Friday, March 25, 2011

SF Garden Show: Tiny Insights

I've got a head-ful of thoughts and impressions of the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, but let's be honest:  the children's miniature gardens were probably my favorite.  That's not to say the professional gardens weren't spectacular, but how can anyone compete with the power of the googley eye?!  Leave it to a bunch of third graders, I guess.

The eyebrows are a particularly nice touch.  I think a few of my clients will soon realize that their plants are watching them in the very near future...

Here's a Frida Kahlo inspired garden.  I love the colors and the inclusion of the shiny little objects to arouse that blackbird syndrome side of me.  The composition is lovely, too;  how the layout leaves mystery and invites exploration.  And is that a flowery ball pit?!  How fun that would be to jump in!

An Alice and Wonderland garden- what an interesting garden idea with a series of large yet narrow panels to navigate through.  Sort of like a maze without an end goal.  It would create a space for contemplation and moments of special little discoveries.

I loved this portion of the children's area, but I must say that right across from these sat the most depressing part of the whole show:  Handfuls of Monarch butterflies fluttering helplessly in enclosures with nothing but hybridized pansies and petunias (which aren't native food sources for this type of butterfly).  I realize that there's only so much we can expect children to learn and absorb, but I'd love to see educational exhibits push past the typical caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly stories.  Hmm, sounds like I'm volunteering myself for something.

I was so delighted to stumble upon the miniature gardens, but many more garden show photos and thoughts await you, dear reader!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ribes: For Those Impatient for Spring

While time ticks by slowly for most garden plants through the remaining months of Winter, California natives have emerged ready for Spring.  Ribes sanguineum, Pink Currant, I'll admit looks rather lackluster at the end of Summer.  Leaves turn rust-colored and sparse.  But come February the garden becomes a fairyland of hanging pink ornaments.  Delicate little earring droplets drip off the edges of branches while hummingbirds rush to visit each one.  Instant enchantment!

Violets and Douglas Iris sit at the Queen's feet, adding splashes of lavender to the scene.  I'll be honest and admit that I can't remember what variety this is.  I'll venture a guess at 'Claremont.' 

This lighter variety grows happily in a large container planted just over the Summer.  I love how lady-like this one is with her pink gloves on for tea!

Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia Flowering Gooseberry, has been going strong since January.  The outgoing, wild sister of sanguineum, this spined, arching shrub shoves out seemingly millions of these racy red drops.  The Summer months find these flowers transformed into fuzzy orange balls, slightly transparent and filled with black seeds.  To call them berries does not do them justice- more like special gifts from space aliens.  I can attest, however that they are sweet and quite tasty, although the seed to fruit ratio is about equal.  The perfect plant for a low-traffic part-sun area of the garden in need of color.  I imagine its brambles could deter roving bands of cats from entering through that hole in the fence you've been meaning to repair.  Or if I've totally lost you there, plant one for hummingbirds who have been known to nest in these.  It's a win-win!