Monday, March 26, 2012

Pondering the Garden Show

 I took exactly 4 photos at the SF garden Show this weekend; all four were out of focus . The photo above was taken in my back garden this morning, mundane but springy. I can't post without a photo of something !

 So what about the garden show ?  With a  couple of exceptions, the display gardens were just ok. John Greenlees' bamboo and grass jungle with Marcia Donahue sculpture touches was pretty cool (I blogged about Marcias' studio garden here), and I liked the Urban Habitat  garden by the Academy of Art University .There was, as is typical every  year, a handful that featured lots of hardscape, blooming azaleas Primroses and florist Kalanchoes and ritzy titzy back yard kitchens and sleeping platforms. In fact I would almost bet money that one of the faux Tuscan villa gardens was a mirror image of an installation from 2011 , flipped to the other side of the hall. I like looking at these, but only in the way I liked the flower show at Hollywood Park Racetrack when I was a little girl, enchanted by the mysterious darkness and fragrances of forced hyacinth and orchids , completely impractical for real gardens in California. In this the shows have improved-many of the gardens now use plants that  are in fact legit and often xeric . I confess I still long for 'the good old days' at the Cow Palace where the gardens were bigger, better lit (though not by much) and often over the top. There are gardens I still remember vivdly from those shows even though I was cameraless- I doubt that in three months I will will recall any but Greenlees this year.

 The seminar line up was heavy with TV dudes , none of whom I had ever heard of  since I rarely indulge in that pastime (with the notable exception of baseball season) and the topics seemed directed at the novice gardener -which I 'll admit may be suitable for bringing more into the fold of the gardening community but doesn't leave much on the table for those of us who are serious but occasionaly inept practitioners. Back again to the glory days , when I enjoyed talks by Dan Hinkley, Rosemery Verey and Penelope Hobhouse amoung others. Unfortunately , the few speakers I would have liked to hear were scheduled on days/times that I was not in attendance.

 The shopping opportunities were a bright spot as always, though I continue to complain about booth size and the ability to get near the more popular vendors like Annies and Succulent Gardens mid-day. This was just as big an issue at the Cow Palace , which though a much larger venue also featured many more vendors .

  I expect Denise over yonder at AGO who was in attendence with the excellent MB Maher will have some real photos to share . Next year I'll take the good camera for I will return . I still love the garden show, even when it hits under the Mendoza Line.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sierra Azul

I drove from Santa Cruz to Watsonville early on a Sunday morning. Watonsville is an artichoke-strawberry-asparagus agriculture belt inland from Monterey Bay; though I was dismayed to see how many housing tracts had popped up between the fields since I last traveled highway 152. My destination was Sierra Azul Nursery, which google had promised would furnish me with a 2 acre display garden. I am happy to report that there is in fact a display garden, and a sculpture garden at that. It looked pretty dandy for a winter garden , and judging from the plant palette I would guess late summer/fall would be pretty spectacular here.

Ooo-la-la , the restios.

Could this possibly be Gumby ???

Wingspan much larger than it looks

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bloom Day March 2012

Photos snapped in haste between storms.

Dicentra..common but a reliable spring indicator. So fact that fleshy action is one of my favorite attributes of spring.

 Ornamental kale..I let it stretch and bloom--is there anything better than purple and yellow ?


Tulips ! Pink Impression, the only one to naturalize here ; it's been in the ground for at least 10 years. soldiers on. And it's blue.

Thanks to Carol and her assistants the Garden Fairies.

Monday, March 12, 2012


 The Euphorbias started blooming when days were short and dreary. In the dead of winter the little droop of the forming flower buds and bracts provides one of the few notes of interest-something to look at on grey days. I lost the fabulous Tasmanian Tiger last year , for reasons that still remain mysterious. Sometimes Euphorbias just up and die . Ascot Rainbow is reliably  short lived, E. cotinifolia bit the dust when the temperatures hit the 20's , Portuguese Velvet struggled and expired in high summer. On the other hand , I continue to dig up E. robbiae long after the mother plant was chucked.

 The basic  E. wulfenii , seedlings that wafted over the fence from a neighboring yard.

Jade Dragon

E. myrsinites


Ascot Rainbow