Wind in Their Sale
Buck and Yvonne Hemenway had their yearly sale yesterday morning, Saturday, at their home. It was great as I expected. It was also crazy-windy! I’m talking hang-on-to-your-wig windy … their cashier, although under a canopy, was in danger of flying off with the till at times. But the awesome wind only added to the ambience of the Hemenway’s garden, which can seem like something out of prehistoric times. They live in a neighborhood of big-wheeled trucks, with horse farms nearby, so their house, with its almost-primeval landscape, really stands out. Giant succulents parade boldly across the front yard, in sizes out of a dream. An aloe tree, it’s hugely thick, fleshy arms curving out, drawfs your fearless blogger in the harsh morning sun. But let’s not linger, there’s lots to see …
Enormous succulents, massive cacti, reach-out-and-touch-you textures: they’re all there in a relatively small suburban yard, in a neighborhood you would not expect to find them. I think that’s what’s so delightful about the Hemenway’s home. It’s just so unexpected. Though I’m not sure looking at the picture, above, where you’d expect to see such wonders outside of a botanic garden setting. I feel honored to be in the presence of these natural marvels.
Color also makes a huge statement in the Hemenway garden. Variegation takes on a whole new meaning when, instead of going around the agave consistently, yellow and green seem to have relegated themselves to separate sides (top left photo). Colors snake along in contrasting shades; cool blue has a shady chat with mellow green. Another amazing agave (bottom right) makes multiple statements with it’s almost camo-looking gray/blue coloring offset by frilly ruffled edges.
As mentioned, the Hemenway’s yard is not huge, especially when you consider what it contains. Above, two truly massive examples loom in the back yard. A monstrous agave has been cut back numerous times in order to provide passage, while in the corner, lording over all, is a gorgeous aloe tree with its spectacular flower stalk in triumphant gold.
Not everything was in the ground, though. And, not everything was for sale. Take these fantastic pots filled with equally fantastic cacti. Actually, you can’t take them — they weren’t for sale. Not pot, not plant. Oh, I don’t blame the Hemenway’s. I wouldn’t want to sell such obviously well-loved and presented specimens, either. Still, it was torture not being able to buy them. (Hey, get a load of the specimen at the top left. I forgot to ask before I left what its name was, but let’s call him Hieronymous. After Mr. Bosch. My favorite artist of Heaven and Hell.)
One of my fave sights in the Hemenway garden is this dry river bed area with flash flood warning sign. Love the sign and love the area and really love that jaunty large fish at the top of it. It looks like painted concrete and maybe had a former life outside a Mexican restaurant whose specialty was frutas del mar. Like the pots and their contents it’s not for sale, either. Sigh. But, it was worth braving the winds because I did purchase a few things at the Hemenway’s sale, including some lumpy-beautiful echeverias in purple and dusty green/pink. I didn’t want to go too crazy since the UCR Botanic Garden Spring plant sale is today, Sunday. Heading out there now, will report back. I heard from our neighbor, Bruce, who worked that sale yesterday, that the succulent/cactus area is bigger than ever, so …