Aumont Gallery
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An echo of France in a Santa Barbara garden

Aumont Gallery
In the California town of Ballard, Hélène Aumont has transformed the once-rustic grounds around her 1940s farmhouse into a charming mélange of small and distinct French, Mediterranean and California gardens. The interior and furniture designer, born in Paris, grew up spending summers at her parents’ ranch on the island of Corsica, off the south of France. “It’s a chaparral where you can grow many things, very much like here in the Santa Ynez Mountains,” she says. “It’s such a strong tie. You always try to re-create what you most miss.” (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Aumont Gallery
Aumont decided the grounds cried out for furnishings with history and weight. On the lawn under a willow, she placed neoclassical 20th century California iron chaises from Europa Summerland Antiques and Fine Art, her ex-husband’s store nearby. (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Aumont Gallery
Some of the flower beds are defined by woven willow edging borders. (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Aumont Gallery
The property looked nothing like this 14 years ago, when Hélène and Patrick Aumont, her husband at the time, moved in. There were pepper trees, sycamores and ancient oaks, dripping with Spanish moss. “Everything else, we planted,” Aumont says. Additional trees helped define the space and the mood. Italian cypresses add strong vertical lines and a Tuscan flavor; a blue-green acacia provides winter blossoms. The 19th century specimen table is made of many varieties of marble. (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Aumont Gallery
An Old World lantern hangs from a birch tree branch. (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Aumont Gallery
Hélène Aumont sits on a cotton woven hammock from Honduras between two pepper trees. (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Aumont Gallery
A low, scrolled Italian iron gate with two antique stone columns as posts ushers in visitors. This welcoming entry frames an Impressionist scene profuse with hundreds of roses — floribunda, English tea and ‘Cecile Brunner,’ irises, hydrangea, jasmine, morning glory and dark purple buddleia. (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
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