Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bamboo in Marin County CA

Bamboo often gets a bad rap.
With over 1200 species there is bound to be a few rotten apples in the barrel that gives this group of plants a bad name.

I have a dozen different types of bamboo growing in my temperate zone 9 ( sunset zone 15 ish - 16 ) garden in Marin County CA.

Some are planted directly in the ground like this photo of Bambusa oldhami - Giant Timber bamboo

Some of my bamboo is planted in pots that have had their bottoms removed so that the pot is actually a ‘raised contained bed’.
Otatea acuminata aztecorum - Mexican Weeping bamboo

And still other bamboo's that have an aggressive growing manner have been securely planted in containers like this subtropical Indocalamus tessellatus

and this Hibanobusa tranquillans ‘Shiroshima’

My favorite bamboo ( at this present moment ) is Bambusa vulgaris Vittata.
I love it for its fairly thick bright yellow culms that have a green stripe running irregularly up the stalk. ( not shown in this photo )

I also like the hedge of Bambusa multiplex Alphonse Karr that grows on the east side of my property. It is doing a good job of screening out my neighbors butt ugly scraggly yard.

These are a few other bamboo species that I grow but did not have a chance to photo,
Sinobambusa tootsik variegata, Himalayacalamus hookerianus ( blue bamboo ) and an unnamed tropical bamboo similar in appearance to Indocalamus tessellatus but it is much mor frost tender and the leaf is a tad bit narrower.

A Doctorate degree with no silly accredited standards required

Sign me up for that doctorate degree. For that matter, throw in that masters degree too.

I wanted to learn more about the mechanics of sustainable ecology so I signed up for an open house tour at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas CA.

After enduring 1 hour and 45 minutes of the tour I left .
I could not take the shear ennui and lack of productive learning time.
I guess I am too much of a serious student or perhaps I just like real tangible usable information provided in an articulate concise delivery.

I also appreciate non spin bullshit.
I got spin. .. WAY too much spin and stories about Gramma and Granpap and how we all need heal our childhood wounds.
It was the granola babbling that did me in for the first one hour standing in front of the chicken coup.
During that time, which I had hoped would cover some form of pedagogics I heard how one could earn a Master degree or a Doctorate degree though their affiliate Gaia University, who just by chance was offering a class at that very moment.

No silly undergraduate degree required, just hands on work in ‘self and planetary transformation’.

Take that Harvard and U.C Berkeley and stuff your 9 years and that $ 280 thousand dollars up your regenerative butt.
I can now buy a Doctorate and or a Masters for just a few thousand bucks and I don’t even have to show up for class or write that dissertation.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Air Quality - Unhealthful for Sensitive Groups

Air Quality - Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.

The above heading is an understatement issued by the Bay Area
Air Quality Board.

Its down right deathly out there !

The air is so thick with pungent thick grey smoke that it has radically affected the lives and working schedules of many folks.

I’m sending out positive thoughts to all who are in the front lines of the fires. Your efforts are greatly appreciated !

Below are two photos taken outdoors in the last few days.
You can see the smoke in the air.

below: view from Belvedere Island - the usual crystal clear view is marred by a smokey haze

below - the smoke fills the air in a San Rafael back yard garden -

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bloom Day - June 15, 2008

My garden is not one that was designed or planted for its floral display.
It was planted for foliage. Big beautiful subtropical looking foliage. Flowers are a bonus.

For this June 2008 Bloom Day, there are a few things blooming that I will share.

I’ll start with the ‘ hell strip ‘ which is the border that adjoins the street.
It is planted with Alstromeria, ornamental grasses, Ballota, some horrid Austin Roses, Phygelia, Euphorbia, Succulents and more

The front hell strip :

The most impressive ‘ in your face’ plant that is blooming is the bougainvillaea that engulfs the front entry.
It will bloom for the entire summer and fall.

A close up of the bract :

Just below the bougainvillaea is a garden bed with succulents and south African plants.
This is one of the aeoniums blooming

Once inside the front entry gate there is a small green patch of oxalis bermuda grass that pretends to be a lawn.
It is bordered by a foliage border :

Across from the giant bougainvillea is an Iochrma tree that frames the front entry.
It will grow to about 12 to 16 feet by the end of the summer.
At this point in the season it is loaded with blooms and is up to the rain gutters.

Here is a detail shot of the bloom :

There are a few potted plants in the front garden :
Fushia and a odd shade loving variegated canna

I have been on a bromeliad kick for the past year of two.
I have them planted directly in the gound , wired to the trunks of the palm trees and in pots throughout the garden.

Along the back path is a mix of big bold foliage , succulents, some sculpture and a few flowers :

This last photo below shows a recent drop off of plants from Monterey Nursery.
I have a planting project coming up and the job site is too steep for the big wholesale nursery trucks to drop off their plant load so I am storing plants at my house and will truck them to the job site with my small pick up truck.
In this photo there is a nice Agonis tree, Leucospermum Jester, Agave atteuattas, Adenanthos, Phormiums, Yucca, Oscularia and ornamental grasses.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Modernist Remodel

Simple geometric layout that speaks to the 1960's architecture.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The unsung heroes

The unsung heroes.

Recently I have commented that the best laid landscape designs and installation projects have been in collaboration with amazing property owners who have had open minds.

An amazing property owner or client is one that shares your enthusiasm for quality craftsmanship, originality of design, and respect for the land.

Those are just a few of the admirable qualities that landscape designers appreciate and treasure when collaborating with their employers.

As I look back upon our most rewarding projects, it always come down to the people that we worked with.

I / we have been extremely fortunate to have met some of the nicest people on this earth to work with.

I thank them very much for their trust, their open mindedness and their contribution to making this earth a nicer place to be.

The couple who we collaborated with on this project opened their home to us during their installation.

Another couple who opened up their home to us while we were building their landscape.

Talk about graciousness. Bottled chilled water, continuous props, total understanding when sub-contracting schedules got crazy.
The ultimate class act.

Again, another wonderful ongoing working relationship.
These owners know what it is like to work with those who care about their craftsmanship, having worked with Thomas Church and Bob Royston on some of their past properties.

These are just a few out of many people who I have had the shear pleasure and opportunity to collaborate with.

Thanks for ‘your’ inspiration.