Dennis and Terry Carver enjoyed their former Los Osos home, but yearned for more gardening space. So in 1994 they bought a lot two sandy acres, vacant, except for an illegally sited mobile home that required disposal.
They remained in their former home nearby while Dennis built a workshop and new house, which they moved into in December 1996. Meanwhile, they cleared the lot they described as a weed patch and mulched it deeply with wood chips obtained from municipal tree-removal projects.
They were amazed to discover seedling trees emerging from the mulch. They removed all except a few well-spaced seedlings, judging by their expected mature size. Many have thrived beyond their expectations. Even so, Terry couldnt resist adding some sequoia and redwood trees reminiscent of Humboldt County, where she attended college.
Now, much of the garden resembles a forested park. In the Redwood Garden, a blue picnic table sits among ferns and sorrel, leaves mulch the ground, and fallen branches define the pathways. Fruit trees abound in the gardens sunny areas, and flowers mingle with vegetables in numerous raised beds and containers.
The color blue unifies the varied garden areas, and recycle could be its motto. A charming hexagonal gazebo-studio exists simply because Dennis was offered some leftover windowed sliding doors if he could make use of them. Many large blue plastic planters originated as containers for a livestock feed supplement. Broken concrete, boards and stone keep paths mud-free no product is too humble if it does the job.
Dennis originally built some of the garden features as play equipment for their now-adult son. The centerpiece of the Asian garden, a rustic tea house, had been his camping-out shed.
Another structure is the remains of wooden playground equipment. Now, as the overlook platform, it rewards those who climb its steps with an overview of the rose garden. The Carvers artistic and/or playful vignettes delight visitors.
Near the street-side entrance, two canine sculptures match the real dogs in the pen, surrounded by rosemary and osteospermum. Nearby, flowers fill an old wooden boat, and stacked sandstone slabs form the sculptural centerpiece of an island planter.
Bamboo and statuary abound in the Asian garden, where one border is defined by a Japanese gate. In the Redwood Visitor Center flowers sprout from a rotting railroad tie, and a stone bear appears to covet a honey pot. Most garden accents had been discards, or were thrift shop and yard sale discoveries.
Dennis built a dovecote on the former mobile home site near the street. The mobile homes concrete footings have mellowed with age and algae, and now, surrounded by wildflowers, they resemble natural rock. Dennis periodically allows the beautiful white birds to fly freely, for the enjoyment of both birds and visitors.
Participants on the American Association of University Womens annual garden tour this year may enjoy free refreshments provided by AAUW members on the patio. For their company, the Carvers will have arranged life-size Alice in Wonderland characters in the rose and checkerboard gardens.
(Refreshments will not be served at the Morro Bay Community Garden, as was erroneously stated in the article published on March 21.)
Sharon Crawford is a freelance writer who lives in Los Osos.