Tuesday, December 20, 2011

For we are most artistically caged

California is a lovely cage indeed! The view from Kristen McNany's lovely home in Palos Verdes where my girlfriend Jan is staying right now. Jan has never not spent Xmas in California, and this year is no exception. She called tonight to say there was another fabulous sunset (I took this one two weeks ago already). Los Angeles has more than its share of glorious sunsets this time of year.

Our view from Debra Lee Baldwin's wonderful guest quarters in Escondido. The Baldwin's made Jan and me feel utterly at home and Debra more than dazzled us with her garden, the gardens of two of the leading designers of San Diego and a sampling of nurseries a stone's throw from her house including the one below. The Escondido to Vista area has to be the succulent equivalent of Heaven: I can't imagine another place on earth with so many extensive and fabulous nurseries of all sorts, but especially for succulents.

Another of our wonderful California hostesses was Robin Parer, the undisputed royalty of Geraniaceae in North America (at the very least)...This is the second year that Jan and I have visited Robin and her husband Bill (who had only just arrived from a trip to visit crows in Hawaii--I kid you not). I could easily spend a lifetime at the Parer's and I doubt that I could exhaust their phenomenal library, not to mention Robin's gourmet repasts! We visited her nursery in Richmond yet again, taking away some treasures. Robin drove Jan and me out to Tamales bay for a wonderful oyster lunch and a hike out on to this point, another vista peering out to the Pacific.

Finally a glimpse of San Francisco from Kristen's wonderful home in Sausalito where we dropped in for an open house the Sunday after her daughter Britt was married. If, as Nabokov suggests, we are indeed caged artistically, what a commodious and lovely cage California comprises in December. I came back to a sere, windy, cold Colorado. Enough said...These still warm memories linger nonetheless.

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