Five private gardens in Hancock Park and Windsor Square will be open on Sunday as part of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program. This year The Los Angeles Open Day features an old favorite in Windsor Square that has frequently appeared in design and architecture magazines over the years. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see how this impeccably designed and maintained garden has grown over the years.
“This year, we will also see some new gardens, including a showstopper designed for outdoor entertaining, complete with an incredible outdoor kitchen and bar, comfy sofas and outdoor televisions!” said Joseph Marek, landscape architect and local organizer for Open Days. “We have some new gardens filled with native plants and other water-wise Mediterranean climate plantings. As always, there’s much to be seen and to be learned in the gardens. We invite all garden lovers to join us as we open this wonderful private garden for a day.”
Marlborough School serves as the lead garden for Open Days, where visitors can purchase discounted day pass tickets and get maps with the addresses of the remaining gardens. Marlborough will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for ticket sales. The private gardens will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Day pass pricing: $25 for Garden Conservancy members; $40 for nonmembers. Otherwise, admission to each private garden is $10 per person for members and nonmembers without tickets purchased in advance. Children 12 and under are free.
Below are photos and descriptions written by the hosts of the gardens that will be open on Sunday. More information can be found online at the Garden Conservancy.
The Brilliant Garden, located on busy Highland Avenue, was created to provide an escape from the fast pace of the city. From the moment you pass the gates of the front courtyard, you are greeted by the Mediterranean-style fountain, cobblestone walk, and the fuchsia Bougainvillea that drapes the front door. The most enchanting experience of this garden awaits you through a gateway leading the visitor to a place that helps one forget the stress of a busy day. This home garden offers a tree-draped sitting area and a pool with a stacked stone fountain, all set in a Melaleuca treelined garden setting.
A lawn and overgrown hedges are replaced by vibrant, low water gardens featuring wildlife-friendly California natives and Mediterranean plants, chosen for foliage color and texture as much as flower. By terracing the slope and adding stairs and a cobblestone courtyard, visitors are guided gracefully to the front door, while in the opposite direction, a whimsical bridge takes you over the snaking trunk of a 90-year-old tea tree, into a fountain garden with private seating. Decomposed granite paths draw you through iron gates, newly inserted into what was a solid wall, now connecting front garden to back, where succulent fountains mark the beginning of secret paths that lead you to discover entertaining terraces, a camellia-veiled firepit circle, and a hidden shady hammock.
The Davis family bought this 1918 Italian Renaissance home in 2005. “In 2017, wey began an extensive renovation of the back yard to better fit our grown-up family! With the help of architect J. Thomas Kaiser, designer Donna Berg, and landscaper Isidore Orozco, we came up with an innovative plan. The original garage was removed and replaced. A trellis was built alongside both entrances to this room and ‘Eden’ climbing roses are making their way up and over. A dramatic pergola was built with an outdoor kitchen, table for twelve, living room, fireplace, and outdoor entertainment system. In the garden you will find citrus trees, azaleas, white star jasmine, Schefflera arboricola, Chinese elm, dwarf mondo grass, boxwoods, hydrangeas, Hawaiian ginger, camellias, and Pittosporum mock orange.”
Come and explore the terraced landscape leading to the charming “Meadow Lane Garden.” Upon entering the motor court, catch a glimpse of the old-fashioned wooden playhouse. Then cross a brick patio flanked by majestic Australian willow trees and a lush strawberry tree in a woodsy setting. Continue your journey down the brick stairs and view the Parisian Patio, with an inviting garden table and chairs and a fountain softened by Boston ivy. Stroll further down the stairs to enter “Meadow Lane.” Take a peek in the quaint cottage, visit the petite vegetable garden, and pause to gaze at a blooming rose or a passing butterfly. Don’t forget to take a peek at the Secret Zen Garden on your way out!
“Our back garden was designed by Judy Horton to include several distinct areas. From our old-fashioned porch, the view is serene and architectural with clipped spheres and a quiet pool bringing a sense of order. A “tree room” with gravel floor and green hedge walls is another serene space. In contrast, the pool garden is “hot”—succulents, cannas, bananas, loquats, kumquats, etc. Behind a gravel garden is the hidden place to grow things willy-nilly. There are black hollyhocks and an old iron Turkish tent covered in annual vines. Our garden is organic and filled with butterflies and little birds.”
Proceeds from the tour support the work of the Garden Conservancy, saving and preserving outstanding American gardens. Open Days is a nationwide community of gardeners and garden enthusiasts teaching and inspiring each other. Since 1995, Open Days has welcomed more than one million visitors into thousands of inspired private landscapes—from urban rooftops to organic farms, historic estates to innovative suburban lots—in 41 states.