Before we go to Nedra's House to show photos of the Garden Tour, I wanted to post the photos of the Southern California Garden Show - held each Spring at South Coast Plaza (in the annex formerly known as Crystal Court). My husband and I look forward to it each year.
APRIL 24, 2009 I attended the Garden Show with
the REAL gardener in my family - my husband.
M&M Nursery always has the Fairy Gardens on display, complete with tiny plants, fairies, arches, benches and pathways.
We arrived at Nedra's house after dark. (That was the idea all along.) Our theme here was 'intimate/romantic' and the scene was set beautifully with candlelight. Votives lined the pathway and led us to the back yard where our guests stood in amazement, gazing at the immense lighted hillside that crowns her backyard. Long ago - at our very first Garden Tour - Nedra visited Betty's yard and discovered vegetable gardening in oak barrels. Suddenly she knew how to tame her hillside and make it productive. On a leveled area of the hillside she has oak barrels with a variety of vegetables. Among the many trees and shrubs she has planted to cover her hillside, she also has 15 fruit trees including lemon, avocado and pomegranate. Nedra (with the help of her 5 children) does all of her own gardening.

Nedra's House

A large basketball court dominates the first part of her backyard. The rest of the yard opens elegantly into a beautiful entertaining area with pool and spa.

There was a beautiful fireplace with deep seating area. By that time we were in the middle of a heavy evening mist and the fireplace with it's crackling fire was warm and inviting.

We set up the refreshments on the barbecue area - glazed lemon pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream.
Next to the barbecue area, fuscia bougainvillea climbs to the balcony above.

Nedra's yard is magical.We were enchanted.

Our table was set for a romantic dinner for two. A bottle of French Berry Lemonade chilled in a candle/plant stand which we repurposed as an ice bucket.
Beautiful Eden roses from my own garden tumble casually from a stoneware urn.

The setting was perfect in a private patio Nedra calls her secret garden. It's centerpiece is a musical fountain under an arbor topped with wisteria.
The arbor was wrapped with tiny white lights.

I fell in love with these amazing fabrics in muted gold and cream, which I found at my favorite discount fabric store, Home Fabrics (El Toro/Rockfield).
I layered two toppers over the round tablecloth, for a casually elegant yet opulent look, and scrunched the top one to let the light play on the silky fabric. The dishes, utensils and glassware are Nedras.
To make a square topper, measure the width and cut the length to match. Turn the edges under twice 1/2 inch and sew, hemming the edges. Sew any trim or tassel embellishment as desired.
For a round table cloth,
measure the height and the width of the table. (You will need twice the height plus the width.) For example, if 2xheight+width comes to 70 inches, add one inch to each side for a hem, or 72 inches. You will need two lengths of the fabric sewn together lengthwise in order to get a 72 inch circle. Fold the sewn-together fabric in half and then in quarters. From the inside folded corner, measure down 1/2 of the total length. Using a tape measure, mark the distance with pen or pencil all across the fabric, keeping the top of the tape measure at the fold point and moving the bottom. Cut through the 4 layers of fabric along the marked line - you should have a full circle. Hem the bottom edge the same as for the topper, adding trim if you wish.
If you make these linens out of decorator fabrics, please remember to have these dry cleaned and don't put through your washer/dryer.
Email me if you have any questions on how to make the linens.
A HUGE thank you to Nedra for making her beautiful space available for our visit.
Thanks to all who attended.
Makes 2 loaves. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan / 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan / 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk / Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated / 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons) / 1-1/2 teaspoons salt / 1/2 teaspoon baking powder / 1/2 teaspoon baking soda / 2 cups sugar / 5 large eggs / Lemon Glaze (below)
DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. / Butter and flour two 4 1/2 -by-8-inch (6-cup) loaf pans. /
2. In a small bowl (or liquid measuring cup), combine buttermilk with lemon zest and juice. / In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. /
3. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. / Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. /
4. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three parts alternately with the buttermilk mixture in two, beginning and ending with flour; beat just until smooth (do not overmix)./
5. Divide batter evenly between pans; smooth tops./Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes (tent with foil if browning too quickly). / Cool 15 minutes in pan. / Turn out cakes onto a rack; cool completely before glazing.
6. Set rack with cakes over a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Pour glaze over cakes, letting it run down the sides; let dry, about 30 minutes. LEMON GLAZE 2 cups confectioners' sugar / 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Directions 1.Place confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup; stir in lemon juice (glaze should be thick, yet pourable). / Add more sugar or lemon juice, as necessary, to achieve desired consistency.
And varieties that smelled as sweet as roses! Amazing! There were more varieties of Orchids this year than I knew existed. LOVE these stripey ones! Beautiful new orange colored Cymbidiums.

Put it on your calendar for end of April next year!! I was a little focused on the beautiful orchids, but there were amazing plants of every kind, garden gadgets, outdoor decor - and the great Home decor stores like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Z Gallerie, etc. in this annex as well. A great way to spend an afternoon. THE GARDEN TOUR - PART II

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