Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Going to The Show

 Last year I wrote a somewhat snarky post on the occasion of my visit to the  San Francisco Garden Show. My lowly point and shoot was unequal to the task of getting decent images in hort show lighting, and thus I had no photos to  bolster my negative remarks.  I took my 'real' camera this year.

   The 2013 show featured  17 display gardens ,18 if you count the  pointless 'edible garden' display outside the plant market hall.This edible display has been a nicely done feature of the last 3 shows as I recall, and considering the groundswell of  interest in the topic I would have expected  better than a bunch of plants plopped into some bark mulch with no apparent design and a few concrete gee-gaws scattered about. Thumbs down, a lost opportunity to educate the casual or novice gardener in the practice of growing their own food.
  The display gardens in the main hall were noticeably smaller this year... the space between them was nice for strolling and viewing purposes, but ominous for ones confidence in the health of the show.The website touted 20 display gardens and 30 small space gardens ( there were10) . I would speculate that the economy has taken it's toll on these venues and designers need to feel they are getting some sort of return on the investment. One can't blame them , though I hate to see the show taken over by the firms for which plants are an afterthought in the endeavor to sell pricy outdoor kitchens and elaborate hardscapeing .
  Another concern was the mystifying claim on the shows' website that the plant market had doubled in size..I'm very attached to the plant market (and who wouldn't be ?) but since the show moved to the San Mateo Event Center the flow has been poor and it is hard to shop in the cramped spaces. I was looking forward to this alleged vast expansion , so that I might wander among the shopping opportunities without being crushed in a sea of determined plant buyers. I can't imagine what led them to make this statement. The footprint seemed identical to last year , and  it seemed to me there were less  than a handful of new vendors.I'm afraid I can't cite any statistics here..I don't know what the vendor count was last year, nor can I find a record of how many display gardens.
  Lest you think I am a total curmudgeon, scowling at the gardens and mumbling critical invective on the 3 hour drive home through rush hour traffic, I am not. I love the show in spite of it's faults. It has become a rite of spring for me over the last 10 plus years , and I will continue to attend and hope that the downward spiral will reverse itself.

  Robin Stockwells' succulent globe..impressive !


 This garden by Arizona State University was my favorite. Mexico, "Inside Out"

The base of this water feature was made of crushed beer bottles...recycle, repurpose !

The lighting and the painted walls really brought out some Fantasyland colors.

John Greenlee had a nice installation this year, a meadow garden anchored by a layered stone egg.

This garden was designed by the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.. I liked it as an art installation - these balled/burlaped shrubs were in movement swinging gently from their tethers-it was kind of mesmerizing. A good place to go with your sack lunch.

Bee-tube succulents.

This garden was very appealing to me, it was titled "Wonderland" , and though small it was beautifully proportioned with imaginative containers and some great lighting .

The shadows on the wall here are cast by the plants on the other side..I loved this device ,
as passersby were also seen, thus becoming part of the garden .

Gotta have at least one sleeping platform.

 The requisite faux Medit Villa, by the dudes that sell hardscape.

 My WTF garden of the day. Perhaps they had too many cocktails at the design meetings.

I'm sure they meant well. Lots of confusion here .

The usual vendors were there too, lending that 'state-fair' atmosphere..The glass guys.

 The textile guys.

 But I LOVE the Orchid guys..

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Marching into Spring-Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

 I've missed the last couple of bloom days, a combination of office interference and a dearth of reportable flowers. Now that we have sprung ahead, I can actually take photos on weeknights . March offerings are a bit mundane however- I have not done a  good job planting/planning for this season.

 I don't have the cultivar handy on this Erysimum, but  I snatched it up because it was NOT 'Bowles Mauve' which is ubiquitous here. I am also partial to yellow flowers. I can see this becoming a repeated element.

Brunnera 'Jack Frost' is holding court in the shade.

The Pulmonarias are all over the place--I started collecting them in the late 90's before I knew about the mildew issue. Most have been sent to compost-land but I retain the electric blue specimens.

Hellebores are still holding on.

Just about every Euphorbia is in bloom- I didn't photograph all of them..

 Jade Dragon, with Rosemary as a backdrop.

Volunteer E.C. wulfanii  with Corsican Hellebore.

This is possibly 'Tasmanian Tiger' , and in true spring-like manner, it is colonized with green aphids.

Geranium pyrenaicum 'Bill Wallis'. This is one great plant..thank you Annies !


 Thanks to the Fabulous Carol at May Dreams for hosting this monthly bloom-fest.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Near Miss

 God help me, I almost succumbed . Good sense prevailed.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tropical Interlude

 A recent business trip took me over yonder to the Atlantic side . We Californians don't typically need to vacation in Florida when a trip down the interstate or a short plane ride will deposit us in zone 10, with significantly less humidity . Some of us actually live in zone 10-see Denise at AGO for your frost free fix. Every trip I've ever taken to Florida has been work related, and the only place I've ever really desired to visit there as a tourist is the Everglades and the Keys. I have yet to do this.
  Florida is flat , and all the pretty stuff is at the ocean, where I was not. In fact I spent about 4 days schlepping around in an over-refrigerated convention center . I did however have some great fish tacos and decent local beer. I rigged my schedule so I would have at least a half day at leisure to visit a garden..surely there were gardens ? As it happened, The Harry P Leu  Gardens were only 15 miles north of my hotel, so I rented a car for the afternoon and of I went , in search of Floridas botanic side.

 The Leu Gardens are on 50 acres on the north end of Orlando. Mr Leu was the 4th owner of the property, which dates back to the 1800's. Harry  purchased the estate in 1936 ;he and his wife Mary Jane had an interest in horticulture. My sense is that they were not active gardeners, but instead wealthy conservationists who created a garden and subsequently donated it to the city of Orlando. Every city could use a couple like Harry and Mary Jane.

 Sansiveria grove, with a philodendron -cloaked pavilion in the background.

 Tropic-deep south

 These next few photos were taken in the Tropical Stream Garden, nicely done with meandering paths beneath a canopy of palms  and live oaks .

Ceiba speciosa  aka Chorisia , Silk Floss Tree, with Rhapis palm in the background.

Trunk detail..might be a great fit for the Danger Garden don't you think ?

Bloomy Palms

Lots of water in Fla.. garden visitors are teased by the 'gater info signs, but all I could see were turtles. And a stork.

It's the south, gotta have some azaleas and drippy Spanish moss.

 The Colocasias were vast..

Don't know what this lily-esqe plant was -Nerium maybe ? It was very cool , with the big bronzy foliage  and basketball sized flower cluster.

Miss Scarlett, can you come out and play ??

 This garden is also home to 'The largest Camellia collection in Eastern North America'. The 200 varieties include a very rare yellow cultivar which draws excited crowds of Camellia-philes. The Camellias were gone over by the time of my visit--I saw the all too familiar brown blobs in what would have been a pretty damn impressive display 30 days earlier . Obviously this is what I deserved.