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In 1987 my wife, Bettine, and I moved into a new home, for us, in the foothills outside of Santa Barbara. From the first day there, we worked to create a garden.

Our garden is designed to be a pleasure to the eye as well as a benefit to the native animals. We have planted both native plants and, near the house, alien plants; fruit trees, herbs, vegetables and flowering plants to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

I originally called this feature Bettine's Garden. Although we have both been involved in creating our garden Bettine has the botanical knowledge and has been the major mover. Bettine was a docent at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, she was a master gardener and has always had a garden, although before never with this room.

Every since we bought our home we have thought about naming it. We considered many names but the one that has stayed with us is Mockingbird Hill. As I worked on this section I find my interests extend beyond the garden so I have decided to call it Mockingbird Hill.

I am often asked certain questions relating to the view from my studio; "Do you ever get bored of the view?" And "Don't you find it hard to get anything done?"


Fogged In
I don't get bored of the view, it is different almost every day. The only kinds of days that look the same are crystalline clear days and totally fogged in days.

A clear day
And yes, there are some days when it is hard to concentrate on anything because every time I look up from my work I see a beautiful scene of constantly changing skies. Fortunately there is something I can do, pick up a camera and make my work photographing the very thing that has been distracting me, see September.
In general I will put photos of native plants on the right and alien plants on the left. Alien plants are plants brought to our area by humans, Spanish, Mexican, European, American, Asian, etc. Some were brought by accident; with seed, in ballast, on the hooves of animals, and myriad other ways. Some were brought on purpose, for cattle feed or crops, for erosion control or gardens. Whatever the reason the plants, and animals, brought here have drastically changed the ecological system. Some are relatively benign and some are a disaster. More on that later, maybe.

Fuchsia flowered gooseberry

A garden is a wonderful thing, unpredictable because it is alive. You plant what you want and see what you get. Let's see where this goes.
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