Modjeska Canyon garden coverage in LA Times

The article is here.

There are 18 nice photos that go with the article.

The profiled homeowner has a list of three favorite gardening books which include "Designing With Plants," by Piet Oudolf with Noël Kingsberg. Another favorite, "California's Wild Gardens: A Guide to Favorite Botanical Sites," edited by Phyllis M. Faber, is one I'm not familiar with, but sounds interesting.

I've read before about Modjeska Canyon. Theodore Payne was an early Modjeska Canyon inhabitant and it's still a rural enclave in the midst of dense Orange County. I ought to visit - it seems like an idyllic place to live.

Here's some text to provide a flavor of the article

...Sarkissian is auteur and fierce editor of an elegant garden that echoes this canyon habitat. "The whole canyon is my garden," Sarkissian says. "To me it's the most amazing place in Orange County."

This slender woman has engaged this land and environment with intimacy, passion -- and patience. The couple have lived in the modest house they built since 1989 but did not begin to garden until seven years later. Sarkissian walked the land, watched the light, observed wildlife, learned about native plants and water harvesting, revived their clay fill soil ("the worst," she says), and took in what it means to live with threats of fire and flood.

In 1993, the Sarkissians commissioned landscape architect Lisa Iwata of Land Interactive to plan the front garden. They had a wish-list of 80 California chaparral and desert plants; Iwata chose 50; there are now 42.

"We wanted a coherent design," says Sarkissian, "not just a collection of plants."

Among the challenges: a yawning county-built concrete flood-control channel (read: ditch) marching from street to creek. A modified Iwata plan went into the ground in 1995 and constantly evolves, as gardens do.

Water harvesting was key....

I wish they'd provided the list of 80, 50, and 42 plants. There are two photos that have an interesting juxtaposition of roses with cactus.

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