Dat Pham

The Constant Gardener // DAT PHAM

Many years ago, I had a chance encounter with the young man who had come to switch out the orchids at a Vallejo Street property I managed for the founder of Williams-Sonoma. He was eclectic, vibrant, captivating… And fast! – As in whirling dervish fast-. He was gone before I got his name.

The next time I saw Dat Pham, he showed up not only with the expected beautiful orchids, but with several small cups of Vietnamese yogurt he said he ‘knew I would love’, and an invitation to ‘the best seven course beef in San Francisco.’ We’ve been friends ever since.

As the proprietor of Dalat Gardens, Dat designs some of the most gorgeous and prominent gardens in the Bay Area. Aside from his understanding of form, space, and design, he has a love affair with exotic palms and delicate succulents that hold up to the finicky San Francisco micro climates.

One of Dat’s signatures is to choose the perfect architectural and decorative pieces for each garden from his antique treasure trove, carefully curated and brought back by the container-load from his home in Vietnam.

Dat’s Glen Park home is a gallery of his collection; an ever-changing tableau of color, shape, and texture. One can tell the pieces he simply won’t part with as they become potted, adorned, and integrated into the permanent artful clutter of the bright space. In coming month’s we’ll be following Dat’s garden journey. He’s just back from visiting gardens in Tuscany, and I can’t wait to see the photos and hear the stories. We hope you’ll enjoy them too.

For more on Dat, see “Green(house) With Envy”, our repost of Julia Siler’s Wall Street Journal article.

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