Oxdriftgardener 12/07/2023

    Gorgeous Kathy. I feel for you having to make the decision to leave that behind. I have been nurturing mine for 45 years and my roots are deep . I have trouble even cutting back enough that we can do a bit of summer traveling let alone leaving it all together. The day will probably come that my kids will have to take me out of here kicking and screaming LOL

  5. User avater
    simplesue 12/07/2023

    Absolutely beautiful...and in such a gorgeous setting with the lake view...our old gardens live on in our memories forever...sigh...

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest