Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sunday Favorites: A Visit To The Original Happenstance Garden 1999-2006

It's time for another episode in the weekly series Sunday Favorites over at Happy To Design, jump on over and check out some of your fellow bloggers favorite posts from the past.

This week I'm sharing a post from my much neglected sister blog Happenstance Garden II, which is about two years behind the times.  I'm hoping to get back to updating it, but in the meantime I thought I'd share a bit about my garden at the old house here on TLRT.

In 1999 I began work on the first Happenstance Garden on a typical California suburban lot. Think small, just under 1/4 of an acre including the footprint of the house. It evolved over the next few years and given the wonderful climate here in the Bay Area, results do happen fairly quickly. There were issues to deal with, like hordes of pocket gophers and ground squirrels devouring hundreds of dollars worth of plants many times over, 100mph wind storms, and neighbors who had three forever yapping dogs.

By 2004 I was asked to open my garden for a fund raiser run by the local historical society. It was a great success and well received by close to 1,000 visitors that weekend. Once the garden tour was over, I began the expansion of our koi pond that I had been putting off until after the tour. Over the next few weeks with some help from my DH the pond was expanded and all was once again serene in the garden.

Then out of nowhere I just needed more space. Plain and simple, the urge for more dirt came over me like an illness. We had been toying with the idea of putting together a five-year plan as we approached retirement, but nothing had come of it. So we put together the plan in a couple of days and decided to cruise the Bay Area's outlying areas for a piece of land. We drew a circle on a map with a couple of requirements: 1) DH required it to be within an hour's drive to the Bay to get to our boat, 2) I required that it be within an hour's drive of both of our kids and their families.

Three weeks later we found the property and we closed on it in September of 2004.
So much for the "5 Year Plan".


  1. Reading your blog along with others from this area in CA makes me want to move west. The climate in CA is definitely the best! Thanks for sharing your garden. I went over to garden blog. Wow! You have some amazing photos. Glad your plan was implemented quickly so you've had more time to enjoy. We are all fortunate that you share the images with all of us. ~ Sarah

  2. I'm impressed with the idea that you would consider putting together a 5 year plan! We do things on the fly around here, and I'm always surprised when we actually get things done! I'd love to have my garden looking as beautiful as yours did. What an inspriation as I start working outside again.
    Aren't we lucky to live in CA with the great weather, it's so nice for our plants!
    Heidi - Heart and Home

  3. What a beautiful mosaic. How did the koi pond turn out?

  4. Wow! That is beautiful. You did an amazing job on that garden. What a lovely view too.

  5. Oh, how beautiful! What lovely gardens! And that view is amazing. I can't wait to see what you did with the other acreage you bought. Your climate, along with your thumb, are both kind to plants!


    Sheila :-)

  6. It amazes me all that empty space at that time. I bet today it is totally filled in. It is so gorgeous out there, but I only got to see the southern part near Newport Beach. My sister and family lived there for a short while.
    You blog is so colorful with all your dishes and tableware. I wish I had more interest in dining, but the family has grown and flown the coop, so to speak.
    So I will enjoy your meals from over here.
    Great work !

  7. Hi Candy...

    Ohhh...what a beautiful garden! I loved going through your photos...the Coi pond is fabulous! I was just wondering what type of flower that is in the middle photo on the left side? I've never seen anything like's really unusual but beautiful!!! Well my friend, your gorgeous garden is evidence of many, many hours of work...thank you so much for sharing it with us for Sunday Favorites today! This was a real treat!!!

    Have a super Sunday, Candy!
    Chari @Happy To Design

  8. How beautiful! Your garden takes my breath away!

    I miss California...everything seems to thrive there...unlike in Texas where the heat kills it all;)

    Your mosaic is lovely!


  9. I had to pop back in and tell you I became a follower of yours today! I thought I had already done so! Silly me!


  10. Hi, I love your beautiful mosaic. The photography is amazing. I love that you had a 5 year plan! Best wishes for a happy future!

  11. Thanks everyone for stopping by to read about my old garden. There are some days here at the new garden that I yearn for that small space. A big garden means lots more work....who knew??? LOL

    Lori, the koi pond turned out was just an extension of an existing pond. We were able to enjoy it for the two years it took to develop the acreage we purchased. And then it was bull dozed when we got the old house ready to put on the market. The koi pond here at the new house we built out of concrete surrounded by a paver patio. A lot less work than a pond with a liner, we learned a lot from that first pond. I think there is a post or two over on my garden blog about moving the fish ..... that is an adventure I never care to repeat!

    You can also read about how we developed the new property and although the garden blog is waaaay behind in updates, it does take you up to planting the rose garden and the first two growing seasons. Needless to say, a garden is always a work in progress.

    Connie, the land that you see in this post still looks the same. Most of it is unbuildable or state land that sits at the base of Mt. Diablo State Park.

    Hi Chari! The one that looks like a starfish?That is Orbea variegata, commonly called the Starfish Cactus or Toad Cactus.

    Cathy, welcome ! So happy you joined our little group.

    Again, thanks to all of you for your lovely comments and do stop over at Happenstance Garden II for more info on the old garden and my new garden which I started working on in Nov of 2006.



Thank you for your lovely comments.

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