360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahden’s Garden

“When the earth wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” Minnie Aumonier

HF Hillside garden 1024x575 360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahdens Garden

Garden Inspiration and the 360 Degrees of Perfection

Once you start gardening, there is no garden as fascinating as your own, no matter how humble. You fuss over the babies and rejoice in the new blooms; move the unhappy plants and gloat shamelessly over the hard-to-grow ones that seem to love your garden. You decide which are weeds and which are welcome volunteers (some of my neighbors think I have lots of weeds in my lawn but I see them as lots of native wildflowers come spring), and you grieve when a favorite plant gets eaten or a lovingly nurtured tree falls over in the wind.

Too often, I get caught up in the minutiae of my garden and miss the big picture. I ignore the gopher holes in the lawn and the very straggly roses growing along the fence line. This morning I was so wrapped up in moving potted plants around that I didn’t notice that someone had driven right across my wet lawn to dump a pile of firewood near the house, gouging out big brown tracts in the green grass!

HFWater lilies 1024x575 360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahdens GardenSo it’s good to visit other gardens now and then, to look at the larger landscape and get some gardening inspiration. If they happen to be ingeniously landscaped gardens, so much the better. Big or small, they can be enchanting.

I discovered one such garden in the Sonoma Insider. “A garden in the style of Monet’s garden,” it said, “on the Petrified Forest Road.” Who could resist the Petrified Forest Road?

HF Cabbage rose 1024x575 360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahdens GardenSo, one cloudy Sunday we headed off to the Hans Fahden Winery to meet up with Antone Fahden who owns the vineyard, along with his brother Lyall. Some thirty-odd years ago they decided to develop the garden where the light was perfect, overlooking Mt St Helena in the distance.

 

 

 

No matter that the garden site was atop a thick layer of volcanic rock! They brought in a friend, Alvin Arndt, who dug out the area, including two ponds, with his magnificent tractors. Then they brought in tons of rich soil for the surrounds.

HF Waterlily pond 1024x575 360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahdens Garden

No matter that the garden site was atop a thick layer of volcanic rock! They brought in a friend, Alvin Arndt, who dug out the area, including two ponds, with his magnificent tractors. Then they brought in tons of rich soil for the surrounds.

HFBoat 1024x575 360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahdens GardenLike Monet’s water garden, this garden makes great use of space. There are two big ponds and lots of walking to be done and plants to be discovered in less than two acres.

I asked Antone if he’d been to Giverny to see Monet’s water garden and he said he had not. But when he was about 80 percent done with his design, and was fretting over how to connect the different parts of the garden, he chanced upon a book by Elizabeth Murry about the year she spent working in Giverny (Monet’s Passion) and that provided the inspiration he needed.

HF Bridge 1024x575 360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahdens GardenGoing to Giverny is on my bucket list and I have read several picture-filled books on Monet’s gardens but I doubt I could have ever made such a garden as this Sonoma gem. It’s utterly captivating, complete with a wooden boat, a salvaged wooden bridge draped in wisteria vines, lusciously planted winding garden paths and a huge pond full of water lilies.

The borders surrounding the ponds and climbing the hill are voluptuous. There are mass plantings of grasses and reeds, perennials and shrubs, including dozens of roses, plenty of native plants and annuals, and well-placed trees providing a pleasing framework. Shade loving plants mingle under the trees and sun loving perennials, like the Echium in full bloom, drape themselves over the walled beds.

HF Perennial border 1024x575 360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahdens Garden

HF Dwarf Alberta Cypress 1024x575 360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahdens GardenI asked Antone how he chooses which plants to go where. He told me that it took eighteen months for him to decide on the dwarf Alberta Spruce, planted at the bend in a path, so patience is a must!

Then he gave me a wonderful piece of garden design advice. He works on ten square feet at a time, making sure that everything within that space is perfect before he moves on. He calls it 360 degrees of perfection. It’s not easy advice for an impatient gardener like me, but it’s probably the way to get the best views out of any garden.

HF Wedding arch 1024x575 360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahdens Garden

His views are so lovely that it’s no surprise that 2000 couples have married in this garden since 1997, and Antone takes great pleasure in that and in the subsequent visits the new families make to plant sunflowers with their little ones. Luckily for us, we were alone that day and he left us to our picnic at the high edge of the garden, complete with a bottle of Cabernet and 360 degrees of perfection below.

P1020876 1024x575 360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahdens Garden

Go visit a garden near you this weekend. If it’s raining, take a look at Landscape Secrets Revealed for plenty of landscaping inspiration. Until next time, happy gardening and don’t forget to strive for 360 degrees of perfection in your piece of paradise!

By the way, here is a link to a list of gopher resistant plants: http://www.groundcoversandgardening.com/gopher resistant plants.

If you want to buy plants that deer probably won’t eat, look here.

Please share if you liked this article and happy gardening.

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Kathy

An avid gardener with an optimistic attitude about growing plants, I'm also a travel blogger and, by day, a video editor.

8 thoughts on “360 Degrees Of Perfection in Hans Fahden’s Garden

  • December 11, 2016 at 8:25 am
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    Great article. Beautifully written, wonderful photos.

    Reply
    • December 12, 2016 at 10:46 am
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      Thanks Joe. It’s a wonderful garden.

      Reply
  • December 13, 2016 at 11:36 pm
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    Wonderful, Kathy – beautifully written. You had me there with you!
    Miss you and your garden in Harare! xx

    Reply
    • December 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm
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      Thanks Laura,
      I miss my garden too.

      Reply
  • December 15, 2016 at 6:19 pm
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    Kathy you are a magician! I dream of a garden like this … i visited Giverny many years ago … and now further inspiration. THANK YOU … what a gentle way to start the week-end …

    Reply
  • December 30, 2016 at 2:57 pm
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    This is a beautifully written description of a garden that only someone who has grown flowers and loves gardens can share in that passion and delight, thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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