Garden reflects favorite travel destinations
Story by Maureen Austin, CHIRP / Photos by Mendi Wyatt, CHIRP
Why not create a backyard garden, inspired by your favorite travel destinations? That’s exactly what Steve and Gayle Bailey did!
Sparked by their love of such places as Mexico, Palm Springs, Laughlin, Tucson and Borrego Springs, the Baileys designed the gardens around their Alpine home with reflections of those landscapes in mind.
Colorful succulents, towering euphorbias, and textured cactus now edge the winding concrete and flagstone paths that flow throughout the backyard. A few patches of artificial turf and an abundance of artistically-arranged rock–at least 10 different sizes and varieties, including boulders, river rock, gravel and pebbles–add dimension and interest.
Gayle recalls how she and Steve began planning their new garden design using spray cans of marking paint, shortly after purchasing their home, 5 years ago.
“The existing garden was beautiful,” she said, “but it wasn’t ‘our kind’ of yard.”
In addition, all the plants and large lawn area on the 1.75-acre lot required substantial water, resulting in water bills of nearly $1,000, she said.
Having installed similar landscapes in their previous 5 homes, the Baileys knew just what they wanted and how to begin!
All lawn areas, roses and perennial flowers were removed to make way for the water-wise succulent and cactus palette. Palms and mature trees remained.
“We did it all by ourselves, until our backs went south!” Steve laughed.
They did it all, that is, except the rock, he said, crediting their gardener, Greg, for his talent of artistic rock placement. Steve said Greg hand-placed all of the stones in the many rock clusters, dry creek beds and on the hillsides of the property.
“He’s like a wizard with rocks!” Gayle agreed.
The Baileys love color in the garden. “The more color, the better!” Steve says. Much of their colorful garden art and accessories were purchased in their travels.
Gayle laughs at how she and her daughter-in-law purchased two large, colorful metal piñatas for $10 each in Cabo without considering how they would transport them home, only to learn the shipping company was going to charge them $300. The determined gals ultimately managed, instead, to carry their piñatas onboard their flight home.
Color is also prominent in the plants in their garden, from the yellow ‘Kiwi’ Aeonium foliage to the bright red ‘Crown of Thorn’ blooms, and a variety of other fleshy-leaved succulents.
Gayle calls herself a “succulent freak.” “I’m into trying to get every variety of succulent I can,” she said. “I want to see how it blooms, how it grows and what it does.”
As she continues her quest of getting to know the succulents, visitors will enjoy getting to meet the Baileys and their garden’s reflection of their travels.
It is Garden #6 on the Tour.
- Five fabulous Alpine gardens are showcased in this year’s tour, plus a place-of-worship garden and raptor rehabilitation facility. Admission to all seven sites is $20.
- Ticket includes a map for the self-guided tour, and is valid all three days of the event. Visitors may stay as long as they desire in each garden.
- Tickets may be purchased in person at Jennifer’s Feed or Alpine Garden & Gifts. Cash or checks only at those locations.
- To purchase online with credit card, please visit www.chirp.org.
- Instructions to purchase by mail may also be found at www.chirp.org, or by phoning 619-445-8352.
- The event is hosted by CHIRP for Garden Wildlife, Inc.