Monday, April 7, 2008

Recent installation March 2008

This is a recent installation for clients of mine. The bottom three photos were taken prior to the installation.

We discussed a mediterranean look that was not so formal. The owners did not like the height of the flowering maple nor did they care for the border of variegated mondo grass.
I kept the japanese maple, the roses and some of the boxwood. I hard pruned the roses to reduce their height.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Plant Pick for March: Aeonium arvoreum "Schwartzkopf'

I have been grooving on aeoniums since the early 90's and have really fallen for this "black" pigmented form.

This species originated in the Canary Islands which has comparable micro climates to San Francisco.

The deepest darkest colors of A. 'Schwartzkopf' are achieved with full sunlight; shade this plant and it will become green tinged.In winter the centers of the rosettes lose their black pigment turning green, they darken again in spring.

After two years some of my plantings are 4ft tall and finally blooming. The yellow flower spike on the black foliage is really beautiful.

Great for height and structure in a succulent garden.

Plant Pick for March: Salvia gesneraflora 'Tequila'

This salvia is my favorite red flowering variety.

S. gesneraflora originates from Mexico, and creates an exotic tropical look in my garden when in bloom.

It blooms from mid to late winter into summer in San Francisco when most shrubs are dormant. Hummingbirds are very attracted to its large red flowers.

S. gesneraflora forms a solid trunk within two years and grows like a weed requiring a fair amount of pruning to keep it from smothering its neighbors.

I have it planted amongst other shrubs and small trees where it remains in the back ground until it blooms, taking the center stage.

Plant Pick for March: Primula hybrid 'Gold Lace'

I first saw this hybrid about two years ago and had to add it to my garden immediately!

Primula 'Gold Lace' became popular with English florists in the mid 1700's. It later fell out of favor and was becoming extremely rare until its recent resurgence in popularity.

The flowers of this primula seem to jump out from the shaded under-story to catch your eye without dominating the space. The color of the flower is a satiny deep red almost black out-lined in vivid gold surrounding a golden center.

I like to place this little gem in small groupings in shaded areas near enough to a path to draw the eye.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Plant Pick for March: Oxalis spiralis 'aurea'

Each month I am going to feature some of my favorite plants.

Oxalis spiralis 'aurea'.

This clumping oxalis varies in color from chartreuse to pinkish orange depending on light exposure and amounts of water. O. spiralis is found in mountainous forests from Central America south throughout the Andes mountain range. This species has adapted to different conditions and shows a high degree of physical variability in the wild.

They absolutely thrive in San Francisco's moist cool weather! I like to mix them in with grasses, sedges and mosses.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Centerpiece gardens

I recently celebrated my daughters 5th birthday! Our wonderful neighbor catered the party so I was able to focus on the decorations. I wanted to create some beautiful gardens in miniature. By combining flowers for my daughter mixed in with more unusual plants like black mondo grass, and oxalis spiralis aurea I created some very nice pieces. Not pictured were many ceramic Easter eggs, bunnies and chicks to go along with the Easter theme (I want to stay focused on the plants for my blog).

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring flowers!

Last year I created this heart shaped raised bed for my 5 year old daughter. She has been assisting with the planting and maintenance ever since. Plants in the first picture are early, mid and late pink tulips, narcissus 'King Alfred', deep blue hyacinth, and pansy 'Black Princess'. Plants in the second photo are purple kale 'scarlet', oxalis spiralis aurea, cineraria, black mondo grass and lupine 'morello cherry'.