Gardens for Grazing
From the moment you approach the Horvitz garden, you know something different is afoot. At street level, the garden entrance is flanked by small pocket-gardens, filled with sunflowers, tomato plants, beans, rosemary, cabbages, nasturtiums, and other edibles.
Joggers stop to pluck a strawberry, and passing cars slow to let passengers take note of this unusual "yard." But Mary is quick to correct, "This is my quintal, a Portuguese word that conjures up a different image in my mind than the word yard. A quintal speaks to me of home, family, laughter, and good things to eat."
Climbing the steps leads you further into the garden. The terraces branch off, heading in one direction to a small formal herb garden of raised beds, with fruit trees-in this case figs- espaliered against the retaining wall of the upper terrace. In the opposite direction, a path leads under an arbor of pear trees to a small sunken garden dominated by a fountain made from an antique stone cistern and perfumed by scented shrubs like sweet box (Sarccocca digyna ) and Daphne odora. "There are perfumes everywhere you go in this garden," Mary exclaims, "and they change throughout the year." Some of her favorites are lavender, mint, thyme, and scented geraniums, which are dotted throughout the garden so a leaf can be plucked as you walk by.
As the stairs reach the uppermost terrace, they take a turn around a small, welcoming fountain, its base fringed with tiny wild strawberry plants. "This fountain recalls my Portuguese heritage," says Mary. "Every patio has a fonte to welcome visitors." The one gracing the Horvitzes' entryway was designed with tiles modeled on the traditional tiles, or azulejos, that decorate Portuguese fountains.