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Islamic Gardens

Gift of Persia: Moorish to Mughal to Mediterranean Influence on California Gardens

Anticipating with great enthusiasm the latest offering in the 2011 Ruth Bancroft Horticultural Series. The seminar, presented by the Ruth Bancroft Garden and The Garden Conservancy is enticingly titled:

Gift of Persia: Exotic Gardens  for California

…to take place on Friday July 15th at The Gardens at Heather Farm.

Fountains Nishat Bagh Mughal Gardens: Wikipedia by Mckay Savage

The day-long event boasts an impressive roster of speakers, with an agenda encompassing horticulture and garden design history. Promising to be thought-provoking, challenging and inspirational, talks include a presentation by Patrick N. Hunt, PhD, archeologist/art historian from Stanford. Hunt will be discussing how elements of the Persian garden moved to other cultures.

Courtyard Garden in Rajasthan India (photo: Garden Conservancy)

Seminar participants can look forward to a lively recounting of recent trends in a presentation by Zahid Sardar, author of New Garden Design: Photography by Marion Brenner.  Sardar’s tantalizing topic: Inspiration for Private Paradises.

Granada –  Torre de las Damas Photo © Alice Joyce

Uber-designer Davis Dalbok of San Francisco’s Living Green will speak on ‘Romance Plants for Northern California.’ Since moving to the Bay Area, I’ve had instances of rapture when encountering Dalbok’s work in outdoor settings exhibiting high drama and unmistakable panache. I hope to gather fresh ideas when listening to Dalbok muse on “plants and design borrowed from East and West of the Mediterranean.”

Horticulturist Michael DeHart is at the helm of the gardens at the Getty Museum in Brentwood, and the Getty Villa in Malibu. DeHart’s expertise extends to native flora of ancient sites in Italy and France, which should pique the interest of California gardeners who look to the Mediterranean for drought-tolerant species. DeHart’s  presentation:  ‘California’s Getty Villa – Roman Architecture with an Italian Sensitivity of Planting.’

Gety Villa East Garden Mosaic Fountain detail Photo © Alice Joyce

Landscape architect Todd R. Cole will shares his thoughts on how a classical garden style translates in a cool,contemporary garden design.

Below: A secret garden in Granada … with a design that reflects Moorish influence.

Granada Carmen de lost Martires Pool Photo © Alice Joyce

Christy Edstrom O’Hara, a landscape architect on the faculty of California Polytechnic State University, has gained renown for her research on historic landscape preservation and restoration. Prof. O’Hara presents: The Rain in Spain: Moorish Lessons in Planting Design and Water Use; combining a practical emphasis on sustainable and green solutions along with a keen understanding of garden architecture and history.

Bancroft Garden (Photo: Brian Kemble)

To top off the day at the close of the seminar, participants will leave The Gardens at Heather Farm for a reception with wine and plants at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. The reception provides a not-to-be-missed opportunity to hear the Bancroft Garden’s curator and resident aloe hybridizer, Brian Kemble “talk plants.” I always find it engaging to bask in Brian’s expertise!

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