Just 15 miles east of the chaotic streets of San Francsico, perched atop a warm southern facing ridgeline, above the quaint village of Lafayette, is a most remarkable garden. It is Gary Gragg's personal subtropical paradise, a result of 20 years of vision, hard work, and persistence.
The nearly 9 acre property features a native Californian section, a gorgeous cacti and succulent desert biome, a tropical rainforest ravine, citrus grove with over 36 varieties, avocado grove with over 25 varieties, waterfalls, swimming pool, putting green and even its own nursery area with greenhouse.
And of course there are palms, lots of palms of all shapes, sizes, forms and colors. Besides the palms reside here countless botanical treasures collected from throughout the world. This is the Noah's Ark of plants, a vital germplasm repository that form the experimental and mother stock for the nursery. If they prove themselves here, then they will likely end up for sale someday at the nursery.
The backdrop to the garden is an undeveloped and protected 100 acre lost world canyon below feauring a continuous evergreen canopy of Oak, Bay, Madrone,
and Big Leaf Maple. The largest Madrone in all of Contra Costa County is hidden away deep within this canyon and can be visited by the adventurous.
The garden is a model for water conservative landscape practices utilizing the principles of strict hydrozoning, drought tolerant plant selection, completely dry plantings, rain water and grey water harvest, storage, and reuse. Who ever knew you could have such a gorgeous garden on such little water?
Tours of this garden led by Gary can be arranged for those seeking ideas and inspiration for their own garden designs as well as garden groups of up to 50 people and no more than 20 vehicles. The cost to tour this garden is based upon Gary's normal billable consultation rate of $150 per hour. However, something to keep note of is, the cost to tour the garden is always much less than the cost to prepare the garden for a tour.
But Beware! You may leave with unwanted smile wrinkles from laughing so hard as former HGTV garden show host Gary can't help but to be a goof off comedian the whole time. He seems to get as many compliments for the comedy hour as for the garden.
This one post tour testimonial pretty much sums it up:
Being at your place yesterday high atop Lafayette with views beyond compare was extraordinary. You lived up to your reputation as one with a great sense of humor. You had everyone in a jovial mood. It was especially wonderful walking your gardens with you learning about so many plants unbeknownst to us. What a fascinating array of plants from all over the world!
I’ve already received an e-mail exclaiming our day yesterday as “one of the most fun and interesting ever." I agree.
Thank you for letting us experience your passion.
Carly Wood, President, Happy Valley Garden Club
Hire Gary to give an informative and hugely entertaining botanical presentation to your garden group.
You'll never see another presentation like this. Nobody snoozes off during Gary's talks but they may get a serious case of the giggles. And make sure to wear your best hat that day. Gary loves ladies in garden hats!
Current Power Point Presentation Topics:
Subtropical Gardening for Northern California
Growing Subtropical Fruit in Northern California
Growing Palms in Northern California
Dry Paradise; Creating Beautiful Gardens in a Water Scarce World