Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday Morning at Cornerstone

 Thanks to Alice over at Bay Area Tendrils, I was reminded that a visit to Cornerstone Sonoma was overdue. Sunday morning I filled the commuter mug with Peets French Roast, grabbed the camera and set off, pouting at little  the clear blue cloudless sky. Too bad they don't have an early bird special for photo hounds. I promised myself I would go back when the gloomy mornings return.

 Cornerstone is unique, featuring several display gardens by the likes of John Greenlee and Roger Raiche, among others. They are sculpture gardens too, and in fact the gardens are vital to the art, and vice versa. There are shops, restaurants and gallerys on the property ; most folks I saw were clearly tourists, many of whom seemed bemused as they wandered from garden to garden, no doubt wondering where the flowers were.
 I was happy to see a few new installations.I have to believe that keeping a place like this going in the current economic climate must be a challenge. The fabulous Late Show Gardens that took place there 2 years ago was zenith of Cornerstone, and it has yet to be repeated . One only has to remember near demise of the San Francisco Garden Show, a far more 'consumerish' event to understand the difficultly of mingling accessibility with art. The people who don't 'get it' will always outnumber those that do.











 One of the new gardens, sunny and reflective.



This was my favorite ..bundled up wire screening festooned with sparkle-thingys..rain clouds ! It looked pretty cool up close, but there were new discoveries from far off corners of the gardens.




Saturday, October 22, 2011

Filling the Frame

This months' Picture This  photo contest over yonder on Gardening Gone Wild is all about Filling the Frame. I may not have a win, place or show, but I have always felt most satisfied with my images when there is no dead space. This photo was taken last summer at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, and it depicts an Agave that is on the way out layered over others that are still thriving. This is a photo that I like to look at, taken in one of my favorite public gardens.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Going Coastal

 I was out on the coast for just a little more than 24 hours, but managed to fit in the olive bar at Harvest Market, and a visit to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens along with my shopping stop at Digging Dog. Assorted olives, leftover cold BBQ chicken and Pinot Grigio make a nice meal on a road trip, especially when consumed on a little balcony overlooking the pacific. A nice finale for what will likely be the end of my travels for 2011. Unless I get restless.

 Wouldn't it be splendid if every parking lot had plantings like this ? 



Verbena bonariensis  looks fine hanging out with Salvia 'Waverly'



Grasses , Angelica, Salvia ugilinosa and some manner of Coreopsis make a pleasing fall vignette.



Fading Eucomis. Drama with their last gasp.


  I have a crush on the Heather Garden here; it's beautiful in every season-sunny, foggy, raining --doesn't matter. The tufts of Ericas and Callunas meld gracefully like a tapestry of colored muffins. As much as I admire this planting, I have never attempted to grow Heaths in my garden. The further inland the trickier they become, crisping up in the 80 degree heat if situated in full sun, stretching if sited in shade.

 









Saturday, October 15, 2011

October Bloom Day

Here in northern California, the temperatures of October can be some of the nicest of the year, and the slanty fall sunlight creates a pleasant glow in the garden. This same slant also plunges wide swaths of my garden into shadows, and mildew follows without fail. At least the disfiguring disease forces my hand for garden clean up. The dahlia foliage look dreadful, but there are still a few flowers soldiering on,  providing me with something to put in a vase.





 The roses look more respectable now that blackspot is only a memory..this is Fair Bianca, a scrawny bush, but earns it's keep with these flowers .


Phygelius, kept under semi-control by diligent shoot-pulling. 



Love my Chasmanthium.



Quality time will be spent this evening perusing other entries over yonder at  May Dreams Gardens where Carol lets us come and play every month.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dig It

 There are no absence of good reasons to head out to the north coast in October. Less fog, less wind, fewer tourists, maybe even a day or two above 65 degrees. A fall visit for me always wraps around Digging Dog Nursery's annual plant sale. Not just a buying opportunity (though there is that) but the yearly stroll though the fabulous borders decked out in their fall ensembles. This isn't just about autumn leaves. The gardens are allowed to age gracefully, the wonderful grasses and seed heads punctuate the late Salvias, Ancontiums,and Heleniums . The borders here are deep and imposing, with large architectural plants anchoring the design. It's something I can never hope to replicate; I will never have the space. But in accepting that , I've learned that  color palettes can be emulated , textural groupings can be mimicked..all on a smaller scale. Deadheading here in my garden  has become more selective in late summer-are the faded browned out flowers attractive in shape or color ? If so , they stay.

 Everything works here.






The Lobelia tupa is on steroids.




More great views...




 I don't know what this is..forgot to ask ! The flowers are like raspberries, but the plant is tall -burly and airy at the same time.





Fall stuff..the grasses and back-lit action !