John Greenlee's Pomona garden

John Greenlee is known as the Grass Man.  His extensive knowledge of ornamental grasses and garden meadow making have led him to corporate commissions and a “go to” consultant for many of the worlds best garden designers.  His exuberance for all things grasses is legendary and his lectures on “Kill Your Lawn” are pure entertainment.

Winner - Lawn of the Month - sign in John Greenlee garden
Winner – Lawn of the Month – sign in John Greenlee garden

But his own personal gardens are what I like the most.  John and I are friends, collaborated on The American Meadow Garden, and I have photographed his three home gardens.  They are all designed for fun, for parties with friends, full of whimsy, metaphor, and found objects put to good use.

And they are full of grasses, big bold grasses used to overwhelm spaces and define the landscape.

The most recent garden is right down the street from his first garden in Pomona, California.  That garden is now gone after closing his original nursery, a 20 year haphazard expansion of his grass collection into neighbors’ back yards and empty lots.

Site of John Greenlee's first garden
Site of John Greenlee’s first garden

I would like to say I knew that first garden, back in the day, to have experience the parties now whispered about, but I only saw that garden in its final overgrown days, full of mystery and secrets.

I dropped by the new garden recently and saw a new party garden, a Mad Hatter’s collection of gathering spots, secret passageways and hidden rooms, all created with grasses.

John Greenlee's Pomona garden
John Greenlee’s Pomona garden

I took some photos as sketches.  It may be years before I figure out what to say about this garden, but standard photos don’t do it justice.  It is a feeling, a mood, an experience.  Don’t take anything John says or does too literally.  Sit back and enjoy.

Before and After Slider

Before and After Slider

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