Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Armstrong Garden Centers

Pennisetum setaceum rubrum in a pool side container. Napa Valley project.

OHHH ! The rejection of it all ! ( eyes rolling )
A couple of weeks ago I needed a dozen Pennisetum setaceum rubrum for a project.
The plants had to be of a good size.
All of my northern California wholesale resource growers had this plant growing in their yards but they were small.
So I called my dependable local retail nursery ‘Sloats Garden Center’ and asked them if they had any plants in stock.
Nope, they had not yet ordered any Pennisetums set. rubrum for the spring and said it would be another two weeks before their next delivery.
Then I called a new retail nursery called Armstrong Garden Center that opened up about 2 years ago.
They had exactly what I was looking for. A dozen pennisetums in gallon size containers that were healthy and of a good size for immediate gratification.

When paying for the pennisetums I used my business checks.
The cashier noticed my professional status and she offered me a “ Garden Pro” membership application. She filled out the application while I was waiting for the plants to be brought up from the back and I reviewed and signed it.
The normal type information was requested on the application form such as business license, resale number , tax id, blah blah blah, ... you know, the same forms that us ‘professional landscrapers’ have filling out for the past several decades of business.

Today I received a rejection letter from Desiree Heimann , Marketing Coordinator , Armstrong Garden Centers.
I am not worthy to be considered a ‘Garden Pro’.

Maybe you need 35 years in the horticulture business to be considered a ‘Garden Pro’ by Armstrong Garden Centers.
I may reapply in another 5 years , by that time I will have 35 years under my belt and might qualify.
But maybe not.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Outdoor Design and Living

I was standing in the check-out line at my local nursery ( Sloats ) and picked up a magazine and started flipping through the pages and noticed they printed two projects of mine.
On page 67 is an outdoor entertainment room with a fireplace, bbq, seating and trellis work and on page 81 is a quaint outdoor shower nestled into a pittosporum hedge.

The rest of the photos in this summer time specialty magazine issue are also pretty inspirational.

I especially liked the rustic sunken ‘cost effective kitchen’ featured on page 70 , It shows a sunken terraced cooking arena that looks easy enough to make over a few weekends as long as you have access to lots of rock.
I’m not so crazy about the amount of wood burning pollution that this design expels into the air if used continuously for wood burning *entertainment* but for using it for short moments of cooking I can rationalized its use when used in moderation.
Wood smoke pollution is extremely bad for our environment and the overall impact to our bodies is awful. ( see the American Lung Association and The Air Quality Board websites )

There was also a great piece of mosaic work shown on page 65.
The magazine isn’t crediting all the designers on all the photos so I don’t know who the artist is, but it does look like Jefferey Bales’ work. I greatly admire his craftsmanship and design work.

Cover of the Taunton Outdoor Design and Living magazine. Volume 3 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I was cleaning out my photo storage and ran through this album, The Pina Colada Garden.
This is my garden at my house ( as opposed to one of my clients gardens. )

Thought it would be interesting to post it again.
Much of the garden remains the same but there have been new additions and some deaths and much more growth on many of the palms, bananas, cussonia, and understory plantings.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Nirvana is finding the 'right' Buddha

I have never read Jeff Greenwald book, “ Shopping for Buddhas”, but upon reading an inside cover quote that says to some extent, ‘ that shopping for Buddha's is real suffering’.
I totally agree.

I’ve been shopping for a single buddha for about 6 weeks now. It is for a project .
I’ve called all my many resources and then some , I get in the car, I drive to the stores, I take copious photographs and measurements and then submit the images to my client.

Nothing has struck my clients inner Buddha.

I am now experiencing real suffering.

I’m not going to go on about how I have suggested to this client that they go in search for her own Buddha. Not what they want. Time is a great consideration . I get it.

So I suffer.

I am a beginners mind in Zen Buddhism .
I’m not sure that I like this suffering stuff too much.


link to a minute fraction of images :

Sculpture For S.F. Project.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Going into first summer

We designed and installed a Napa Valley pool project last year (2007).
The job was started in the spring '07 with design, design review, permit submittals , breaking ground and construction .
The project was completed in late August , when the last piece of furniture was delivered and set up.

Attached below is a slide show that documents the process.



Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tis' the garden season

It’s been a long time since I have had time to post on this blog.
It’s garden season and I have been enjoying the the garden.
I hope that you have been too !
Work is keeping me busy and I hope to post some updated projects soon.
In the mean time I have updated my portfolio.

Good plantings to all.