Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bloom's Bodacious Borders at Kendall-Jackson Winery

A few years ago, one of my San Francisco Chronicle 'Garden Walks' columns celebrated the opening of new perennial borders in Wine Country designed by British horticulturist Adrian Bloom.

(Above: Chronicle photo - All other photos: copyright Alice Joyce)
Son of famed plantsman, Alan Bloom,and author of numerous gardening books featuring Foggy Bottom, Adrian Bloom's personal 6-acre garden in Norfolk, Bloom shared his thoughts on the Blooms of Bressingham borders at Kendall-Jackson Winery. Here: a long view of the garden on a recent summer's day, with bees abuzz, flitting among the bountiful blooms.

I'll be returning to the winery's varied landscape in future posts, to visit K-J's vineyard demonstration & culinary gardens, where visitors can relax and enjoy a picnic.
To find the borders, amble from the formal parterre garden fronting the main chateau, and continue around the side of the building. A signpost heralds the Blooms of Bressingham garden, where drifts of plants meld together in what Bloom calls "macro and micro views."
Reflecting Bloom's refined gardening style, the garden plan revolves upon artful combinations of conifers, flowering perennials, ornamental grasses and shrubs. The tall, vertical shapes of evergreen Italian cypresses draw the eye, and as Bloom shared, "give you a bit of structure... whichever way you're looking.. on either side of the pathway to take the eye through," calling attention to the surrounding plant combinations.

One of the lessons I took home: "Even small gardens must have a vista."

The Kendall-Jackson Winery chateau and formal gardens
appear upon exiting the parking area.

Back to the Bloom Borders! Plant tableaux come into focus as you walk along the curving central pathway, where groupings are linked by contrasts in foliage and flower color, texture and form: Purple-toned leaves of heucheras and phormiums; blue-violet, long-blooming Geranium 'Rozanne;' mounding Anthemis 'Susanna Mitchell;' bushy Coreopsis 'Limerock Ruby.'

Geranium blooms weave through hydrangeas; salvias and feathery silver-filigree artemisias are backed by dark Cotinus foliage and butterfly-attracting buddleias.

A bee feasting on... Asclepias incarnata?

Flanking a bench, fragrant rosemary, lavender & Verbena bonariensis
envelop the visitor who stops here to bask in the setting.
Kendall Jackson Winery -


  1. Looks like a wonderful place for a glass of wine and a leisurely stroll.

  2. Alice:
    My alltime favourite herbaceous Clematis tubulosa 'Alan Blooms' finds its heritage and namesake from this man's ancestry. If he is anything like his Father...... the photos are entrancing and I see where he has a new photobook out of some of his favourite perennials as well. Hope all is well with you. Rest between the packing dearheart!

  3. How pretty - I can only imagine how wonderful it would be in person. It's so hard to capture such large areas in little photos on a blog, but you did a good job!

  4. What a lovely garden, can inspire creativity indeed! I specially love the white umbels there.

  5. Ah, lovely. That first shot is totally frame-able--SO wonderful. The super fuzzed out purple in the foreground on the left is the COOLEST.

    I was walking along (eventually into) a lovely restaurant (WAY the best one in our tiny town) and they had the GENIUS to plant butterfly attracting flowers in their window planters, so on my way in and out, I got buzzed by a giant swallowtail. EnTRANCing. Note to self: genius planning/marketing/3-d experience-creating.

  6. I love the subdued beauty of the perennial border. You've just given me an idea for our anniversary trip (albeit an East coast version).

  7. Love those white hydrangeas..
    They look so immaculately innocent.

  8. That's a good looking garden; I love the grassy path shot. That side, the wine would be my primary interest!

  9. A glass of wine and buxom blooms ... who could ask for anything more!