Monday, March 28, 2011

My Haul from the San Francisco Garden Show

I didn't plan to buy things at the show, but once I loosened the purse strings there sure were a lot of things I couldn't do without!

I always have a hard time saying No to plants so I guess I did manage to get off easy with the 12 or so plants I bought.

plant haul

The plant that got me started was Echeveria 'Black Knight' from Succulent Gardens. I spotted one pot that had at least 5 rosettes in it. That's like 5 plants for the price of 1! How could I pass that up? I also picked up Echeveria 'Lola'. It caught my eye with its translucent, pearly foliage.

echeveria 'black knight'echeveria 'lola'

Then over at Digging Dog I had to have the Allium gigantea, Ribes sanguineum 'Brocklebankii' and Tanacetum vulgare 'Isla Gold'. I think I may need a 12 step program for my problem when it comes to golden foliage.

Ribes sanguineum 'brocklebankii'tanacetum vulgare 'isla gold'

I also picked up some Red Pac Choi, Red Russian Kale, Asian Greens (?) and Round Chioggia Radicchio from Ploughshares Nursery.

I couldn't resist a Grevillea pteridifolia from Garden Hortica and some onion starts from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds.

Needing a snack at this point, I was missing the donuts from last year but was mollified upon discovering some chocolate-covered potato chips from the DeBrito Chocolate Factory. Next year you may see me walking around noshing on one of their softball-sized carmel apples.

show treats

I also bought an awesome book from Builder's Booksource, Avant Gardeners. It looks really interesting. I'll tell you more about it after I read it.

avant gardeners

All in all, a pretty good haul!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

SF Flower and Garden Show Run Down

UC Berkeley's Plant Lab - I have to admit I was intrigued. Twin banks of grow lights lit up the graphic, sterile lettuce landscape. Pushing the limits of the concept of gardening, this creation brought to mind images of computer-aided 3-D topo maps, nursing homes filled with IV drips, and indoor pot farms. Well-edited down to the simplest of materials, but completely impractical. Or is it? I really, really hope that this ends up in someone's backyard for a trial run in the real world, a world with weeds, curious squirrels and strong winds. Lose the grow lights and see if it can become a simple, beautiful hanging garden.

lettuce wave

uc berkeley plant labunder tubing

lettuce lab

the nursing home

the gallery

Kind of a cool moon gate at Saunders Designs "Reality Rocks" exhibit. The rocks with faces freaked me out though. I don't think I'd feel comfortable walking through the garden at night with those things lurking about.

moon gate

blue moon gatestonefox

creepy garden

The trash can was pretty cool though.

trash can

Love the stonework in Mariposa Gardening and Design's "Changes".

geological uplift

pixie lightslovely stone

cute stone wall

Ah Sam Florist and Greenhouse had an interestingly shaped trellis/arbor that was impossible to photograph. They also had a plant I must have, Portulaca 'Maraca'. Hopefully it is hardy around these parts.

intruiging trellistriangular trellisportulaca maracaportulaca maraca tag

Quite Contrary Garden Design had some lovely large boulders as well as a nifty rusty bedspring that I would love to pull off the ground, hang on a wall and plant with epiphytes. But all those large boulders and giant cypress soldiers felt like they were protecting something on the inside and I never felt like I was able to figure out what. It felt very impenetrable and fortress like. If we'd been able to walk into it, I might have enjoyed the protected space.

bignessepiphytes and bedsprings

Certainly garnering the most attention was Jeffrey Gordon Smith's "Pi R Squared". The main elements were planting containers made of left-over pieces of large black drainage pipe, grommets galore, and rusty pipes and sheet metal. It all comes together for a dramatic look although I have to admit I wouldn't care for some of the materials in my own garden, a public garden would be more appropriate perhaps. Don't get me wrong, I love rusty things, I guess it was the black plastic that didn't appeal.

drainage scrapsgasket patterns


The hot tub seemed out of place with its pudgy, glossy orangeness, although it did go with the circular theme.


I couldn't keep my hands off that black Komodo grill though. It was caress worthy, the lingam of bbq's. And I did quite like those tables they put together.

komodo grillslick table

Continuing the circular theme was the row of medals, quite the lineup.

the lineup

Filoli's dovecote and bulb extravaganza was very pretty. The adopt a pigeon handout cracked me up though. Can anyone explain what is going on with the dove in the harness? :)

ode to twitterchunky

pigeon snm

I was impressed with the West Valley College Landscape Architecture Club's piece. It was clean and simple and totally something I would want to have in my backyard. I loved the wood wall with windows and the raised beds faced in rusty siding.

clean and simplerusty siding

The McKenna Landscape split-rail wall was very nice. I'd like to see how it will weather. And I'm totally stealing their idea of using Phormium 'Jack Spratt' as a pathway edger in tight spaces between hardscape.

shake wallphormium edging

But I think the weirdest garden was Goulart Design's tiki lounge/vivarium with terrariums scattered about. I guess they wanted the garden to feel "wild" with exotic animals but the bright glass boxes made it kind of hard pretend to be in Costa Rica. And I have to say the TV with violent non-family programing kind of spoiled the vibe too.

questionable design element

questionable programming

I did get a kick out of the "Pixie" Frog though. That thing must've weighed 5 lbs!

just a little pixie

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fall from Grace

This is what greeted me when I got home today:

fallen ceanothus

We had a MONSTER rain storm today, heavy rain all day long, pretty windy too. It was just too much for my espaliered Ceanothus to handle. It's a bit top heavy and the weight of the water just pulled the whole thing over. This is what it looked like last week:

ceanothus and phormium

I'm thinking we can just prop it back up. The roots seem OK, just popped out of the ground a bit. The bees sure would be bummed to lose this shrub and the back of the house sure would look bare.

Friday, March 18, 2011

So check me out!

A website of my very own! Presenting my business website:
So happy to have it finished (for now)!

floradora garden design

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Don't forget your Foliage Follow Up!

A bit late, but here we go - Once on a trip, I saw a combination of large Agave villmorianas growing out a mass of plain ol' Aptenia cordifolia that looked fantastic. That inspired some of what is going on here. I've ended up loving the chartreuse Aptenia and silver Dymondia margaretae together. They edge the rest of the plantings nicely.

agave villmoriana etc

I grabbed a couple of pots of Aeonium 'Kiwi' at the nursery that looked prime for division. I can think of about a hundred places I'd like to tuck this plant into the garden. Some Tanacetum 'Aureum' reseeded near this succulent I can never remember the name of. I'm really enjoying the combination of their leaves. And it should be even better when *insert name here* succulent blooms with its yellow flowers. And the geometry of the fennel fronds is always nice, as is the color of the new leaves on the Kale 'Richmond's Pride'.

aeonium kiwithat succulent i can never remember the name of and tanacetum aureumfennel frondskale richmonds pride

This picture is kind of cheating because it is really more about the blooming Ceanothus 'Concha'. I didn't take it until after I'd posted my Bloom Day post so I'll justify including it here by saying how much I like the combination of the blue flowers with the yellow foliage of Phormium 'Yellow Wave', although mine is starting to revert and I need to cut those green chunks out.

ceanothus and phormium

I love my super tough Heuchera maxima and Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers'. The banana leaves are unfurling and look interesting with their purple undersides. And my Helleborus x sternii has reseeded quite prolifically. I'm going to transplant these guys and have lots of free Hellebores, which I'm happy about because Hellebores are expensive!

asparagus myers and heuchera maximabanana leafhelleborus x sternii reseedinghelleborus x sternii seedlings ready

And here is my new pot I got at Flora Grubb last time I was there. I'm trying out the "overplanted pot" look in it. I've got Carex 'Sparkler', Aeonium 'Kiwi', a bromiliad whose name I don't feel like going to look up right now, Begonia 'Escargot' and a gold-foliaged jade plant. I'll just let them duke it out. All around the pot is Asparagus 'Myers' - the same plant that was next to the Heuchera maxima in a previous image. It's interesting how floppy it gets in the shade (such as this photo) yet grows so narrowly upright in sunny spots (other photo). That upright growth would be a drought adaptation that reduces the amount of direct sun the fronds are exposed to. Less direct sun = less transpiration. Smarty plants!

my new pot

Thanks to Pam for hosting Foliage Follow Up!