The Dry Garden: Fremont’s flower

Posted on | February 25, 2011 | 1 Comment

Some years ago, the website of Native Sons Nursery had a photograph of a California flannel bush that had been trained to grow along a garden wall. Each bloom in a spangle of flowers was the size of a tea cup. Their yellow could outshine a daffodil, or sunflower. This wasn’t a garden, it was a garden that Matisse dreamed. On seeing that photo, so began years of looking in Los Angeles area gardens for espaliered examples of the glorious genus of natives whose botanical name is Fremontodendron.

And never finding one.

It turns out that the photograph was taken in Guernsey by Native Sons co-founder David Fross, who had just left a place that serves alcohol when he saw the glorious display by one of the signature plants of California chaparral growing in one of the Channel Islands between Britain and France. “I’d had two martinis and half a bottle of wine, came around the corner and late evening light was crashing into this yellow door. At first I was staring at the door. Then I focused and said, that’s Fremontodendron.” It ran almost 50 feet along a wall.

Click here to keep reading this week’s ‘The Dry Garden’ in the Los Angeles Times.



One Response to “The Dry Garden: Fremont’s flower”

  1. coconino
    March 3rd, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

    I found one (when I lived in SoCal) at Theodore Payne Nursery. It was the island version, and it grew quite well in my little native west LA yard. If you haven’t visited Theodore Payne, it’s well worth a look. Just thinking about wandering through their plant yard brings a big smile.

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