This garden was planted in March of 2016. It is barely 2 years 5 months old. Second photo was taken on February 9, 2016. The growth has been phenomenal. Some of the new blossoms this month include Agapanthus, Aster x 2, Gladiolus and ...
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Skyscraper' (Aster) just starting its fall blush with Drumstick Alliums and Centaurea gymnocarpa 'Velvet Centaurea'.
This garden has three different faces or attitudes and all packed into a small 10 x 20 foot space. The five round Pittosporum 'Golf Ball' really hold the mess together and help differentiate the three views.
Oh how I've been longing to get out of San Francisco and feel some real summer heat. Yuba River. Emerald water, white granite and some trees. Not too hot, 86. Smokey drive up to Grass Valley. The Central Valley was dense smog. It's what LA was in the 1970's.
July is the start of our second winter when this massive blanket of fog engulfs The City. From now through August and sometimes mid-way through September, we surrender to depression and extra coffee. Soup is good too. I use some of this time to travel. The photo below is from my roof deck looking toward Castro showing just the top of Sutro Tower on Twins Peaks. In foreground is the spire for The Mission Delores.
I love all plants but succulents in general don't make it into my gardens. Succulents have a many great fans and I do appreciate their easy, low maintenance qualities. Design wise, most plantings look like someone up-chucked a kaleidoscope. Most people fail by choosing too many varieties of color, texture and stature. I came accross this street side planting and instantly appreciated the simple, refined palette choice. Like most planting schemes, limited number of plant but repeated is the way to go.
What makes this planting successful is just three plants repeated. Aeonium, Cotyledon orbiculata and Senecio.
This lovely aromatic Plectranthus is an easy, non-stop flowering perennial here in San Francisco. It is not at all cold tolerate and will turn to black mush anywhere near 32 degrees F. Most places it must be considered an annual. What makes this plant so spectacular here is it's ability to root anywhere, any time of the year. I toss my clippings where ever I want it to root and establish and it does! I got mine at Plectranthus neochilus at Annie's Annuals.
On my way home, I pull up behind the Melbourne Car #496 going home from a day of work on the new E-line. The E-line connects Fisherman's Wharf with Caltrain running the entire way along the Embarcardo. Next to gardens, trains are a dear passion of mine.
An unseasonably blue sky today in San Francisco. This neighborhood has uniquely small lots, small cottages, small gardens and some steep streets. Click on MUG Bernal Gardens to see my work. I currently have one garden in Bernal Heights but have worked over 9 sites on all sides of the hill.
Up next in my plant profile is Datura wrightii. I got mine at Annie's Annuals. My friend Frank calls it a ditch plant and I'm sure he is right. It thrives in disturb, impoverished soil. I let a few of the seed heads ripen and toss them about my garden They will come up where others won't, usually dry, crappy areas. The leaves are beautiful and is the main attraction for me. The blooms only last a day or two but are beautiful too.
Here's the seed packets I'm sowing for the fall 2018. These Ageratum I found at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds look gorgeous. I know they never look exactly like the photo on the seed packet or catalog but I have hopes for this one. I like the electric blue. Or how about a pink dandelion-like annual?
It's been three years since I helped update the planting schemes in this Mendocino Coast house. It is right on the coast, no less than 50 feet from the Pacific Ocean. The wind can be fierce. This part of the garden is the hot border. Yellows, Oranges and Reds with a bit of cool purples.
I'm enjoying putting together the elements that make a beautiful garden in San Francisco. This is the first in a series of plant profiles of those plants that do so well for us in San Francisco. This is a good plant to start with as it may be endemic to San Francisco and maybe the greater SF Bay Area.
I'm talking about the delicate aster-like blooms of white-pink-blue. I've only seen them in San Francisco gardens but never for sale in the local nurseries. According to Pam Pierce, this Pericallis (Cineraria) has naturalized in the garden from the cultivars of several parent species from the Canary Islands. Check out Pam's informative article on Cineraria.
Anyway it is beautiful. Oh and it likes shade, either dry or wet, deep or partial.
Today was great. I'm finishing up a short but packed work week in order to get out of town for a 4-day holiday in Mendocino. My friend Frank is turning 50. Ha! We're gonna have a party. Last garden of the day before my holiday starts and it was looking stunning. This garden is a theater stage floorplan with the main bed being a gold,silver and bronze English border. The Irises we're the character today.
I made a good choice with Schneiner's Iris 'Tiger Honey'.
It's a small bed, maybe 10'x20', but it produces. I think silver won this year. Congrats to Cardoon 'Pleno Inerme' for both stature and height. Supporting actor is Carex tumulicola. It is blooming is in perfect powder-puff arches. Others blooming or just looking great are: Daucus carota 'Black Knight', Allium schubertii, Calla Lily, and Taxus x media 'Hicksii'.
Finally to my terrace garden in Glen Park. This is my masterpiece. Double wide lot on a south face slope. The brunt of the Pacific is buffered by the cliffs of Glen Canyon. An exceptional microclimate; it is the soil that is a challenge. It has been at least two, maybe three years since I last showed this garden to a group and the changes are dramatic. The changes include huge addition of white flowers, new roses, irise, alliums, poppies, ranunculus, scabiosa, Sidalcea hendersonii (Henderson's Checkermallow). Pinks and purples are good too but no hot colors. This spring I began a project to extend the formal white garden 5 fold up into what was the mediterranean terrace and will become the white cottage garden.
Funny thing when I host a garden, I am too busy talking about the plants I forget to take photos. I got four this year. But of course, I have more photos of this garden then of my cats. Resident cat 'Diesel' loves to photo bomb.
Here's this years group of gardeners. Left to right, Sam, Orchid, Frank, Jeannine, Mike, Emil, Dean and Lane (Oh, I hope I got that right) Sam gave me a great compliment. He says, "Looks so natural". I says "There's nothing natural about it.". Sam looks me in the eye and says, "I know".
Jeannine's Potrero Hill Garden is a spacious double lot with lots of large interesting tree in the neighboring garden looking up the hill. An exquisite Dymondia margaretae lawn with blue flagstone path. The building of the raised beds is the owner's project. It will be a diamond space parterre with five wood raised beds instead of boxwood hedge. I love the red clover.
Next up in our local gardener's garden tour is Dean Ouellette's California Cottage Garden. There's two parts to Dean's garden. The strip of garden on the sidewalk next to where the cars park. It's notoriously difficult spot to garden and that's why I call it the hell strip. Behind the main building, a courtyard is created between the main residence and Dean's cottage. In this courtyard is his California Cottage Garden test ground and nursery.
This year Dino added the flagstone curb around the street tree basin. I love what he did. He sunk the flagstone vertical 5-6 inches into the soil at the edge of the sidewalk concrete. This does a wonderful job of keeping dogs out and trash and litter from accumulating.
After a decent rainy season, our Spring has been delightful. Somewhat regularly spaced winter storms gave us a small but decent amount of water. I'm not so sure about the snow pack. It's been a couple of years since our last garden tour in San Francisco. There's new things to see but more important it's a forum for ideas. These are professionally maintained gardens by us. We're the gardeners. It our tour.
Up first in Pacific Heights is Frank Eddy's garden. This is the 2nd season for the garden under his care and guidance. Blooming among the roses are linaria, pansies & digitalis, Lychnis coronaria and Aquilegia vulgaris hybrid.
The front entry garden is mostly white. With Iceburg roses stealing the show. Wow! In abundance. Underneath you'll see the poplar Omphalodes linifolia 'Venus's Navelwort' lighting up the base of the roses. It has such a delicate glauca rosette of leaves. And is reseeds nicely.
Twenty-five plants in blossom in my 12' x 7' raised bed.
So our seasons or climate are not like everyone else's. Forget your New England Lilac. English Tulips. No. We have distinctive growing seasons. Mainly growth, slumber, muted growth and finally rest. Those translate to spring summer, fall and winter of most of the rest of North American and Europe.
In San Francisco, you may see Dahlias blooming in the ground in February. Or Asters in May. Most perennials shrubs I work with will bloom twice every year. We have SPRING, dry, spring, water.
I planted this garden in 2013. I was going for a cottage garden that would be equitable to the architecture. I've been back regularly 2 or 3 times a year. Today I sheared the pittosporums globes, weeded and added a few new recruits. We'll see who survives.
We are currently reaping the wonderful bounty from our community garden plot. This bouquet includes the unusual April Dahlia, Ranunuculus asiaticus 'White', white velarian and parsley.
I like to pack it in. I don't want to see the soil. I've combined the French intensive technique with my passive aggressive algorithm of editing annual seeds and perennial plants. It's a tournament of the flowers; May the best plant win. But of course I stick my nose into the process, limiting those that are too vigorous and making sure there's an even succession of flowers. It's all about the process. I'm in control for a couple hours every Sunday. Then Nature has her way for a week.
Oh My. That little white flowers in the back is my fleur du saison, Omphalodes linifolia 'Venus's Navelwort'. I got these from Annies in the east bay city of Richmond. Way do I love it? it reseeds. not too aggressive but plentiful. The sprout are easily identified and become cute rosettes of bluish leaves that bolt to create an effervescent of dainty white dots. So cute.