6/28/08

Dry Garden

Dry Garden is by far the grooviest plant nursery that I know of.

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Once a gas station on Shattuck Avenue in North Oakland, now a plant nursery for dry-ish California gardens.

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They have some rather uncommon plants for sale too.

Amorphophallus rivieri in a 4" pot for $6.95. I bought one. Maybe the raccoons will eat it and die. That would be nice.

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Manihot esculenta with complimentary Verbena bonariensis. I bought one of those too although it's probably inadvisable to plant a young tapioca tree with raccoons around.

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No species ID for this potbound 2-g Aristolochia, but it was on sale for $16.95.

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I did not buy it.

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Begonia boliviana, a winter-deciduous perennial for sun or shade.

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I've killed Sisyrinchium 'Quaint and Queer' three times now, so I'm not buying it anymore.

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Solanum quitoense.

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Calibanus hookeri.

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Musschia wollatsonii.

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Until next time...

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6/27/08

Friday morning garden

Just a few pictures that I took before going to work this morning...

I'm suffering a lot of raccoon damage. A new garden tragedy unfolds every morning.
It makes my blood boil and I want to stab the beast with my pitchfork.

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Try not to think about it.

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The garden is pretty in the morning light. We had a few hot, sunny days a week ago. Since then, it's been cold and foggy. The sky let some light in today.

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Both of my manzanita bushes have been put out plentiful growth since May.

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The sunflowers are about to bloom.

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Apparently you can eat the young buds. Have you heard that before? I read it in J├╝rgen Dahl's book, The Curious Gardener.

He writes:
Sunflowers are cut before their flowers are fully open so that the buds, boiled and salted, can be put onto the table. The fleshy flower bases are similar to those of artichokes. Four centuries ago, John Gerard, an English herbalist, declared them to be preferable to artichokes. Instead of boiling the buds until they are done, one can grill them lightly and prepare them with oil, vinegar, and pepper. One has only to remove the green sepals as much as possible because these taste just as resinous as they feel. The small remains that are inevitably left add a whiff of bitterness, very becoming in an appetizer.
I'm intrigued.

I'm sure you know you can eat amaranth too, but I'm not going to.

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Maybe next year the wild grapes will make fruit...I'd like to think so. Until then, I get lots of pleasure from the leaves (which I'm also not planning to eat anytime soon).

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Under the deck these lilies are blooming.

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This is an "oriental", right? You can see I've staked it. I bought a bag of these at my nearby nursery last fall. I'm certain the bag said they would be fragrant. Ha.

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No staking necessary for Cobaea scandens.

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In fact, it's grown to the maximum size that I'm prepared for it to attain. There's nowhere left for it to go except on the house, and that makes Guy nervous so I'm pinching it back all over the place. And that seems to be making it bloom more and more.

6/21/08

P-House, Part 2

III. Color (cont'd)

Think of the dull colors first--the grays and gray-greens, silvers, and even the dark purples. Then add the flower color--like scattered cushions amongst the furniture.

Oakleaf hydrangea works equally well in both hot and cool borders, in all seasons.

Annual hibiscus-family plant with purple foliage?

Dark red foliage (e.g., Berberis thunbergii) makes green foliage look "fuller and lusher".

Ostrich fern under torch azalea = nice.

You want to walk through the color in a garden--not walk next to it..

Don't become obsessive about detail when thinking about color. More important to stay focused on the whole picture not just a few plants.


IV. The Useful Garden (appearances by Anna Pavord and Rosemary Verey)


Many styles have evolved over the centuries; medicinal, food, decoratives, etc.

Think of vegetable plants as foliage plants.

Grow flowers in your vegetable garden, but don't grow vegetables in your flower garden.

Let some lettuces go to seed. They turn in to nice miniature tree-like plants.

Rosemary Verey does not agree that box harbors slugs.

Vegetables need the richest soils; much richer than flower gardens.


V. The Smaller Garden


120 feet by 120 feet! That's not small! People have warped ideas about what small is.

Use large-leaf plants.

Grow annuals in large pots. Large pots are "more sensible" than small pots in the small garden.

Do a few things well rather than a lot of things less well.

Focus on simplicity and repetition of form.

Steven Anderton appears!--He's one of favorite garden writers. House interrupts him and cuts him off and she's driving me crazy.

Use a few materials and make them go a long away.

Focus on variation over variety. Use the same thing different ways instead of using many different things.

We err in the small garden by having too many ideas. [I think that's true, but it's worth it to try out many ideas to see which ones you like, and over time, reduce those ideas to the best ones.]

Feel empowered to make a completely new garden every year.


VI. The Country Garden--"as much a style as a garden location".


Brambles quickly colonize untended hedges in England.

Country gardens should be linked with the landscape, and express its spirit. Use native plants at the perimeter of a country garden. Keep the exotics close to home.

Ireland has more temperate weather than England? Same latitude as Newfoundland, but the Gulf Stream "makes all the difference". Ireland very similar to PNW? Which seems pretty miserable, so England must be awful.

Color theme: blues, mauves, silvers, magentas, pinks; no strong reds or yellows.

Moving from sunlight to shadow and back again, "one of the most important things about gardening".

Plan a garden like a good dinner party; Let complicated plantings give way to simple areas to cool you down between areas of complicated plantings.

A rare, pleasing combination of red + yellow: dahlia + inula.

Link to the golds and browns of the harvest fields with the colors of your country garden. Need yellow, golden, brown flowers in fall.

Verbascum + feverfew = "abundant and flowing".

"Buddleja alternifolia is among the prettiest of butterfly bushes."

Relaxed looks require high maintenance.

Lettuces + sweet peas + opium poppies.

Keep color separate from the outer world in a country garden.


VII. Design Basics

Lots of plants repeated "all the time" gives formal feeling, but also helps to make things appear more natural.

Use pergolas and uprights to create essential areas of shadow when the garden is young.

Don't let everything be revealed too soon.

Fountains and waterfalls can hide and moderate urban noise.

Amazing 25-ft-tall yew pyramids at Athelhampton, in Dorset, planted in the 1890s.

We all make mistakes as gardeners. Document them.

Principles of garden design only provide the foundation for your own personal style. Learn the principles, forget them, and do your own thing. (Like grammar.)


Link to Part 1.
Jonathan Rauch, today in the Wall Street Journal:
"[I]magine your life without marriage. Meaning, not merely your life if you didn't happen to get married. What I am asking you to imagine is life without even the possibility of marriage.

Re-enter your childhood, but imagine your first crush, first kiss, first date and first sexual encounter, all bereft of any hope of marriage as a destination for your feelings. Re-enter your first serious relationship, but think about it knowing that marrying the person is out of the question.

Imagine that in the law's eyes you and your soul mate will never be more than acquaintances. And now add even more strangeness. Imagine coming of age into a whole community, a whole culture, without marriage and the bonds of mutuality and kinship that go with it.

What is this weird world like? It has more sex and less commitment than a world with marriage. It is a world of fragile families living on the shadowy outskirts of the law; a world marked by heightened fear of loneliness or abandonment in crisis or old age; a world in some respects not even civilized, because marriage is the foundation of civilization.

This was the world I grew up in. The AIDS quilt is its monument."

Garden for the Environment

That's the name of another public garden near where I work. This is mostly a teaching garden where you can take classes on all manner of regionally appropriate, environmentally friendly gardening practices.

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That's some of the sidewalk planting outside the garden fence.

Moving inside...

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Rosa 'Phyllis Bide' seems to make flowers of many colors.

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There is an apple orchard on the hill behind the garden.

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And a short wildflower walk.

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Back down in the garden...some final shots.

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In the neighborhood.

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Last visit, here.