THE GROWING ZONE IS PERFECT
The area of Agoura/Oak Park is ideal for growing plants and flowers as the conditions are perfect, not too cold and not too hot. Kind of like the way "Goldilocks" liked her porridge. The Travelogue of "Our Secret Garden" shows the results. Maybe the garden won't be so secret now that VTers know about it. lol
"Which is it?"
Agoura was unincorporated, a city in the making but still out in the country, located within Los Angeles County to the west, but also in Ventura County. Neighborhoods were divided by the housing developments names with no clear central direction. So, the west central area of Agoura, the main part that sits in Los Angeles County, became a city and called itself, Agoura Hills. The south and east portion of Agoura, the remaining part in Los Angeles County stayed Agoura while the Ventura County portion was left with a big question mark. You could be Agoura or Oak Park. What the ....?
Still with me? Okay. So what's the fuss. Well, the section of Agoura north is known as Oak Park. But, being in Ventura County with a Los Angeles County zip code ( a form of ID ) and the name of Agoura, many benefits and savings were lost to residents of Oak Park. After years of debate, a growing population, a school district and a local advisory board to the City of Thousand Oaks in Ventura County, the US Post Office finally agreed to give Oak Park its own zip code. Remember the form of ID? Well, happy days are here again, and now it is officially Oak Park. Still not a city but now recognized as it's own area. Oh, for anyone interested, the zip code went from Agoura, 91301 to Oak Park, 91377. A few years have passed and Oak Park now has one of the most desirous addresses in the area with one of the best school systems in the nation.
Who cares? Those who live in this little oasis of quiet beauty, that's who. There is the huge San Fernando Valley to the east, only 20 minutes away by miles and downtown Los Angeles some 35 miles away, separated by hills and many oak trees and still considered by some as out in the country , the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, in Malibu, only 15 minutes away, and Santa Barbara to the northwest only 45 minutes away.
Well, if you are still reading about this history lesson on the naming of communities, you were very patient. Thanks for sticking with the story line on Agoura/Oak Park. I called it my home for 28 years. Love a garden story? You might want to see the travelogue on my passionate desire to build a garden for my wife, at our home in Oak Park. Enjoy the photos of our "Secret Garden".
OUR SECRET GARDEN
"STORY OF THE GOPHER/GARDEN"
Our garden was created for two reasons, my wife wanted one and we wanted to stop the common gopher ruining everything we planted. We lived in the country, with a creek running behind and around our property, so gophers were everywhere.
My two sons and I did all the planning and work , save planting, a big enough project in itself, in which my wife joined in. It took all of us about 8 weeks to complete the entire garden. A side yard was torn up with 8 tons of dirt removed and replaced with rabbit hutch wire in a 40' x 50' area to keep the little critters out, then filled with 9 tons of sand and crushed granite.
Water resistant painted wooden boxes 24'' deep, half below the granite paths, filled with top-soil, completed the basics. Adding the well thought out design of plants, flowers, bushes and citrus trees made for a lovely English/Italian garden. Many of the flora were planted as reminders of holidays we had taken.
The memory of our secret garden still brings tears to my eyes, as five years ago we moved from our little piece of heaven. All good things must come to and end, but the memory of them leaves a smile on my face, but a little tear sometimes lets me down. I share some of the results of my wife's dream, now our memory, with you.
"TIP TOE THROUGH THE TULIPS"
Warm Southern California weather made for a tough growth for the tulip bulbs, but we succeeded. Nothing like the tulips in Amsterdam or even Vancouver but the memory of those beautiful tulips lingered on in our secret garden.
"ROSES ARE RED, MY LOVE. ORANGE TOO"
Ah yes, what is a garden without roses. We planted 12 rose bushes having colors of deep red to light lime, with the Paris de Yves St. Laurent orange rose having the more lushness of scent. It also had the most beautiful bud and that opened to a large beauty.
The Barbra Streisand purple rose also had a beautiful deep strong scent. My wife knew the creator of the Barbra Streisand rose and he presented us with the bush as a gift, long before it was available in nurseries. When in full bloom they caressed the garden with their perfume. Why, you could almost hear Barbra sing "Evergreen".
"SMALL IS ALSO BEAUTIFUL"
In the garden, both large and small make up the beauty to behold. Ground covers are a nice fill in but you can also have dainty but quite lovely lavender African daisies growing wild around the larger flowers.
"LOVELY LAVENDER WITH THE LIME"
Mexican Lavender has a milder scent than the Provence Lavender, but is very hardy and sits within the dwarf Key Lime tree's shadow. The two compliment each other with their well blended colors.
Key Lime pie is my favorite dessert, so the tree was an important part of the garden and did it ever produce quantities of fruit. The bench behind was a nice area to sit and enjoy that part of the garden. I miss it so.
"PRETTY AS PINK"
What makes some paintings pop out? Bright color works for me. Sometimes a shocking pink flower within a bed of green foliage, makes quite a loud statement of color. In our secret garden, you could spot the ranunculas from 40 feet away.
Not an easy task, but worth the effort is the growing of orchids. The results are magnificent blooms that capture your heart while in the garden. When it was time to say goodbye to our secret garden, I was able to pot the orchid plants and take them with us, so they could continue giving us their fragile beauty to behold.
"REWARDS IN THE GARDEN"
While browsing a nursery in San Luis Obispo, Califiornia, my wife and I spotted an outdoor table and benches that reminded us of our visit to Tuscany. Though over 160 miles away from home, we purchased the Italian made marble tiled table and benches. Heavy isn't even the word used to transport it to our secret garden. It took four people to lift the table into the SUV, luckily with a flat bed to hold all the parts.
Sitting at the Italian marble table, with grape vines behind and a fruit filled lemon tree for shade, looking out over the garden while enjoying the morning sun with a little something thrown together for breakfast had an enchanted feeling. My wife wanted it, I finally gave it to her. Our "Secret Garden". It seems as though the saying is true, "All good things must come to an end." We were moving after 28 years in our home. We did take the table and benches with us when we moved. Still heavy to move, but efforts rewarded. We have it sitting at my wife's mother's home. We go there to visit both "Mom" and our table, thankful for having great memories of our "Secret Garden".