Sunday, October 23, 2016

Delectable Succulent Containers at Sonoma Mission Gardens Nursery

 I was driving somewhat aimlessly around Sonoma County in search of a fall vineyard  photo opp, and it was pretty clear that the light was bad and I should have gone out an hour or two earlier. We are  expecting  some weather next week, so I have hopes for next weekend . Nevertheless , it can be fun to motor around wine country back roads early Sunday morning before the tourist traffic commences, making note of potential photo spots for another day. By 9am  was within a couple of miles of Sonoma Mission Gardens , a nursery I had not visited in a couple of years- besides I was at the end of a one week vacation and the awful truth was I had not visited a single garden center or bought a single plant . My god, how could  this be ? What was I thinking ? And I had left home without my plant list. Never  under any circumstances leave home without your plant list, for a garden center could be stumbled upon at any moment.

 It had been so long since I'd visited this particular nursery, I had forgotten about the hanging basket and container arrangements  that they create. As you can see, they are a little pricey, but they are all in nice containers and jammed with plants of generous size.   

You even get a few extra containers in the red wagon-these both had sold signs.

 Another wheelbarrow -this time with some character rocks.

 Sonoma Mission Gardens is in the Valley of the Moon , at 851 Craig  Ave on the outskirts of Sonoma. Even though it's the end of October they have nice selection of plants, annuals perennials grasses and  a large assortment of ferns and shade plants  in a well maintained nursery .

Friday, October 21, 2016

12 Photos From PHS Summit

  Last weekend I attended the 2016 Pacific Horticultural Society Summit in neighboring Sonoma County. I've been a PHS member for many years , decades in fact, but have never attended the annual Summit. What was I waiting for ? Granted this years event was close to home , required only 1 hour of car travel and no lodging. The speakers were first rate , and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Every one of them were passionate and knowledgeable  about their topics - I wish I'd taken more notes ! Exploring the PHS website will lead you to content relevant to the theme of the summit 'Changing Times, Changing Gardens' . Climate , drought and the appropriate regional plant palette is something many west coast gardeners are struggling to adjust to while still giving ourselves permission to push the zone envelope and plant what we love .
 Sunday was garden tour day and carpooling with Gerhard of Succulents and More,  3 gardens were visited  before the 4pm close time. Each of the three could clearly merit it's own post but I will instead offer a dozen photos divided between them . I will say that my images do not begin to convey the beauty and uniqueness of these gardens.

 I've longed to see  Roger Raiches'  garden for years , and it's inclusion on this tour tipped the scales for me , how could I not attend ? It might be my only chance. Visit the Planet Horticulture website for a taste of the gardens designed by Roger and partner David McCrory.

 Lots of spikey action, Cordylines ,Yuccas, Palms...

They packed 'em in. Clearly I am not taking advantage of all the space in my small garden.It's always enjoyable to see 'wow' gardens in a footprint similar to that of my own.

The Reid garden was an opposite; a large  property on a hillside where  the drift option is easily deployed. The layers of textures and colors were beautifully orchestrated .

 This photo demonstrates the sort of arrangement that was everywhere n this garden.. I loved how the lavenders pointed in towards the trees and shrubs, all positioned to show off their best attributes.

 Most fabulous Cussonia in Sonoma County. In the back ground a blooming dawn redwood (Metasequoia) not something you see every day.

 A focal point !

 I only have 2 photos to share from the last garden we visited , the garden of Josh Williams, the nursery manager at the venerable Cal Flora Nursery in Fulton. I can say I have never seen so many varieties of Manzanita in one place. This garden bends beautifully with the open space beyond the fence.

 The front garden.

Okay, so I'm going over 12, but had to include this beautiful focal point in Joshs' back garden.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Pacific Horticulture Society Hosts Summit 2016

 Fall is a fine time to visit the Northern California wine country, and what better reason than to attend the weekend long PHS weekend Summit 2016, "Shaping a New Garden in a Challenging Environment". The event will take place on the weekend of October 15th and 16th in and around beautiful Sonoma County , featuring a line up of nationally renowned speakers and tours of important public and private gardens in the area, with an emphasis on the exploration of the connection between gardens and nature.

Image used by permission© Saxon Holt

On Saturday, the Luther Burbank Center for the Performing Arts will be the base of operations where we will hear inspiring presentations by the likes of Thomas Ranier, Bob Hyland and  Michelle Sullivan. Tom Fischer of the venerable Timber Press will lead a discussion among the days speakers, and next up a chartered bus will transport us to Quarryhill Botanical garden in Glen Ellen, home of one of the premier collections worldwide of wild-collected Asian plants.

The pond at Quarryhill.

An evening reception at Shone Farm, an environmental education laboratory at Santa Rosa Junior College, complete with farm and vineyard views will conclude the day.

Sunday mornings' speakers will be Phil Van Solen , co-owner of  Cal Flora Nursery  and Marilee Kuhlmann president of the Urban Water Group.

In the afternoon armed with box lunches and maps we set off on a self guided tour of gardens and ecological sites in Sonoma county, including a private opening of the iconic Western Hills Garden in Occidental.

You can visit the Pacific Horticulture website for more detailed information and to register. And please consider a membership if you are a west coast gardener . The Society offers educational programs and travel of interest to our region , and the quarterly journal which comes with membership is a fully west-coast centric publication .I've been a member since the 80's and still have every issue.

Image used by permission ©Saxon Holt

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Summer at Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden

 The north coast of California can be a gloomy damp and cold place in summertime. It's hard to predict how the weather might be on any given road trip, and since fall is more reliable for seeing the sun I typically travel out that way in October . This year I needed to get the hell out of town and away from the office  for a few days in July and so I rolled the temperature  dice and headed to Mendocino.
 Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden has been a blog subject here and here, both customary fall trips. The differences between seasons are subtle; this coast is frost free but winters are wet and stormy. I appreciate the relativity of the term 'cold' but for this wimpy LA girl Mendo can be cold. I was fortunate with the weather on this trip, days broke 65, the sun came out and the only downside was the fog rolling in about 4pm thus eliminating sunset views from my oceanfront inn.

  Summer flowers grow tall and flopless in this open garden, Heleniums, Lobelia tupa and Verbena bonariensis. Oh to have space to grow this stuff .

 I was taken with this grouping  of Sedum 'Frosty Morn' and a noid Eucomis. Well done wouldn't you say ?

 The Angelica purpurea has been allowed to seed around freely. A grove punctuates this border.It has become a signature plant of this garden over the last few years, along with the above Eucomis which grows in generous drifts in more that one area of the garden.

On the backside, it pairs with Leycesteria ..planned ? Or maybe just allowed. 

Artemisia Guizhou. Mine will never look like this.

Mid-summer abundance. Agastache, Salvia,Verbascum.

This imposing planting of Melianthus 'Antonows Blue' is spectacular on a dewy morning, the juvenile growth glowing with red highlights . I lingered here with my camera for quite some time, finding when I got back home and uploaded my photos that I had taken 23 images of this plant.

 They do color well don't they ? The forgiving seaside climate provides extra moisture and fog filtered light that helps saturate the hues.

 The Dahlia garden is separated from the ocean by a dense belt of cypress that provides a windbreak. My Dahlias this year were an abject failure, a combination of planting too late and too much shade . I enjoyed a wander through a well grown collection.

 An extremely scenic 3 hour drive from my front door to this garden, usually accompanied by an overnight and a stop at Digging Dog on the way home. The perfect weekend getaway.