Eastside Garden Story

Seaside Gardens Nursery, Carpinteria

The owners of Seaside Gardens Nursery in Carpinteria, California wanted to go beyond the ordinary nursery display. They called in a handful of the best local landscape designers to landscape their 3 plus acres. Eleven separate demonstration gardens were developed, two of which were entrusted to Earthworks: the Grassland and the Perennial Cottage garden.

Jessica designed the Grasslands and used the space both as a design opportunity and as a laboratory to observe different grasses in our local climate. The Grasslands demonstrate the beautiful variety of color, form, and texture in grasses and grass like plants from the Hairy Awn Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) with its spectacular cloud of pink blooms in late summer, the upright blue of prairie native Switch Grass ‘Prairie Sky’, the brightly variegated six foot Japanese Silver Grass ‘Cabaret’, to the dark wires of the Cape Rush with its golden sheathes at each node, and many more. While the grassland is designed to have a meadowy feel, many of these grasses can be beautifully incorporated into other kinds of mixed plantings or used on their own for a very modern clean effect. It is an ongoing project, evolving over time as we observe which grasses are thriving in our local climate and which grasses tend to succumb to the rabbits! 

Growing up in northern Germany, Gudrun had always loved the exuberance of the farm house gardens there, and she was delighted to design the Cottage Garden.

Gudrun was given a large plot which needed some grading and shaping.  She  created a sunken garden surrounded by stacked stone walls with a small pond in the center. This was later changed to a fountain which now anchors the space. The south wall was added recently by the owners as a memorial to a friend. A white garden accented with gray foliage occupies the area to one side of the sunken garden.  Opposite the white garden  is a blue and purple garden planted with salvias, geraniums, Kashmir sage and lavender.  Both the blue and white gardens example the way in which limiting the color palette can give sophistication and elegance to the informality of a ‘cottage garden’. 

A small triangular herb garden separates the sunken garden area from the cheerful all color garden. This was another large area and to give it shape the beds are designed around a center circle with paths leading away from it and creating more small planting islands. This garden is exuberant in its mix of colors and shapes.  If you go early on a summer morning when the salvias are in bloom the humming birds are out in force feeding and buzzing after one another right by your head!

grasses  path  slope  roses  featrues  fountain  hummingbird  salvia  wall  About this garden