- Written by Stephanie Struyck Elgin
PFC Cole William Larsen paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country while serving overseas in Iraq in November of 2004. To keep his memory alive, his mother, Christi Larsen, created the Memorial Garden Tour, a self-guided tour throughout the SCV just two years later. Combining her love for gardening and her son’s love for the outdoors, Christi wanted to keep his memory alive and show appreciation to the community.
Due to the overwhelming response of the first tour, Christi continued the tradition. “I have learned that this has become more than just a garden tour, it has brought people together who share a passion and honor for those who have served our country.” Donations benefited the Cole William Larsen Foundation, which supports families of fallen and wounded military.
This issue’s La Maison features nine of the Santa Clarita gardens that were part of the recent Memorial Garden Tour. Thank you to the residents who graciously opened their doors for the community to enjoy.
For more information, visit www.memorialgardentour.com.
A Unique Reflection of Individuality
Community Gardens of Santa Clarita – Central Park, Santa Clarita
The mission of Community Gardens of Santa Clarita is to create a place where individuals can come together to promote the benefits of locally grown, organic food that is environmentally friendly, sustainable and cost effective. In the gardens, you will see a variety of fruit trees, roses, California native plants, California Poppy, Butterfly Garden and more. New this year are plots for child education classes.
A Love for Water
Fred and Sara Seeley – Canyon Country
You can enjoy the sounds of the waterfall in the Seeley garden. Having grown up in a small town in Utah where the weather was dry and water scarce, water seemed to be a theme throughout. The Seeley home has five aquariums, a 7,500 gallon koi pond, including a 28 year old koi within, a turtle pond, pool spa and two water features. The koi pond is surrounded by an Asian style garden with a variety of plant species, stone lantern pagoda, hotei statue and more. Bonsai trees have become a passion and are incorporated into the yard.
Where Creativity and Inspiration Meet
Jeff and Denise Jens – Canyon Country
Creating a drought tolerant environment, the Jens have incorporated plants and succulents from Mediterranean and desert climates. They’ve also used renewed and “up” cycled materials which have become an integral part of their landscape design, transforming their yard into a park like setting with no lawn, an organic vegetable garden, Koi pond, chicken coop and recently added greenhouse, creating a unique and tranquil setting to attract bees, birds and butterflies!
A Small Piece of Heaven
Kathy Rutherford – Saugus
Kathy’s garden is her own private sanctuary, a place to unwind from the every day stresses of life. The focal point of the backyard is a free form river rock pool, spa and waterfall amidst a cottage garden, as if you are meandering through the English countryside. The garden features a wisteria-covered pergola, waterfall, various fountains, birdbaths, arbors and statuary, providing a tranquil setting. Spring comes alive with color when wisteria, trumpet, mandrill, clematis, lilies, roses and more bloom.
Creating Glorious Gardens
Jane Gates – Canyon Country
Author of All the Garden’s a Stage: Choosing the Best Performing Plants for a Sustainable Garden and Design a Theme Garden: Turn Your Backyard into a Vacationland, Jane takes pride in providing others with new ideas celebrating Southern California and further helping others create glorious gardens with little or no water., using non living materials, the right plants in the right places, turning thirsty areas into fun, useful spaces and adding creative ideas, art and décor.
Charming with aTouch of Whimsy
Colleen and Clyde Shaffer – Newhall
As a cancer survivor, the garden has always meant an element of hope, especially in the spring. The recent drought has enabled the Shaffers to use Cyndodon hybrida, a lawn replacement, and replacing old roses gave opportunity to improve the soil and redistribute companion perennials. New specimen Redbud resolves the growing shade problems from existing trees, and the addition of Fairy Land in the rear yard adds a touch of whimsical. Small room settings are found throughout the gardens and bulbs are used to blend the seasons.
A Passion for Art and Design
David and Laima Zbojniewicz – Valencia
The Zbonjniewicz’ garden design and style begins with an appreciation for a natural, free-flowing carefree look. The landscape features roses, lilacs, abutilons, hydrangeas, heliotrope, grasses, and citrus trees. Swan Hill olive trees and Deodar Pine Trees in the front create an intimate and private surrounding. Laima’s love for garden stems from her passion for art and design.
Enjoying the Fruits of Their Labor
Tony and Monica Stewart – Valencia
With over 60 different variety of fruit trees, guests are pleasantly surprised to see such a beautiful and lush garden and backyard orchard in the home of the Stewarts. Having started with a modest size yard and steep hillside, the garden began with a few tomato plants and miscellaneous vegetables. With great success, the Stewarts terraced their hillside and now have varieties of Guavas from Hawaii, Mexico and Malaysia, pulots, apricots, plums, peach trees, to name a few.
True Beauty in Design
Gary and Susie Bohamed – Valencia
The Bohamed garden is expertly crafted to not only look great but meet the needs of an active family. The outdoor living space was designed to work equally well for entertaining, both day and night. With the help of Jeff Brown at NV Landscaping, you can enjoy the sounds of falling water and soft glow of fire that leads you away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. The fragrant garden also offers edible selections, fresh cuttings for bouquets in the home as well as a habitat for hummingbirds and butterflies