Despite the downpour…

It’s that time of year again, the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show opened up Wednesday and runs through this Sunday.  I’m going to ignore Henry’s advise of “If you see a rare plant, grab it and put it in a plastic bag.” trade the large handbag for a camera bag and look forward to being inspired.

Check out what actually goes into the setting up of a garden show.  It’s time lapse so you won’t be exhausted.

The Taj Mahal redux…

This particular chicken coop was shown by Regina Rollin Designs and I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) fabricated by Steel Geisha Designs both of Sonoma, California. It was all pulled together at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.  Per their press materials “This garden strikes a balance between OZ and Auntie Em’s backyard.”   I just know that I’m jonesing a coop bad.  While there are wheels on this one the utilization of steel suggests to me that it’s not so lightweight.  Than again all that steel might keep Momotaro my Akita from having live chew toys.  The reality is that I’m going to build one myself with a bit of help.  For a variety of reasons (a fence that needs repair first, friend’s schedules etc.) the project will not lift off until the second week of June.  I’m still excited about it and having to wait has made me do more reading, a good thing.  I’ve moved away from being drawn to colorful eggs and more towards chickens that are described as enjoying people company.  Things like that. On a note probably only related in my mind I’m also a bit in shock that my sixth grader Henry has only a month of school left.  He’s part of the construction crew.  Had a moment of being truly grateful for public school the other day.  Let me preface the story by saying that I save my cursing for peers and work, not to the best of my ability around the boy.  Henry (his real name) comes home and describes a classroom scenario where a moderately developmentally disabled boy whom we have known since Kindergarten was being teased.  Henry said he turned around and told those kids “Shut the fuck up!”.  His teacher mentioned that perhaps he could skip dropping the “f” bomb and proceeded to give him two Panther Paws, slips of paper that signify doing a good deed.  Have to love not being called in for a conference on that one.  So yes, chickens in June.

Eat me…

I less than subtly hinted yesterday that I was awestruck by Mary Te Selle’s edible borders which were another facet of her garden design (ground level) surrounding her treehouse retreat at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. Amidst a playful selection of succulents there was chard, and that overlapping leaf in the shot is an artichoke frond. It makes sense to elevate edible’s status from that of being consigned to some out of the way spot in the yard not unlike a dust bunny or stray sock  found under the bed. I mean really, it’s not often the case that one even has the space to do that, and the plants are certainly  just as visually interesting.  I yearn to do more of the mix tape of planting in my front yard but have the deer issue to contend with so am currently testing some Japanese eggplant, strawberries and standby herbs like Rosemary which I know will be left unmolested.

My current front yard fave is the Fragaria vesca, “Golden Alexandria”  or for the rest of us an Alpine strawberry with couture pleated chartreuse foliage.  I would treasure these anyway but in combination with lighting up a semi shady area under an Oak, I’m a convert.  I found these specimens at Annie’s Annuals, one of my favorite plant nurseries.  There’s a link, check them out…

Ten years old, only better…

Mary Te Selle’s inspired garden design was perhaps my favorite at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. She’s the landscape architect behind http://www.quitecontrarygardening.com/ This design was equally  playful and practical. In some reading I’ve done recently on the nature of happiness it was suggested to look at what one was interested in at around age ten for the source of some of our passions. I’ve been exploring the concept with a hearty helping of skepticism but found the ten year old theory potentially plausible when I saw this fantastic retreat of a treehouse.  Total projection on my part, perhaps Mary Te Selle hated dirt as a child.  I could easily visualize hanging out overhead on a warm summer day enjoying a crisp glass of Rose and perhaps tossing the pits from the Castelvetrano olives that were being snacked on at unsuspecting passers -by.   The imaginative nature of ten with the perks of being way beyond.

The second aspect of her garden design that I fell for were the edible borders, but more on that later…

Succulents without borders…

Warning, trend alert ahead… Vertical gardening or le mur vegetal has been around for some time but is now surfacing everywhere.  From Better Homes and Gardens articles, online how to extravaganzas to the cover of the CB2 catalog that appeared yesterday in my mailbox.  And yes, the initial focal point exhibit at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show was a vertical garden.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the ordinary and unusual succulent in addition to the concept of utilizing available space.

You might want to check out Patrick Blanc’s website for the visuals.  This botanist and landscape architect has vertical garden installations across the globe. http://www.verticalgardenpatrickblanc.com/

Expectations are like playing with fireworks blindfolded…


I’m tired and distracted but not enough to exclude the thought that while I intellectually understand the concept of mulch I just don’t find it esthetically pleasing. I don’t mind the cocoa hull stuff but my understanding is that it’s poisonous to pets which rules out our household for application. For the two years that my home was leased ( a complicated and in the end not that interesting saga) someone went bark happy.  I have to excavate just to reach some dirt.  I think it all goes back to elementary school and trying to impress Jeff (we will say that’s his name) with a cherry drop off the monkey bars.  I landed solidly on my hands and knees a small cloud of red bark dust wafting up.  This was the same varietal of bark that is strewn throughout the yard.

While perhaps more decorative than functional I was excited to see this creative recycling of corks (because we are all green and sustainable these days and one can never go wrong with another reason to open a bottle of wine) at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. The long line for ticket holders while shorter lines for those of us who did not plan in advance had a few gardeners, generally of the female persuasion and more middle-aged than myself going ballistic. Overall I was not extraordinarily moved by the show but there were a couple of elements that I found exciting.  My cork mulch may look something more like opening the kitchen, or hell front door and tossing one out.  Than again I might surprise myself and pull out some decorative moss.

Dress code…

In the morning I am heading South, minus the formal wear because I just don’t think that’s happening despite being well caffeinated to land at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.  Like the vintage clip the name is a bit of a misnomer, falls a tad under the heading ‘ false advertising’ as the show this year is in San Mateo.  My favorite years were when it was petite enough to be held at Fort Mason.  Now there’s a venue where there is still some natural daylight and one does not lose track of time as in a clockless casino.  Inspiration, education, as many plants as I can carry while balancing a camera at the same time?  All of the former and more…