The Jungalow is my colleague Brent’s bungalow home, surrounded by a jungle of a landscape, just about a block off of the Santa Monica Freeway in Mid City Los Angles.
This picture very effectively illustrates that Brent has no business taking pictures . . . and that he should have had a V-8.
The landscape really is spectacular though. You might have seen bits and pieces of it in Sunset Magazine or other horticultural magazines. Pictures of specific flowers and plants were used to illustrate the Sunset – Western Garden Book.
Brent likes his garden to be spectacular. He uses it to trial a few plants before using them at the homes of clients, and to demonstrate how effectively his home garden functions as a lush jungle oasis in the middle of the city. The dense hedging obscures views of neighboring homes, and muffles the sound of the Santa Monica Freeway and La Brea Avenue. Fountains obscure more of whatever outside noise that happens to get through. Although the situation is completely synthetic, and includes species that were imported from all over the World, to be pruned, groomed and trained to do unnatural things, Brent likes to think that it mimics nature. The straight lines, square corners and flat surface of the compact urban lot are invisible behind curvacious borders, terraces, lush foliage and sculptural trees. There is way too much material for such a compact space. It is all so completely contrary to the big city that surrounds it.
Three hundred and fifty miles to the northwest, on acreage in the forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains above Los Gatos, my garden could not have been more opposite. Despite the abundance of more space than I could possibly use, the area used for gardening was quite confined to less than an eighth of an acre. The hilly terrain was flattened as much as possible, and surrounded with straight retaining walls and walkways. Native vegetation was removed to allow more sunlight through. There was no need for hedging because there was nothing beyond the garden to obscure the view of. There was no need for fountains to obscure outside noise because the only outside noise was that of Zayante Creek at the bottom of the garden. For efficiency, plants were installed in rows and grids, and very evenly spaced. It was completely contrary to the surrounding forest.
That is why Brent is a landscape designer and I am just a horticulturist and nurseryman. Who is right? I am.