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The Colors of Sherman Gardens


Over the years, we travelers find ourselves following in footsteps of friends who have found places worth going and things worth doing—and then when it comes time to share the trip, the story is different in different eyes.


It's easy to see how that happens when you're visiting and writing about big things and places—no two travelers experience of Paris is the same, and each traveler's life itinerary produces a different viewpoint.


But Sherman Gardens in Newport Beach, California isn't such a big place. In fact, it's nearly a pocket-handkerchief size when you think of other botanical gardens. It's a mere 2.2 acres, and that includes land set aside for its research library and maintenance.


And yet, a few years ago, when DrFumblefinger visited, he found enough to report twice, once focusing on the gardens, and then on the library. Those articles are what drew me there while on a California road trip this spring.


Afterwards, looking at my (as usual, too many) photos, I realized that I had, indeed, seen both the overall aspects of the garden, but with a different emphasis. In part because it is so small, and no doubt because of collector choice, it is perhaps the densest collection of super-vivid and contrasting colors I can recall in one garden.


Not, of course, that 'vivid' is limited to the outrageously strong colors, or to the reds and oranges; subtle has a place there, too.


The garden is named for Moses H. Sherman, a big-time railroad and real estate promoter who made his first fortune in Arizona and then moved to Los Angeles to make another. It's not clear if he had an abiding interest in flora, but his assistant and business successor Arnold Haskell certainly did.


Starting in 1955, twenty-some years after Sherman's death, he started putting together the complex that became Sherman Gardens, starting with buying a commercial plant nursery that occupied part of the space and slowly expanding as land came on the market.


These spectacular two-color puffs were among my favorites


Some flowers are so vivid it almost hurts to look at their pictures!


The grounds are nicely arranged so you never feel you're in a small space, and there are a number of nice open spaces as well, including this pool and a garden cafe with colorful flower-like parasols.


Congratulations to George G, who recognized a part of the image above and came up with the solution to this week's One-Clue Mystery!

Below, even more colors...


And even a spectacular selection of muted but interesting colors in the succulent collection, what I like to call a 'spine garden.'


And room for one last beauty...



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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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