Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fourth Quarter Gardens - Garden Conservancy Lecture and Tour

The other day I went to the lecture "Fourth Quarter Gardens, An August to December Romance" hosted by the Garden Conservancy and the Ruth Bancroft Garden.

All the speakers were excellent with a wide range of topics under the theme of fall and winter gardening. I have to say that fall is probably my favorite time of the garden. It is full of tawny browns, oranges and reds. The garden feels sturdier, less tender than in spring. And as Debra Prinzing, a speaker, put it - the garden is quieter, and it is a time to enjoy the death and decay in the garden. I often find decay as attractive, and possibly more intriguing, than any spring bud or summer flower.

And here in Northern California it's not all about death and decay. The garden also feels revitalized, almost spring-like. We get a bit of warmth, we get some rain and all of a sudden the dormant sleepiness of summer is replaced with greening hills and crisp blue skies. The plants are washed clean and look perkier. And the soil is released from its bone-dry, undiggable, frozen-hardness. It's time to garden again.

As part of the lecture we got to tour Katherine Greenberg's Lafayette garden. The garden is planted with mostly California natives. I was completely taken with the silver, tan and olive palette. Touches of red spice it up. She certainly knows how to place plants to capture their personality and drama. Simple, restrained and dramatic. I loved it.

front drive bed

front pergolafront entrancepeekaboo gardenfront walk

front seating areaseating with slopelayerslovely details

back seating area

stairs and oakmuhlenbergia rigensseating area with vine maplearctostaphylos

back slope

bench and vine maples

1 comment:

  1. I like the contemporary, restrained feel of this garden. To me it seems more restful than how my own garden is with its hodgepodge of plants stuffed into any available space. Fall here is also refreshing as many of the summer annuals and perennials get a second breath of life once the stifling humidity and heat have lessened. We often don't get our first frost until the end of the month so those same plants continue unaware as to what lies ahead.


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