CUESTA LINDA - GARDEN OF JEFF AND CHRISTINE BRUSSEAU IN VISTA, CALIFORNIA
Cuesta Linda is a two acre hilltop garden in one of the most favorable palm growing climates in So. California. Seven miles from the ocean, it straddles a line that separates the cool coastal ocean influence from the hot/cold inland extremes. The soil is well draining and the area was once prime citrus and avocado groves. The original 55 acre parcel was owned by the magnate of the SOS cleaning pad fortune, and was split into smaller parcels in the early 50s. The two acres that Cuesta Linda occupies includes the original 1920's home. Jeff and Christine Brusseau have been collecting and planting the extensive garden for almost ten years. For the last 2 years the home has undergone extensive renovation, preserving all of the original architecture and rustic appeal of the estate. Palmpedia has been invited back to update this garden pictorial when the construction is finished and the effects of the devastating California freeze are a memory. Until then, here is a small sample of this great garden.
I have not been to this garden in years, but even then it was one of the most amazing, impressive palm gardens in all of California, and could easily be the best there is now. Congratulations! It is a masterpiece! I am certainly looking forward to seeing it again. Geoff Stein
In California, a Dypsis leptocheilos at the entry gate is a dead give away that a palm collector lives inside. A winding driveway takes you around one side of the property, and eventually into the lusher rain forest back slope.
In this initial more exposed area are some of the more sun loving species. Mixed in among the palms are a wide variety of cycads, bamboos, and unique plants for color and texture. And when not obstructed by the landscaping, the views are expansive.
More photos of individual palms in the sunnier open area:
Dypsis 'Cuesta Linda'
Jeff acquired a Dypsis many years ago as Dypsis sp. that doesn't appear to have ever been made available again. It has grown well enough to have supplied a few generations of seedlings that have affectionately been given the namesake of Dypsis 'Cuesta Linda'. It is a beautiful well growing palm that most agree belongs in the D. baronii complex, yet all of these palms have remained solitary. If anyone has additional info or comments on this palm, please click on the discussion tab at the top, and share it with us.
Into the "Rain Forest"
The layout of this garden is aesthetically pleasing, and it is a lot of fun to walk around the many winding pathways. One moment you are surrounded by a grove of bamboo or lush canopy, and the next, you are out in full sun perfect for Dypsis decipiens, Sabals, or Livistona.
Some more miscellaneous shots of the "rain forest" area that speak for themselves:
The Good Stuff
There are, of course, many eye catching and unique palms scattered about. Jeff has one of the few Dypsis sp. 'white stems' in cultivation. It is believed there is only one of these plants left in Madagascar. Whether any of the handful of these plants that have found their way to cultivation will ever flower and seed, is anyone's guess. We can only hope. The adult in Madagascar is a knock out. Cuesta Linda also hosts a Caryota (name to be filled in later). This is the only known individual in cultivation, per Don Hodel. There is also a colorful moderate clumping Dypsis that came in as Dypsis psammophila. It is too large for that species, but is more reminiscent of a palm from Madagascar known as 'Black Stem' . Perhaps the differences in apperance could be explained by this shade grown individual exhibiting slightly less color. Other notables, due as much to their healty appearance, are Lepidorachis mooreana, Cyphosperma balansae, and Pinanga coronata.
As you exit the back slope "rain forest" and complete your circle of the house back to your starting point, there is more to see. Several large Pritchardias with 6-8 feet/1.8-2.4m of trunk, Parajubaeas, and Jubaeaopsis among others. It is rare that you would ever see a garden looking as mature as this in less than 10 California years. It is a testament to the excellent location, diligent caretaking, and a vigorous planning and collecting regimen. Thanks Jeff and Chris for allowing Palmpedia to share your garden with everyone.