A walk around Carmel, CA

If you told me I could live anywhere in the U.S., money being no object, I’d probably say Carmel California without hesitation. It is possibly the most charming community I’ve ever visited – storybook cottages and the gardens to match.

A Frank Lloyd Wright bowl planter.

There seems to be many more McMansions jamming their way between the pretty seaside cottages, but even those are of unique designs and made of stone, brick and sturdier finishes than you’d expect anywhere else. It’s pretty exclusive, as you would expect – being almost part of Pebble Beach, the scenic 17-Mile Drive toll road, the toniest town in California, and with Clint Eastwood being your ex-mayor.

We visited Carmel about 20 years ago and were itching to get back, just to walk around the trendy shopping district of art studios, antique stores, restaurants, and design shops. We wanted to show our daughter (a Frank Lloyd Wright fan) the Wright beach house (shown above). And I wanted to photograph just some of the gardens. What I have here are not even the best of the residential front yard gardens we saw – these are just the gardens in a small square block of homes by the ocean.

A great fence right by the public beach

Path along the ocean – does anyone know what the purple flowered bush is? it’s all over northern California.
The Wright house.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “A walk around Carmel, CA

  1. Gorgeous photos! The blue flowered shrub is Echium candicans… Love it so much. Wish it was hardy.


  2. Magnifique !


  3. Great photos, I too could live there and be very happy. (I first read Josephs comment as “wish it were handy” instead of “hardy”…)


  4. Oh I think someone got the purple bush by it's scientific name. I always knew it as Pride of Madeira:http://daviswiki.org/Pride_of_Madeira.


  5. I love Carmel, but it's been at least 9 years since I was there. You did a great job of capturing the gardens and architecture examples. Being from North Carolina, the price of small homes in exclusive communities always astounds me.


  6. Joseph & Fern & Mossery,Thanks for the name of the plant. alas, it would never make a northeast winter. The shrubs a beautiful.Delphine,Merci beaucoup! Danger Garden & Freda,I cannot even venture to guess the cost of a home there. And many are vacation homes! I could live there and be happy too.


  7. I haven't been to Carmel for 40 years so I was interested to hear your description. I've been meaning to post a photo of the FLW house not far from our house as it has a “Recall Walker” sign out in front of it. Even Frank is disgusted with our Gov.


  8. Why hello fellow western NYer! I'm from Chautauqua area and now live near Sacramento. Your photos definately brighten the day and feature all of the coast's magnificent plants and gardens beautifully. Pride of Madeira definately prefers the coast BUT with that being said it is possible to grow it inland (think hot Sacramento without the ocean breeze) as long as there is moisture and shade. I also see lots of Santa Barbara daisy & rosemary & lavender–both of which you can grow back in Buffalo if you just “Must have” a piece of california with you, back home 🙂


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