HISTORIC MEDITERRANEAN ESTATE
Joseph Kucera, 1924
This Pasadena estate, nestled above the Arroyo, is a classic example of the Spanish Colonial Revival style that was prevalent in the early part of the 20th century.
While the house was in perfect condition, the grounds lacked cohesiveness and a sense of place. I researched the great Estate gardens of Santa Barbara and Montecito extensively to compose the planting theme for this garden.
The first move I made was to replace the 100' long by 15' wide lawn parkway with a dramatic mixture of Pride of Madeira, Agaves, rosemary, and other succulents. Mature Melaleuca trees were craned in to flank the original wrought-iron entrance gate.
I then moved onto the long lawn on the lowest of this garden’s three levels. I encountered curvilinear planting beds filled with a haphazard mixture of what I refer to as ‘Home Depot plants’. I envisioned this grand lawn as very formal linear space, bordered by clipped boxwood and terminating at a semi-circular Orangerie. The planting beds now showcase masses of white Iceberg roses and stately Cypress trees.
The next step was to tackle the pool area. Again, we craned in four mature, field-grown Olive trees to give the area an authentic Mediterranean feel. Under-plantings of Agaves, ornamental grasses and numerous drought-tolerant perennials complete the scene.
The rose garden also received extensive attention and was filled with masses of pink geraniums and white Santa Barbara Daisies.
When this garden was finally completed, the owners and I were completely surprised by the national attention it received.
This garden has been featured in six garden tours (including the exclusive National Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program), numerous publications, such as the Los Angeles Times and Martha Stewart Living and a recent Rizzoli coffee table book, California Mediterranean by the noted architect, Marc Appleton.