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Virtual tour: the Garden Conservancy's Open Days tour in Pasadena

April 22, 2010 |  4:07 pm

Alstromeria

The two very different gardens — one lush and colorful and the other coolly elegant and restrained — are among the six featured on the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour in Pasadena on Sunday.

Deflt The gardens in one 1922 Spanish Revival house were redesigned in the early 1990s by landscape architects Owen Peterson and Bob Erickson to reflect the owners’ love of roses, cacti and tropical plants.

Since purchasing the property 10 years ago with his wife, Sally, Dr. Harlan Bixby has been the garden’s champion, carefully tending the unusual cacti, agaves, yucca and euphorbia that share the 1-acre space with roses, bromeliads, ferns and decorative grasses.

Not far away, Rios Clementi Hale Studios designed an elegant, contemporary garden well-suited to Ann and Peter Murphy’s beautifully restored 1906 Chinese fringe trees Mission-style home. Work began in 1996, when the backyard was stripped to its perimeter and the garage and driveway were demolished to make way for the swimming pool and lawn. The garden was expanded in 2002 when a neighboring property became available. Large, mature sycamore, crape myrtles, Chinese fringe trees and London plane trees give the 1 1/2-acre space an expansive, park-like look. The grounds also include rose gardens, a raised vegetable garden with fruit trees, an outdoor kitchen, several patio and dining areas, and a basketball court for the owners’ two sons.

Take a virtual tour of these two gardens in our online photo gallery, or go and see the real thing this weekend.

Tickets for the tour are $5 per garden or $25 for six. Go to www.opendaysprogram.org or call (888) 842-2442. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the tour at the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals building, 125 S. Grand Ave., Pasadena.

-- Anne Harnagel

Top photo: Alstromeria and roses in Dr. Harlan Bixby's 1922 Spanish Revival home. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Chinese fringe trees in Ann and Peter Murphy's garden. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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