A Tiki Revival Garden

The Mary Lou Heard garden tour led us to this Tiki Revival garden in Yorba Linda.
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The signs were helpful.
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Tiki style--sex, rum, and WWII--was born in 1934 with the opening of Don the Beachcomber, a Polynesian-themed bar and restaurant in Hollywood, California. 
Buddha with bling:
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This fantastical interpretation of Polynesian culture threads like a tropical vine through the culture of the time--cocktails (mai tai), books ("Tales of the South Pacific", 1948), movies ("Blue Hawaii", 1959), music (Arthur Godfrey and his ukelele), and yes, the garages and gardens of  Americans in search of their own--piece of eden, if you will.  
Gone bananas for the tropics
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Tiki style faded in the dispair of the oil embargoed, discoed 1970's and revived as ironic hipsterism* in the optimism and prosperity of the late 1990's.  Somewhere in that revival emerged a less kitschy garden style of water gardens, palm trees, thatched huts and aloha pillows.  
Shhh!  The baby is sleeping!
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In regards to vegetation, tiki revival gardens can be as simple or as elaborate as the owner desires.  
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This particular garden had a simple palette of palms, hibiscus, cordyline, Strelitzia, Philodendron, bananas, Plumeria, Taro, and jasmines, all plants readily available in this area and easy to grow.  
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A newer version would have lots of bromeliads, tillandsias tied to driftwood, and a goji berry patch.  

Garden long enough and you can nail the year the garden was built by the plant selections.
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Much effort had been put into the many thatched hut seating areas and the water gardens.  
And cool Philodendron lamps!
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 One of many shady places to sit:
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One of the water garden inlets:
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Hippos are not Polynesian, but neither are koi.
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The palms reflected in the pool with its koi tiles:
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Beyond a tiki dream, the real landscape:
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Garden as fantasy, dream, aspiration. 
And cool Philodendron lamps!
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From tiki revival to to the next and last tour garden we visited.  It was a hot day.  The next garden recalled for me the heyday of California, the homeowner-immigrant's dream of year round fresh fruit, vegetables and endless warm sunshine.
Another California Dream:
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It was a sunny garden of precisely crafted drip irrigation, orderly fruit and vegetable beds framed by decomposed granite pathways, a bit of whimsy...

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...some impressively large cacti grown from 2" pots...
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...everything meticulously thought out.  Clever bird nets for the blueberry shrubs:  laundry bags from a big-box store.
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 Even running out of paint looked good:
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I loved the thought that went into the garden.  One of the homeowners is an efficiency expert, and it showed--though it is not a cold, fussy garden--there is golden light.
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A place of order and raspberries is as much a dream as a tiki room.  Two different pursuits of happiness.  The gardener is the garden. 
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*90's hipsterism, that is.  Today's is Victorian-style facial hair, writing apps and trucker hats--no, that was last week...


  1. I had no idea Tiki was a garden style. Apparently, I'm not very hip. I don't have a trucker hat or facial hair, either. I'm starting to realize there's no reason to get up and doing anything anymore. I'm obsolete with my cottage garden. But I do love the garden. I feels very California.

    1. It was a fun garden.

      For me, hip is a problem due to over-consumption of ice cream.


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