Saturday, October 20, 2012

2012 APLD Conference Peninsula Garden Tours, #1

Our group started out our Peninsula garden tours with a stop at Bernard Trainor's well-published garden with curving concrete wall and wide spilling water feature. I was really happy to get to see this garden after seeing so many photos of it. We entered through some well-made steel gates. The house itself was very beautiful. The large windows reflected the garden nicely. 

steel front gatereflective window

The front garden has groves of Arbutus 'Marina' which are underplanted with swaths of mounding grasses. Apparently they have had trouble with dieback on some of the Arbutus 'Marina'. It is a hybrid tree with one of its parents being the notoriously hard-to-grow Arbutus menziesii, from which it gets its pretty red peeling bark. Arbutus 'Marina' is a good bit easier to grow than A. menziesii, but I guess it still can have issues from time to time. 

arbutus marina grove

front path

Check out these fantastically gorgeous front doors. Also in the front entry is an insectary from Flora Grubb. I'm curious about how these expensive bug houses will age. How long will they look good? Will the owners still keep them around as the bugs that they were made for inhabit them? They will inevitable look unkempt with cobwebs and broken down organic material as the bugs start to use them as homes. I kind of doubt people will want them next to their front doors then. 

front door

insectaryinsectary detail

The path continues around the side of the house. I like the way the red in the stone picks up the red bark of the tree trunks. The plantings are a study in muted simplicity. I love gardens that use a subtle color palette. I find it very relaxing, with the interest and excitement found in the combining of textures and shapes. 

steps and grasses

lawn and plantings

calamagrostis karl forester

The back patio is surrounded by the well-known curving concrete bench. In addition to the relaxing plant palette, the slowly overflowing water basin gives a sense of peacefulness to the space. I love the crunch of gravel underfoot, which naturally slows one down as well. The resin table and bench add a nice pop of color. 

water element

curvy bench

seating area

nice curves

resin table and benchresin table detail

A nice transition from the house leads one to the simple rectangular pool. I love the detailing, especially how the spa fits into the shape of the pool. 


pool plantings



Past the outdoor kitchen is the attractively screened utility area. Walking around the other side of the house leads you under a beautifully branching oak to complete the garden tour. A very lovely garden, I was so glad to get to see it in person. 


utility area

oak pathway

Monday, April 2, 2012

So...The San Francisco Flower and Garden Show

Sigh. Was it just me this year? I felt totally unengaged. Unispired. Uninterested. Don't get me wrong, there were some interesting moments. I'll show those in a bit. But overall it was boring. Not even silly enough to poke fun it. SAFE. Safe and boring.

I suppose the most interesting garden this year was John Greenlee's crazy grass jungle. It certainly was the most fun to walk through. And it certainly wasn't sticking to a "safe" and expected planting palette.

Greenlee garden1

Greenlee garden2

Greenlee pathway

The garden had some neat details like the stone lighting, as well as Marcia Donahue's fantastic ceramics.

Donahue sculptures

Greenlee lightkniphofiaGreenlee jungleGreenlee textures

Now, I just hate to say this, but if this was my garden, I'd be afraid my neighbors would show up with lawn mowers in the middle of the night. With the complete dominance of fine-textured grasses it just felt a bit weedy. There I said it. I don't think most home owners are ready for this look. I'm not. I still need a bit more woody plants and bold textures to be comfortable. But if one of my neighbors wants to have a garden like this, I promise not to bring the lawn mower by.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this garden. The central structure reminds me of an art nouveau time transporter that's spent too much time at the craft store. But they did have a giant gold dragon! And lord knows, I can't pass by a giant gold dragon without getting my picture taken with it.

time transportergiant gold dragon

This garden was quite nice. It had interesting plants combos - I liked the silver/black and bronzy/gold palettes and the use of those housing studs (I think that is what they were?) as fencing was very nice. And the columns of vertical plants was a nice twist on the typical one-dimensional features.

construction framing and chondropetalum

monocromatic plantings

vertical garden pillarsDan meets his twin

A garden for those with a Cinderella complex:

cinderella complex

I did find the colors in this garden interesting. The sherbet pink and dreamsicle orange would be great in fun girly, girl garden. Just would have to find some plants in those colors that could actually survive outside.

orange and pink

This is a great wall, but wasn't it there last year?

rock wall2

rock wall, stepscute rock stools

So that's what I noticed at the show. I guess there were a few things to poke fun at. All I can say is, even if some are a bit silly and over-the-top, at least they are better than a boring bed of azaleas, no?

azaleas everywhere

Friday, March 16, 2012

A few more images from Cornerstone, Sonoma

You can find my previous post on Cornerstone here. I'm going to keep this short and sweet so click on the image if you would like more information about the designer. I tried to list a credit whenever I had the info. But for now, lets just gorge ourselves on pictures, shall we?

The Garden of Visceral Serenity by Yoji SasakiThe Garden of Visceral Serenity by Yoji Sasakiterra cotta pathwaycomposting fences

willow allee

greys and chartreusewishing pergolaEarth Walk by Pamela BurtonOver Growth by Beth Mullins

carex sea

Mediterranean Medow by John Greenlee and Simple

The Garden of Contrasts by James Van Sweden

The Knowledge of Man is as the Waters by UCDavis

Future Feast in the Garden of Flow/AccumulationFuture Feast in the Garden of Flow/AccumulationFuture Feast in the Garden of Flow/AccumulationFuture Feast in the Garden of Flow/Accumulation

Stone's Throw by Land 1A Garden of Mouthings by Shirley Watts

Climate Change Garden

And the wildest of them all:

The Hermit's Garden by Kate and Ben Frey

The Hermit's Garden by Kate and Ben FreyThe Hermit's Garden by Kate and Ben Frey

You can check out more photos from Cornerstone on my Flickr site.