Thursday, December 25, 2008

Who is Robin William's florist ?

Every Christmas I eagerly wait to see what kind of creativity will grace the front entry gates of Robin William's home.

I’m not one of those wide eyed movie star fans ( I don’t even own a television ) , but I am a huge fan of fabulous horticultural craftsmanship.

Each Christmas season I have to drive past the William's home to reach my partners parents home and each season I look forward to viewing jaw dropping floral craftsmanship by ways of the wreath that is perfectly placed on their front entry gate .

This year the wreath was not placed on the gate but on the curved stucco wall adjacent to the gate.
It is big - I’d estimate it to be about 6 feet in diameter.
And as always , it is unique.

This year it is crafted from red twig dogwood ( Cornus species ) , Aloe cuttings and a white berry twig branches.

In the past I have seen 5 to 6 foot diameter wreaths make of proteas, banksias, twisted madrone branches and exotic dried tropical fruits , nuts and foliage.

This year is no exception. Another great example of fine floral craftsmanship.

Merry Christmas to the William's family, and thank you for this yearly eye candy treat.

From december garden

Monday, December 22, 2008

Planterly Combinations

Planterly Combos - A few images to lift our winter time deciduous spirits :

The Guardsman Phormium
Canna Pretoria
Ensete mauralii
Tree Dahlia
From Pina Colada

Tiger Grass Thamnochortus or something like that .
Pygmy palm
From Pina Colada

A closer shot of the same bed
That great looking canna with burgandy foliage and delicate peach colored blooms
Heliconia scheideanna ( sp ? )
Carex sparkler
Agave attenuatta
From Pina Colada

Ensete and a Tillandsia .. with a plectranthus sneeking in
From Pina Colada

A few succulents and a Leucadendron
From Pina Colada

Phormium yellow wave
Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi
Heucheralla and Helichrysum petiolare

From California Gardening

Commonly found Home Depot style planting - drought tolerant though.
Iris and Erigeron ( flea bane )
Cistus and Lavender
Penstemon and Felicia
From California Gardening

Salvia Pt. Sal and leucantha
Phormium and Draceana
From California Gardening

Super Simple
Verbena Homestead purple
Ballota and Santolina
and Apple tree and some roses
From In praise of Stone

A heather garden , Pacific Coast style ( Gualala )
From California Gardening

Hillside Ornamental Grasses and perennials ... with a few fruit trees thrown in.
From California Gardening

A pot or two
Pennesetum sectaceum rubra
lysmachia and glenchoma and a sedum
From Pool and Garden Project - The Napa Valley

Taken on a cold foggy winter afternoon in Marin County
Kniphofia “chistmas cheer’
Salvia leucantha
Variagated sterile pampas grass. Olives, Cistus Plumbago
Drought and Deer tolerant hillside planting
From portfolioMay08.jpg

well that’s about enough for now.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sculptural Stone Work in the SF Bot Garden

The Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park is not only a spectacular place to view exotic foliage from all over the world but it is also a place to view stunning stone work.

The stonework depicted below was sculpted by Edwin Hamilton.
He fashioned together cast off stone pieces from days gone by.

From SF Japanese Garden

I particularly like the living columns that are just beginning to be planted with perennials, succulents and epiphytes.

From SF Japanese Garden

From SF Japanese Garden

For more photos of the Strybing Arboretum , please visit this native San Franciscan blog:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

December Garden Photos - Marin

December ‘ 08 Garden Images

It’s been dry and chilly here in Northern California.
They say we may see some rain this weekend, which will make us gardeners very happy indeed.

Cotyledon and Senecio
From december garden

Iochroma is still blooming strong
From december garden

Aloe plicatilis
From december garden

Alocasia and a Balinese light temple
From december garden

Agave parryi
From december garden

Sunday, December 7, 2008

San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden

I had the opportunity to wander through the S.F. Japanese Garden located in Golden Gate Park yesterday.
It was late in the day as well as chilly, grey and overcast, but I had a delightful stroll through the garden.

One of the front facade gates on Tea Garden Drive
From SF Japanese Garden

A detail of the roof eave
From SF Japanese Garden

A large Buddha in the garden with the setting sun illuminating the foliage of a Ginko tree beyond

From SF Japanese Garden

View over th pond
From SF Japanese Garden

The red pagoda
From SF Japanese Garden

A Japanese Maple twisting in the landscape
From SF Japanese Garden

From SF Japanese Garden

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Outdoor Kid Space Play Yard

Kids Play spaces.

We have designed and installed many outdoor play spaces and gardens for children over the years but the garden depicted below is still my all time favorite.

It is my favorite because of the incredible obstacles that were overcome in getting this space off the ground and permitted.
It is also one of my favorites because it is used so much and is appreciated by the family who lives and plays in it.

A little history : The house is located on a very steep down hill slope. The main living quarters ( kitchen, family room, play room, dining room ) are located on the top floor. Prior to the landscape architectural renovation there was no connection from the top floor down to the outdoor space. If you wanted to the outside back yard, you had to bring people down through the house and exit through the master bedroom. Not ideal egress.

The mission of the landscape renovation was threefold ;
* to create easy access from the upstairs living quarters to the downstairs space
* to expand the outdoor space to include more flat usable space for entertaining
* to create a play yard, despite the steep hillside slope.

We connected the upstairs to the downstairs by creating an outdoor landing , stairway and a deck that cantilevers over the steepest part of the property.
On the deck we installed a small food prep counter, sink, gas line hook up for a mobile clean burning bbq, hot tub, and storage area.

Through a series of retaining walls, one which was already existing on site and was not demolished in the installation of the master plan, We built in a terraced play structure including a playhouse, swing set, slide, rock climbing wall, and sand box .

A shrub, flower, and herb garden was installed along with a few vegetable pocket gardens.

From Kids Play Space

From Kids Play Space

Photo by Lee Anne White
From Kids Play Space

From Kids Play Space

From Kids Play Space

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wood smoke is toxic.

What do these three images have in common ?

Toxic wood smoke contributes to lung cancer, asthma, other lung diseases and premature death.

I saw this photo and an accompanying story on the blog site : Gardening Gone Wild.
The author Steve Silk was happily reminiscing about how much enjoyment his family gets from burning a big bon fire each Thanksgiving.

Most people would not give Thanks for such environmental disregard.

Photo by Steve Silk
From ranch house

From ranch house

From ranch house

Smoke from wood burning fires contains hundreds of toxic compounds and carcingens.

*here is a devastating lack of awareness that wood smoke is a killer and that urban and rural wood smoke exposure is growing every year as population increases. There is deep denial about wood burning and what it actually costs us in loss of life, loss of quality of life and permanent loss of health. The United States has a population of almost 285 million people. Research indicates that again this year 30,000 Americans will die suddenly from wood smoke exposure alone. Since Burning Issues was founded in 1987, 420,000 premature deaths have occurred and yet the problem of particulate pollution from wood burning has continued to be ignored. We are segregated on the basis of health, education, and habits. Concerned citizens and victims are treated with contempt and condescension by all levels of government, special interest health charities, lobby groups and their neighbors who are filling their houses and neighborhoods with smoke.

* Excerpt from Wood Smoke Particles in the 21 st Centurry by Mary Rosenburg