Some vine intervention in Hermosa Beach


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Vines can be a gardener’s best friend. They may offer colorful flowers (think cheery orange clock vine or romantic roses) and delectable fruit (juicy grapes, sweet berries) while often boasting seductive foliage and fragrance. Vines can fan out horizontally or, where space is limited, they can be trained to grow vertically. Best of all, vines mask eyesores — blank walls, tool sheds or your neighbor’s hot tub — just as effectively as they transform perfectly ordinary gates, fences and trellises into showstopping highlights.

Vines play a leading role in the Provencal-style garden that Santa Monica landscape designer Gabriela Yariv created three years ago for Deirdre and Jeff Bronchick in Hermosa Beach. Yariv enlarged the backyard by building an 18-foot-tall retaining wall and leveling a steep rear slope. In the newfound space, she gave her clients and their twin daughters an inviting retreat with pool, pool house and outdoor grill.


“The remodel is new but Mediterranean in style, so I thought it would be fitting if the garden referenced the South of France,” Yariv says. To enhance the Old World look, she covered the existing fireplace with stone, then planted trees and plants that evoke the French countryside: olive, citrus and cypress as well as clipped boxwood, lavender, rosemary and succulents. But she didn’t stop there.

“Then we deployed several different vines to soften the hardscape and make the garden really blend with the architecture,” Yariv says. “We wanted it to look like something you’d see in Europe.”

At top, the delicate blossoms of Cooke’s Purple wisteria contrast with the rough stone. Because wisteria can grow quite large and heavy, adequate support is a must. Above right: rose vines, two ways. Shell-pink Cecile Brunner climbing roses add old-fashioned allure outside a storage room in the Bronchicks’ herb garden. It has a slightly spicy fragrance and few thorns, and it flowers from spring to early fall. The red- and white-striped petals and a fragrance reminiscent of apples distinguish the semi-double climbing rose Fourth of July, shown here growing around the column of the pool-house pergola. “I didn’t want to use wisteria everywhere. That would have been too boring,” Yariv says. “These roses are unusual and provide a little whimsy in summer.”

Keep reading for more on the Bronchicks’ garden ...

Above: The Chinese wisteria Cooke’s Purple scrambles up a wall and forms a living garland over doors and windows on the back of the home. Planted in full sun, its spectacular purple flowers bloom in early spring. “I love waking up in the morning and smelling their powerful scent,” homeowner Deirdre Bronchick says.

Above: Set against a backdrop of Italian cypress trees, star jasmine wraps a metal ring that echoes the shapes of the pruned pittosporum bushes. Long after the purple irises have faded, the star jasmine’s white blossoms will perfume the air.

Above: Deirdre Bronchick, an interior designer, and the family dog, Nikki, walk past the outdoor grill where wisteria growing on the pergola will provide more dramatic color and welcome shade as it fills out. All of the vines in the garden are irrigated using drip emitters or bubblers.

Above: Clusters of Cooke’s Purple wisteria blooms dangle from the vine like charms on a bracelet.

Above: Boston ivy stretches across exterior walls. Suckers that help the vigorous vine climb can damage plaster, siding or mortar, so careful pruning during dormant winter months is recommended.

Above: Violet trumpet vine frames doors with its glossy dark green leaves all year long. The flared blooms that inspired the plant’s name start to pop in spring, picking up where wisteria to the right leaves off.

Above: The sun casts shifting shadows beneath the Boston ivy and a hanging lantern.

-- Emily Young

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