CornerStone Gardens

We drove up to Sonoma today and stopped at CornerStone Gardens--several acres of exhibition space for landscape designers with some fancy shops and galleries. Perhaps most notably, John Greenlee has a meadow installation here, which will get its own post (here). In the meantime, here are some of the other things I liked, and didn't like. If you've seen posts about CornerStone on other garden blogs, you've probably seen most of these pictures before.

But I did not bother with the big blue chair.




I assume these are Marcia Donahue pieces.


She bakes pieces of clay put them sticks to simulate groovy bamboo. It's fine, I like it.


Dramatic, spherical stones? Check.


This seems like a good time to buzz through the shopping area.


I disdain the design impulse to take something functional and make it merely decorative, unless the thing itself has no practical function left in it and is being decoratively re-purposed. What actual birds would ever nest in these? The holes are too large, for one thing.

I disdain the design impulse to take something functional and make it merely decorative.

This, on the other hand, is perfectly decorative, and it would be great in the garden if it still functioned as a light source too.


I am sorry I didn't ask about these large stone penises.

I regret not asking about these giant stone penises

Meditative faces in sculptural repose: fancy garden gnomes of our time?


I can't help wonder.


If there was only one thing I would actually buy in a place like this, it would be a wire sphere.



And maybe a crate or two of blue glass chunks.


Chunks of blue glass enchantingly line the paths at Lotusland.


Back in the garden, there was not much conventional gardening. I could let this one picture represent its extent.


Except that I have to mention this sprawling bed of blue-blooming Salvia uliginosa which positively BUZZED with pollinators. I think the secret to heavy bloom must be regular heat, something I cannot provide in San Francisco.

Salvia uliginosa

I also have to mention this South African bed, remarkable for its dusty late season color palette. Too dusty for you?


Green it up with some rosemary.


I like composting walls.


These were filled with eucalyptus debris and exuded the smell of that. There's always a few weeks of the year when eucalyptus trees themselves smell like cat pee, but most of the time I enjoy their fragrance. It's a tree many of us have a difficult relationship with. My grandparents had several on their property so I have a positive association with them in that regard.


But as far as garden screens and fencing go, I think composting walls are totally groovy and I imagine they're far more economical over time than a wooden fence. I'm not sure you would call one this thin a composting wall, but maybe you do, I don't know. I've seen thicker versions in gardens along the coast filled with redwood tree litter.


I particularly liked this turf and turf-alternative demonstration area.


You can walk on the long strips barefoot to see what you like.


I know zero about turf, but there seemed to be many different varieties. Some curatorial notes would have been nice. I noticed right away the skipper butterflies and bees lingering over only the weediest-looking strip of oxalis and clover...


There was a lot of gimmicky, wackadoo sculpture stuff that I didn't care for.


I guess you could write that you love people and want world peace on these shiny strips.


I'm not entirely unsentimental. I liked this metal heart fencing in the juncus.


But I would not allow it in my garden, personally.


(That white vapor floating in the back came from a misting apparatus.)

I found the food areas most interesting, especially all the grape growing models. This being wine country, that was no surprise.


You can have quite a productive vine staked on a metal trellis 2-3 feet wide and less than 1 food deep. And grow strawberries underneath it.


Also lots of tomatoes, corn and basil.


Totally at the end of the tomato season. It's funny how they get smaller and smaller as summer grinds into fall.


I got rid of all my squash a few weeks ago. Moldy leaves.


The corn beds looked full and fabulous and provoked those familiar pangs of garden envy.




Sunflowers and corn, a tall grass, formed a fine border between the food garden and John Greenlee's meadow garden.



Anonymous said...

I had never heard of composting walls before. Fascinating idea!

The few lingering remains of my pumpkin vines got moldy recently too. I'm just leaving them alone though, to finish dying at their own pace.

weeder1 said...

Maybe a screech owl would use one of those birdhouses.
Thanks for the tour. I always love your tours.

Christopher C. NC said...

You have your own unique eye, so no I have not seen these pictures before. The giant culvert is interesting. Maybe I could do that as a slide in my garden.

Denise said...

Wackadoo is my new favorite word. I also like accompanying you on tours, wherever. And I had no idea Greenlee had such strong feelings about Western Hills -- thanks for that link.

Brent said...

That last photo with the sunflowers / festuca? / taller grass is quite nice!

Kelly/Floradora said...

That's so funny, I went out to Cornerstone on Sunday. Too bad we missed each other. That would have been funny to run into you. I totally loved the Herbs/Meat sign and the wire spheres too!