Breakfast at the Gamble

A breakfast picnic this morning at the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden in Palo Alto. First sandwiches, tea, and fresh fruit, then some touring of the garden.

A bench in the herb garden at GG:


On the history of GG, from their website:

In 1901, Edwin Percy Gamble, son of the co-founder of Procter & Gamble Co., visited Palo Alto when his eldest son enrolled at Stanford University. One year later, he moved his family from Kentucky to Palo Alto. The Main House and Carriage House were built in 1902 for the Gamble family by C. A. Bates, a San Jose contractor, for the sum of $6,039. It was the first house constructed south of Embarcadero Road [just barely: it’s on the south side of Embarcdero Road], with the exception of the Seale Ranch. The Gamble family had four children: James, George, Elizabeth Frances, and Launcelot. The sons were graduates of Stanford University. Elizabeth attended Stanford for one year before transferring to and graduating from Wellesley College.

After college, Elizabeth spent the remainder of her life in the Gamble house. Her gardens became known throughout the community and she shared them generously. In 1971 Miss Gamble gave the estate to the City of Palo Alto with the stipulation that she and her brother, George, could live there throughout their lives. George died in 1972 and Elizabeth in 1981 at the age of 92. In 1985 the Palo Alto City Council approved a plan to lease the estate to the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden. The non-profit foundation has restored the formal gardens to the original plans, laid out the demonstration and working gardens, added irrigation, paths, and lighting. Necessary structural repairs have been made to the existing buildings, and the horticulturist’s office, tool house and a gazebo have been added.

The current aims:

The Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden is dedicated to maintaining and enhancing our historic house and garden as an oasis of beauty and tranquility, providing a community resource for horticultural education, inspiration, and enjoyment.

Fairly recent additions are two desert gardens, a timely move in an area undergoing severe drought.

The website has a section featuring photos of plants from the current season, which is still set at “early summer”. That means that there are photos of one of my favorite plants of the region, alstroemeria. Here’s an intense one, Alstroemeria ‘Letitzia’:


(About alstroemerias on this blog, see this posting.)

A fresh discovery this morning, a remarkable (and huge) plant I’d never even heard of before, Elegia capensis, the horsetail restio:


From Wikipedia

Elegia is a genus of grass-like plants in the family Restionaceae described as a genus by Linnaeus in 1771. The entire genus is endemic to Cape Province in South Africa. Some are grown as ornamentals in gardens.

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