Garden Destinations: Salvation Mountain

Perhaps you think of a garden as a collection of plants alone?  I am not so sure I completely agree.  I see some sort of garden in these images, I guess, because a garden to me is as much about self expression and personal art based in nature and the land, as it is about growing things. Do you agree?

I am working on some summer vacation planning (which, this year,will include a big camping road trip through Colorado, the desert southwest and a few other stops) and I am eager to include as many unique road side attractions as I can.  All the better if they are beautiful, restful, inspiring plant gardens, but happily, I will take this type of garden any day.

road trip destination - Salvation mountain in niland california

image By Lee Otis

Salvation Mountain, in Niland, California, is a 50 ft tall, 150 ft wide man made mountain. It was constructed by Leonard Knight and is made of hay bales, the local adobe clay, and hundreds of thousands of gallons of donated paint.  According to wikipedia, the project has been likened to an epic work of folk art comparable to the Watts Towers.

Salvation Mountain, Niland California Landscape Art

images  from unususal life

I am attracted to it for it’s beautiful colors, interesting construction, artistic spirit and genuine expression.  (all the same things that attract me to a good garden).   I am hoping to figure a route into our summer caravan plan that will pass through this area.

Learn more about Salvation Mountain.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. Laurie Brown on February 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    That’s an absolute hoot. And I love his truck. And the fact that it looks like you can go *inside* the mountain- heck, yeah, I’d stop there! I might just have to think about building something like that!

  2. Alicia Hanson on February 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    We went out there last year. We were there the morning of the Big Southern California Easter EarthQuake. The weird thing was when I was standing in the center of it gazing up. I said to myself man I hope there is not an earthquake. It wasn’t until we were almost home that it hit.
    The area is very strange. The whole Salton Sea area is just a trip. I enjoyed taking photos I took a billon they are on my Flickr. Leonard Knight the creator, is quiet a character we got to meet him and he gave us a souvenir rock. Here are my pics.

  3. succulent garden design on February 22, 2011 at 5:23 am

    hat’s an absolute hoot. And I love his truck. And the fact that it looks like you can go *inside* the mountain- heck, yeah, I’d stop there! I might just have to think about building something like that!

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