Happy birthday to DryStoneGarden. This blog is now five years old. I use the word ‘old’ because at this point keeping a blog does feel like an old-fashioned thing. This year especially, I’ve seen a lot of other garden blogs stop posting. Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Pinterest, and all those other platforms seem to have siphoned off a lot activity. Which is a shame. Those platforms all have their merits, and I’ve dabbled in some of them, but I’m actually really glad that I haven’t shifted to any of them, that I still host my own content on my own website. A blog is still a great way to collect thoughts, photos, drawings, info, links, and any other content that seems worth posting. Maintaining this site has directly increased my knowledge about those core subjects that interest me — stone, plants, native plants, gardens, and landscapes — and I regularly find myself using the links in my sidebar or going back into the archive for images or links to help with my design work. I’ve also learned a lot from other bloggers and just wish more of my favorite ones were still posting. I appreciate everyone who has commented or linked or just been a reader throughout the years. Keep reading, I’ll keep posting.
‘Most true meadow ecologies are where you want to live… light-filled openings near trees and water. If it is too wet, it is a swamp; too many trees, it is dark and dank… For me, the draw of the meadow has to do with how meadows capture light and movement. No other group of plants can do what grasses and grass ecologies do.’ John Greenlee
Land8 has a great interview with grass guru John Greenlee, who I’ve mentioned a couple of times on this blog. He collaborated on my favorite display gardens from the last two SF garden shows, but, more significantly, he’s the author of The American Meadow Garden, one of the handful of books that I consider essential for designing gardens in California. I recommend the interview, as well as the book, for anyone interested in meadows, grasses, or general plant design. Check it out.
Last year in April I posted a few photos of the median strip on Carlson Avenue near my house. The city had regraded the street and put in a median strip planted with native and non-native annual wildflowers. It looked great, but after a couple weeks of it blooming, there was a car wreck because a driver couldn’t see over the flowers. The city immediately mowed the wildflowers.
After a few months the city put in the more permanent planting. This being Richmond, a significant number of plants were promptly stolen. It was kind of sad, a few new empty holes appeared every morning as if plundered by urban gophers. But eventually the thieves had enough plants for their gardens and everything was allowed to grow in. A year later, it’s looking great.
I like most of the plants used: Rubus pentalobus “Green Carpet’ at the ends of the median so no one can complain about trouble seeing over the plants, Hesperaloe, Lavender, Chondropetalum, Leucadendron ‘Jester,’ and Bulbine, a plant I recently started using. Two grasses are the stars right now. The Pink Muhly looks kind of scruffy when you’re a pedestrian and absolutely terrific when you drive past at thirty five miles an hour, blurring into the most vivid pink mass anyone could wish for. My favorite, though, is the Sesleria autumnalis, Autumn Moor grass. Green and gold, and nicely complementing the pink muhly. Maybe not quite as flashy as the native wildflowers of last spring, but just about the next best thing.
Last year I mentioned that I walk our dog, Carla, at the Richmond Bay Trail. For about two years now, I’ve gone there almost every week, often three or four times in a week. Lately, I’ve sometimes taken along a watercolor block to do a quick sketch while Carla waits with a surprising amount of patience, then I add the watercolor at home. The main idea is just to find something and finish it quickly before Carla gets restless, but the real effect has been to deepen my appreciation of the San Francisco Bay. Such a great place to live near.
They’re a little cropped as thumbnails, uncropped below.
I’m quite late with this, but one of our gardens was on the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling tour earlier this year. I don’t know how well known the Spring Fling is among garden blog readers, but it’s an impressive event. Once a year, garden bloggers convene in a city and spend several days looking at gardens together. This was the sixth year. It began in Austin, then Chicago, Buffalo, Seattle, Asheville, the Bay Area this year, and next year it will be in Portland. I’m interested in going to the Portland fling, especially after getting a taste of the tour this year.
I didn’t go to the entire tour, just the one garden that we had helped create. Three days of gardens seemed like a lot to fit into my schedule and I had already visited all of the public gardens and most of the private ones, but in retrospect that was a missed opportunity. Everyone seemed to enjoy the tour immensely and to appreciate the intensive overview of Bay Area gardening. Fortunately, the fling organizer, Kelly Kilpatrick of Floradora Gardens who helps the owners with the maintenance and created many of the plantings, was kind enough to invite Anita and me out to the garden. After almost five years of blogging, it was great to meet some other bloggers, however briefly, and I loved getting the perspective of out of town gardeners. I only took a couple of photos, but several bloggers wrote posts about the garden.
‘I want you to take a look at this rock. Pretty big, right?’
This video is making fun of TedTalks, but I suspect if you go through my blog archives you’ll find a few posts that could also be the target.