Garden Photo of the Day

Our 2nd visit of the season to Pauline’s garden in California

In California the flowering crabapple's pink buds begin opening into profuse white flower clusters in early March. Then soon after birds relish the pea-sized fruits of the tree. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

Well, I can sure tell it’s spring, because the flood of one after another gorgeous images from Irvin Faria in Carmichael, California, continues! Woohoo!! 

Japanese maple ‘Katsura’ is a beautiful and colorful tree all year. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

Today he says, “Winter garden cleanup, pruning, and tree transplanting are now completed and spring has begun. For the moment we are enjoying the garden’s freshness and beautiful unfolding of Japanese maple leaves. It’s all so beautiful we thought perhaps others might enjoy this early spring garden display.

The beautiful spring yellow-orange leaves of the ‘Katsura’ Japanese maple. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

“Our garden design continues to be inspired by the eloquent narrative and gorgeous photographs in the 1994 book, “Tasha Tudor’s Garden”. There we first learned the beauty of the flowering crabapple tree. Its been called the “tree of the fragrant forest.” Consequently, at the garden entrance we planted an exquisite flowering crabapple to announce the character of the woodland garden.

This row of Loropetalum chinense shrubs separates the entry garden from the lower eastern garden. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

“Undoubtedly, our favorite Japanese maple in the spring is the ‘Katsura’. It is the first of the 200+ Japanese maples in the garden to leaf out in the spring. Its lush new spring foliage always has a special charm.

From the drooping branches of the loropetalum hang these witch hazel-like twisted petals. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

“Several spectacular flowing Loropetalum chinense (Hamamelidaceae), with their witch hazel-shaped, brilliant pinkish blossoms have begun their spring bloom cycle. We use this plant in several garden areas to create a crescendo of color that complements the foliage around it.

These extremely hardy and tolerant cast-iron plants spread by rhizomes, making them ideal for transplanting. Forsythia blends well with cast-iron plants. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

“Nestled among the rich evergreen leaves of Aspidistra elatior (Cast-iron plant), vibrant yellow blooms of Forsythia viridissima (Oleaceae) bring the freshness of spring. Forsythia planted along garden pathways always draws attention from visitors. It is ideal for our landscape.

Western and eastern redbud trees with their brilliant clusters of buds highlight our natural garden character. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

“Placed in the naturalized garden setting several Cercis canadensis trees (Redbud) have begun to show their brilliant rosy to purplish pink blossoms. Oak tree trunks and their arching overhead branches serve to frame and highlight the redbuds.

This Australian tree fern has flourished with the protection of the overhead oak trees. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

“In the lower garden a fast growing hardy Australian tree fern (Cythea cooperi) is paired with smaller leather ferns (Rumohra adiantiformis). It serves as a focal point along the downward path to the creek below. Where winter frost has left vacant garden space Primula (Primrose) has been planted for their spring beauty. And fresh new ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) along with red-flowering lilies have encircled the guitar-playing frog.

These primroses, native to the Himalayas, are handy as instant open garden space fillers. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

“Similar to Linda Kennedy’s Texas garden, we too have been experiencing invading flocks of migrating American robins and cedar waxwings. Indeed, one of the most delightful things about a garden is the beauty of nature it brings.”

Sigh. Irvin, you and Pauline are just awesome.

The ostrich ferns next to the frog generally reach three feet tall and spread quickly by underground rhizomes. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
The American robin breeds from Alaska east across the continent to Newfoundland and south to California, Texas, Arkansas and South Carolina. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
The cedar waxwing breeds from southeastern Alaska east to Newfoundland and south to California, Illinois and Virginia. They travel in flocks of 40 or more. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

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View Comments


  1. user-1020932 03/27/2013

    after DAYS of freezing , nasty weather at least with these photos i know it's spring somewhere! sadly, probably no Loropetalum flowers here this year. Irvin and Pauline how large is your garden? youhave an amazing collections of many many different plants, all beautiful.

  2. wGardens 03/27/2013

    Oh, my! 200 Japanese Maples! The close-up shot of the Katsura Maple is lovely! Your garden sounds wonderful. What a beautiful property to enjoy. Thanks for sharing.

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/27/2013

    Simply beautiful!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/27/2013

    Would the guitar strumming frog mind some company? I'd be happy to have some aged patina paint slapped on me (hey, who am I kidding...I'm aging fine without any artificial help) and I could strike a pose and just BE...that way, I could be a part of this beautiful garden. Hmmm, come to think of it, I wouldn't make very good garden statuary because I'd want to cheat and move around. There's so many stunning areas to take in and immerse myself in. What a glorious time of year for your garden, Irvin and Pauline...such an celebration of all the beauty that spring can bring.

  5. bee1nine 03/27/2013

    While capturing the image of the flowering crabapple, I
    envisioned the Baltimore oriole's that shall come to visit
    mine, in May!
    So wonderfully stated are your captions and to behold
    California's springtime beauty. Lovely, once again to visit
    your outstanding garden, Irvin and Pauline!:)

  6. GardenersWK 03/27/2013

    Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed your spring blooms tremendously!
    What beautiful specimen trees you have!

  7. GardenersWK 03/27/2013

    Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed your spring blooms tremendously!
    What beatiful specimen trees you have!

  8. bethnbijoux 03/27/2013

    I ALWAYS love to see Irvin and Pauline's garden and today's photos are especially welcome after our snowstorm earlier this week. *Sigh* Will Spring EVER come to Ohio?

    I also appreciate your captions! Thank you so much for giving such interesting and informative details about your photos! It is an extra bit of insight into the mind of two master gardeners!

  9. GreenGrammy 03/27/2013

    I agree with everyone's comments so far--so good to know that spring has arrived somewhere, but unfortunately not yet here in northeast Ohio. Love the crabapples, redbuds, Japanese maples--everything! And the birds, without which a garden doesn't seem fully alive somehow. I save your photos as wallpaper, Pauline and Irvin. And I too am inspired by Tasha Tudor's book. Also we have lots of ostrich ferns in our woodsy area in the back garden--love their almost-prehistoric look. Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. phase2682 03/27/2013

    Hello from nearby Roseville! I always enjoy, with envy, your submissions; what a wonderful garden. Your Australian Tree Fern is wonderful. Mine is damaged by winter frosts and scorched by the summer sun; the oak tree protection must be key.

  11. sheila_schultz 03/27/2013

    What a lovely way to start my day... Irvin, your words combined with Pauline's gardens never cease to make me smile.

  12. appaloosa 03/27/2013

    Thank you for idendifying the plants. It makes it so much more interesting and educational.

  13. DellGarden 03/27/2013

    We appreciate all the wonderful comments about "Pauline's Garden". To answer tntreeman's question - the garden is ~ one acre but because it includes two steep hillsides separated by a creek it appears much larger.

  14. user-1020932 03/27/2013

    back home, frozen almost ,,,again. came to warm up in Pauline's garden. hard to imagine all that in one acre. i had tree ferns when i lived in carmel but they never looked that good. maybe too cold but probably i didn't know what i was doing. everything really is beautiful there,,, do you take in boarders? or do i have to become a squatter? and just take up residence?

  15. tractor1 03/27/2013

    Only one acre, it looks like a lot more and by your descriptions of what's growing it sounds more like at least ten acres... how does one fit 200 Japanese maples on one acre and have room for anything else, must be rather small/young maples. Anyway Irvin did a grand job, I love lots of specimen trees.

  16. user-1020932 03/27/2013

    and WHERE is cwheat and should the authorities be notified?

  17. trashywoman62 03/27/2013


    I must say the color of the Loropetalum is just overwhelming after seeing so much white here the last few days! Your garden continues to astound me! I feel as though it must speak to you every day when you walk outside..."Hey over here, look who's blooming today" and I get goosebumps remembering that feeling when you watch for those first buds and then behind your back they pop open and say "Surprise!"

    Oh, sorry, I got a little carried away with my fanciful thinking! I so envy the green you have right now!

    Thank you so much another great glimpse through the garden gate.

  18. cwheat000 03/28/2013

    Tntreeman, no worries. I am alive and well, just tired. I haven't been getting enough sleep and I have started spring cleanup in my garden. My eyes were closing with my computer in hand, just as I saw my name mentioned. I have been peeking in most days. I will be going to bed earlier and joining in again. I love you guys. Pauline, your garden is reliably gorgeous. Keep up the good work and thank you.

  19. darylsavage 03/28/2013

    Irvin, I think you are a talented garden writer. Can you please remind me what part of Ca. Carmichael is in? My best friends just moved to Roseville, and they are having a ball trying all sorts of plants that are not native to Sussex County, NJ where they came from.

  20. darylsavage 03/28/2013

    Irvin, I think you are a talented garden writer. Can you please remind me what part of Ca. Carmichael is in? My best friends just moved to Roseville, and they are having a ball trying all sorts of plants that are not native to Sussex County, NJ where they came from.

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