Garden thoughts: New design for the large border

As I wrote back in August, my ideas about gardening and garden design have changed quite a lot over the last few years. When I first moved to this climate, I wanted to grow all the things I wasn't able to grow back in Europe. I loved all flowers all the time. The bigger, the better! No grasses or succulents for me. I thought they were boring.

But I've come to realize that a grass or succulent that is happy, is much prettier than a half-dead flowering plant. My taste has also developed over the years. And of course being ill, means I'm not able to spend as much time and physical effort on gardening as I used to.

While I've been ill, I've been watching British gardening programs. It started with The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge. It's about six garden designers who compete about getting to design a garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The show was great! Very inspiring. As a result I've been rethinking my design choices for my own garden, specifically for the large border.

Here's an overview. There are three arches. The first one contains Rosa 'Pink Perfume', the other two hold Salvia canariensis. It looks pretty messy in the photo and also in person. I'd like something a lot more designed.
Overview of the large border from the south

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Carlsbad photos

Carlsbad is on the coast between Los Angeles and San Diego in southern California. Of course I went to the beach. It was perfect t-shirt weather, even for this always-freezing Swede.

Passion flower, Passiflora coccinea, just casually growing in a garden.
Passion flower.

I saw these bananas in the San Diego Botanic Garden. What was even cooler was that a member of staff invited us to try some ripe ones from another plant. I've never had a banana straight off the plant before.

This area is close to Mexico, so there's a strong Mexican influence. Like in this tiled fountain in the botanic garden.
Fountain in the Mexican Garden.

New Years Eve at Pinnacles

On New Years Eve I ended up at Pinnacles National Park. This time I went to the western entrance near Soledad. The drive was beautiful and it seemed less crowded than the eastern entrance. I'll be sure to come back.

My hike went up the Juniper Canyon Trail. I continued just a little bit past the junction with Tunnel Trail. It's a steep trail with plenty of switchbacks.
Switchback views

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Carmel Valley Road Panorama 1

On New Years Eve I drove from my hotel in Carmel Valley to Pinnacles National Park. I took the long way, along Carmel Valley Road and Arroyo Seco to Soledad. The route was beautiful in a way that's hard to convey in photos. But I took a couple of panoramas that hint at the charmingly rural experience.

Here's the first one. If you recognize the scene, it's because I took a similar panorama of it last time I was there.
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