Thursday, January 28, 2016

Doing 'The Wave'

Yesterday a friend and I made a trip out to The Wave Garden in Point Richmond CA, a 20 minute drive north of Oakland. I'd heard about this unique garden for years but had never made the trek. The garden is the vision and handiwork of Jeanne and Vern Doellstedt. Acquiring the property adjacent to their home, they imagined a stunningly organic design then fashioned it into one of the Bay Area's most unique public gardens. As you will see in the photos that follow, they combined Gaudi-like curving concrete walls and paths, twisting metalwork gates and fences, then added visually striking plantings of Protea family shrubs and colorful succulents to create this one of a kind artistic vision. Due to the sculpture and artwork and the mostly evergreen plantings, the garden maintains year round interest.
But first you have to find it and that proved to be quite the challenge. I had directions off the web and I needed every left and right turn to find the address. But even that wasn't enough, as the actual entrance is off another little side street in back of the stated address. Fortunately a previous visitor had alerted those wanting to check out the garden of this little clue and that finally took us to the entrance. We were lucky to have the place to ourselves for most of our hour plus visit so got to enjoy it in peace and on a sunny, clear day that provided spectacular views of the Bay. The difficulty in finding the place, the private setting and the lack of other visitors made the experience seem like we'd stumbled onto the most amazing secret garden.
So, here are photos courtesy of the Succulents and More blog. Enjoy!

Here's a wide angle view, taken from the bottom of the garden. It gives you an idea of the piggyback paths, how they curve to and fro, winding up the slope.

Main entrance. Or I guess more accurately, the western, side entrance. All of the metalwork looks to be wrought iron. Nearly all of the pieces feature undulating curves reminiscent of, if not actually inspired by Antonio Gaudi, the Spanish architect who has populated Barcelona with his revolutionary curved designs.

Looking east towards the houses that border the garden on the east side. That's a mature Ceanothus in front and a huge patch of Cotyledon behind.

Looking NE. You can see a bit of the Bay in the upper right corner. Everything about the steps and walls is curved, soft, inviting. That's a Leucadendron 'Jester' in the front left and straight ahead. As was mentioned in the opening, many of the plants in this garden are from South Africa.

The view looking northwest. Though the garden is not at the top of the Pt. Richmond hill, it's high enough for lovely views. 

Here's a good shot showcasing the curving lines and undulations of the hardscape. That's an expanding crop of Echeveria elegans inside the front bed. The bluish color contrasts nicely with the adobe clay looking cement walls.

There are three areas where one can sit and enjoy the scenery. This one is the most private and is situated on the west side of the garden. My friend was saying he could sit out here all day, every day, and while that may be true I think the pleasure of the view is enhanced by a less occasional viewing.

Besides a fabulous collection of Leucospermums, Leucadendrons, Banksias and Proteas, the garden features an assortment of colorful succulents. Here, a few different Aeoniums spill over the edge. Below, a Leucadendron salignum shows off its colorful bracts, while behind it several Smoke trees (Cotinus) offer only bare branches. They will leaf out with striking eggplant-colored foliage in spring.

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