California Dreaming. Gamble Garden Spring Tour

Happy Earth Day!

In the spirit of Earth Day and all things nature and gardening I would like to share this fun look at a spring garden tour a group of my friends and I went on in Palo Alto, California.  The garden tour was called California Dreaming – the philosophy of enjoying the beautiful outdoors all year round and in our own backyards.


Gamble Garden Spring Tour 2018.

Every year a group of us friends from all over the Bay Area meet in Palo Alto at Gamble Garden for their annual spring garden tour.  This is an annual event where five homes in the neighborhood open their gardens for visitors to explore.  The gardens are picked based on the theme of that year.  These gardens are not big by any means , they are your typical small to medium-sized backyard, but what gets highlighted is how these homeowners have created outdoor spaces into gardens worthy of a magazine cover.


California Dreaming

The theme of Gamble Garden’s 2018 Spring Tour was California Dreaming.  Each destination on the the tour showcased a uniquely personal take on the concept of California Dreaming.  The vision of California Dreaming is to create an out door space that allows for year round entertaining and relaxation and an appreciation for nature.  The five gardens showcased at this year’s garden tour ranged from gardens of tranquility and retreat, to the worldly and exotic, to the whimsical and playful, and quiet and sophisticated.



Let me take your on a Spring Garden Tour of California Dreaming

First stop. The Gamble Garden:  All of us met at the Gamble Garden to grab a cup of coffee and a few maps that highlighted all the homes on this year’s spring tour.


Art and Antique Fair at the Gamble Garden

As part of the spring tour an Art and Antique Fair is held at the Gamble Garden that showcase artists ranging from painters to potters, clothing designers to honey vendors, hat designers to purveyors of pastries and gourmet foods.  Here is a look at some of the artists and vendors.




Got to meet Susan Woodman the Author of Gamble Garden. Landscape of Optimism




My finds at the Gamble Antique Fair.



“It’s more about the journey than the destination.”   Walking on the way to our first home on the Garden Tour

Gamble Garden is situated in a charming neighborhood called Old Palo Alto where each home is unique with a charming garden to match.  Walking in this neighborhood is such a pleasant experience with a delight around every corner.  This neighborhood epitomizes the saying  “It’s more about the journey than the destination.”  Here is a look at the homes we passed on our way to the gardens on our spring tour.





Stopping to smell the roses on our way to house number 1.






Beautiful homes and gardens made it a delight to walk from one garden to the next.







A veggie garden in the front of the home.  This home which was in the the previous year’s spring tour was truly one of the most unique homes I had ever seen.  I especially loved the unique concept of having a veggie bed in front of the house rather than tucked away in the backyard.



Hot pink flowers on a calming background at this charming home. This home had the most beautiful bougainvillea spilling over with vibrant red flowers. Just gorgeous!



An English cottage in California? This home truly looked like it belonged in an English village with the quintessential cottage style garden.






Spring Tour 2018 House Number 1:

Classic California style architecture with a Mediterranean garden, this garden really captured the essence of California Dreaming.  This home and garden was by far my favorite at this year’s garden tour.




Front of the home.

The overarching theme in this garden was the use of various shades and textures of green plantings to create a soothing outdoor space without the use of a lawn. This was a beautiful garden in the classic California style with olive trees, grasses, palms and a relaxing space for outdoor entertaining.  Here is a look at House number 1 on our tour.




The side yard on the way to the backyard retreat.


The backyard garden retreat.





The only color in this backyard of soothing greens was this patch of yellow roses.


The shady patio so elegant and welcoming.   Large pots showed off  huge palms and boxwoods which continued the soothing green theme.





I especially loved this pot of mint on an expansive dining table. The humble mint looked so artistic presented in this way 🌿.


A pot of green herbs continued the green theme in this serene California garden.


Green, textural, soothing, and inviting.  This pretty much sums up this beautiful home and garden.

House number 2:  The open basement and Luxurious Tree House

The garden in this home had three very distinct features that made it a standout.  First was a beautiful light filled patio outside the basement, so unexpected and beautiful.  Second was the most luxurious tree house I had ever seen!  And last but not least was the creative ways in which the homeowners used raised planters in all shapes and sizes to grow their vegetables.




Veggie beds in all shapes and sizes




The sunken garden outside the basement

A trend that I had been reading about in new home designs is the concept of basements with plenty of windows and light with outdoor spaces to enjoy.   It looks like these homeowners already knew of this creative trend as seen in this idea of a “sunken garden” outside their basement.


With a simple elegant patio surrounded by colorful impatiens this space made for a soothing spot outside their basement and shows that one doesn’t require much space to create an oasis with minimal plants and decor.


The Adult Tree House

A truly unexpected garden feature in this garden was the most luxurious tree house I had ever seen.  Nestled in tall redwoods this tree house was designed for adults who want to get away from life’s chores and relax with a glass of wine among the trees. In fact, there actually was a table in here with chilled wine and a book!




A walk through the garden

This home had a beautiful outdoor space designed with every aspect of relaxation in mind.  A staycation at this home is one that will truly feel like a vacation.




I hope you enjoyed this garden tour we went on a couple of years ago.  On a side note, my friends and I had already bought tickets to the Gamble Garden 2020 Spring Tour scheduled for April 24th but as expected it got canceled because of the pandemic.  But this doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our own gardens at this time.  Please support your local nurseries and purchase summer veggie seedlings, flowers and plants, as the nurseries need all the help right now since spring is when they make most of their annual revenue.  I am sure curbside pick up will be available.


Here is a look at previous Gamble Garden Spring Tours  Gamble Garden Spring Tour 2019     Gamble Garden Spring Tour 2016



Let’s enjoy the beauty that is nature and spend time in our gardens be they small or large or anything in between.  Fresh air and gardening are great ways to keep our psyche positive during these trying times.  Be safe, stay healthy and please take care.

Happy Gardening 🌹🌺🌸.


6 thoughts on “California Dreaming. Gamble Garden Spring Tour”

  1. Wow! Beautiful tour on Earth Day! Thanks Kalpana.

    I took a tour of our garden just now. Thanks to you, our rose plants have beautiful roses. All our plants are smiling and saying” No pollution!”


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such an apropos post to honor Earth Day! Truly enjoyed the tour again – thanks to your detailed account of that day! Love all your pics of the homes/gardens we visited – such a fun event; a sweet tradition that we unfortunately missed this year.😔

    Nevertheless, thank you for taking us back to a simpler, easier, time. Happy gardening!🏡🦋👩🏻‍🌾. And happy Earth day!🌎

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Rose, it was great to go on a nostalgic tour of our previous Gamble Garden spring tour. Hope to go on the next one and hope that all will be back to normal soon. Take care and happy gardening!!


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