Monday, February 28, 2011

A steep hillside vegetable garden terraced in Marin.

About 10 or 15 years ago Fine Gardening Magazine ran an article on developing a vegetable garden on a steep site.

I had just finished such a garden and was happy to send them the plans and some photo’s of the garden which they published.

The steep downward facing slope was terraced into 3 main tiers.
This project was a collaboration between myself and Matthew Farnsworth Landscape Contractor.
We used rough redwood boards to form the raised terraces and also built in a double compost bin, storage for a lawn mower and long handled tools.
We also built in a simple cold frame and a potting bench.
The path that leads to the fenced in vegetable garden is lined with espaliered apple trees and the arbors are planted with Thompson seedless grapes.

Below is the illustration :

From Potager Gardens

1. Double compost bins
2. Lawn mower storage
3. Long handle tool storage
4. Raised vegetable bed
5. Upper raised vegetable bed with built in seat
6. Lower level fruit trees
7. Cold frame - get an early start on veggie seedlings
8. Potting bench with sink and storage
9. Cut flower bed.

A photo of the work bench, raised bed with squash, the cutting garden and the grape covered entry arbor.

From Potager Gardens

This garden is now going into its 16 th year . The property has changed hands but I can still see the garden from the street and it is still pushing out food, flowers and herbs at a steady rate. It’s nice to see that it has been a valued resource over all these years.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Patrick Blanc at The Academy of Science S.F.

Every Thursday evening The Academy of Science in San Francisco opens its doors to adults only for “date night”.
There is music , drinks, special seminars and of course, the fantastic Academy its self in all its stunning glory.
Last night , Feb. 10, The Academy hosted a special seminar featuring horticulturist extrodinaire Patrick Blanc and his new American vertical garden project, the Drew School.
Lots of San Francisco’s ‘hort-i-ratti’ were there mingling amongst the rain forest.
Members of The Hortisexuals ( who were extraordinarily well behaved despite all the alcohol ), a good showing from the local chapter of the APLD, Professors from Harvard and Berkeley , the Editor from our beloved Pacific Horticulture Magazine and passionate gardeners, designers and landscape architects from around the Bay Area were in attendance.

I was fortunate enough to know the local horticultural consultant David Feix , who is working in concert with Roma Architects, The Drew School and Patrick Blanc on this exciting new project.
David, always the generous host and consummate gentleman introduced me to Patrick Blanc head gardener Silvan.

David and Silvan:
From academy

It was a wonderful opportunity to meet , speak and walk around the rain forest with these two most knowledgeable men.

Silvan checking out one of the Academy’s vertical gardens:
From academy

A bromeliad in the rainforest:
From academy

Blue legs, red body frogs:
From academy

In the water tunnel:
From academy

The talk by Mr. Blanc was insightful and his enthusiasm for vertical gardens contagious.
I left the evening inspired to try my hand , yet again, to attempt growing another vertical garden.

A unique designed living wall at the entry to The Moss Room - a restaurant within the Academy ( a great place to grab a bite to eat before the Academy opens its doors at 6 pm :
From academy

From academy