Lani’s Garden

– Posted in: Garden Adventures

 

I hadn’t been to Lani Freymiller’s garden for nearly a decade—not since I covered homes, gardens, architecture and interior design for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Would it be as incredible as I remembered? So few gardens stand the test of time. The occasion was a visit from Bay Area designer Rebecca Sweet, and we weren’t disappointed. If anything, Lani’s garden was better than ever.

Like all great gardens, Lani’s has a distinctive style—a rustic simplicity reminiscent of Provence. We visited in late autumn, and to compensate for a lack of floral color in the garden, Lani—an artist—emphasized the garden’s brilliant chartreuse foliage, and contrasted it with purple asters and yellow sunflowers.

Before she retired from teaching grade school, Lani had her students read the book, Linnea in Monet’s Garden. At the end of the school year, they were rewarded with a day in her garden. Let’s do the math: If Lani averaged 30 students a year multiplied by 40 years, that’s 1,200 children who gained an appreciation for gardening, thanks to her. Many, now adults, come back and visit. Several have been married in her garden.

Sitting areas like this create destinations, inviting visitors to explore the garden.

There’s even a pond, reminiscent of Giverny. Notice how the rowboat is perfectly placed, as though in a painting.

Wonderful vignettes use salvaged and repurposed items.

Like sparklers, asters enlivened outdoor tabletops that day.

Look through the windowpanes. Doesn’t the view of a second vase with purple flowers, flanked by bright green foliage, suggest an Impressionist painting?

Lani used Granny Smith apples to repeat a thematic color in her garden and to lend contrasting shapes. So simple.

Old corbels and shutters are focal points and backdrops for tucked-away areas.

Even the way she stores her pots is artistic.

Two lovely ladies, both passionate gardeners: Rebecca and  Lani.

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Debra Lee Baldwin

Debra Lee Baldwin

Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified, all Timber Press bestsellers. Her goal is to enhance others' enjoyment and awareness of waterwise plants and gardens by showcasing the beauty and design potential of succulents via books, articles, newsletters, photos, videos, social media and more. Debra and husband Jeff live in the foothills north of San Diego. She grew up in Southern California on an avocado ranch, speaks conversational Spanish, and at age 18 graduated magna cum laude from USIU with a degree in English Literature. Her hobbies include thrifting, birding and watercolor painting. Debra's YouTube channel has had over 3,000,000 views.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin
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