Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous, musical producers and owners of the Dene-Watrous Gallery, believed that Carmel-by-the-Sea should be the epicenter of world-class music, art and cultural expression. In 1935 they set out to make their dream a reality by founding the Carmel Bach Festival.
The festival began as a four-day concert series at the Sunset School Auditorium and the Carmel Mission. Now in its 77th Season, the Carmel Bach Festival features over 75 performances and free community events at 12 locations around Monterey Peninsula.
This year the Carmel Bach Festival held their inaugural Carmel Bach Festival Home and Garden Tour in May, featuring three gardens and three homes in the Carmel-by-the-Sea and Carmel Point area. Many sites offered live classical music performed by musicians from the Festival’s Young Musician Concert. Our first stop, Mission Orchard House.
Many of us pass the Mission Orchard House daily while driving along Rio Road, but few have the opportunity to go behind the gate to visit the extraordinary casita garden and view what is considered the oldest residential dwelling in California.
There are two main houses on the property, one built of adobe and one of wood. The two structures, c. 1929, (adobe left, wood right) are seen in the picture below.
Though this property has a facinating history, this post will concentrate on the structures and garden in their present state.
Just inside the gate stands a very old cork oak tree. A native of Western Europe, namely Spain and Portugal, this oak may have been planted by Fr. Palou at the same time he planted the pear orchard next to the mission in 1774.
The cork oak forms a thick bark that may be harvested every 9 to 12 years. The harvesting does not hurt the trees, some of which can live for up to 250 years.
The adobe wall shown in the picture above was part of the original orchard wall built in 1774 to surround Fr. Palou’s pear orchard. Today this wall is the north wall of the adobe living room, giving this adobe casita the distinction of being considered the oldest residential dwelling in California.
Our next property, Le Papillion, is owned by Brenda and David Mauldwin. Brenda runs a garden design and consulting company, The Window Box.
Her creative touch appears throughout. From wine bottle oil lamps which illuminate the property at night,
to the large spirit nest, a memorial to the homes previous owner, Brenda’s love of whimsy is everywhere.
Next up, an artist’s dream home, The House with the Red Gate and Cimarron a home with lovely Carmel Beach view.
Part 2 The House with the Red Gate and Cimarron
Part 3 Rivermouth and Winton Garden___
All photos and video by L. A. Momboisse http://www.carmelbytheseaca.blogspot.com except those listed below:
– Black and white of adobe and wood house taken after 1921. (Kent Seavey, Images of America Carmel A History in Architecture, (Arcadia Publishing, 2007) p.17
– Black and white photo from 1929 – the Mission Tea House. Photo used with permission from Casa Q Events. Casa Q Events planned the dinner at Orchard House given in honor of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Father Junipero Serra.