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Archive for April, 2015

Natives, Mosaics, and a New Sitting Area

SeatingAreaAfter

I recently did a couple of small projects in an established native garden, a pleasant space with a laid-back, informal feel. Oaks, Bay Laurels, and annual grasses are visible outside the deer fencing. Gravel paths weave around berms overflowing with natives, some of the usual plants like Manzanita, Iris, and Buckwheat, but also some of the less common plants you only see at plant sales.

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My primary project was to create a little sitting area with blue path fines. We also cleaned the existing concrete patio next to the new sitting area and we redid the joints with blue path fines. I’ve done that a few times for this kind of old patio; a few bags of path fines and some scrubbing and the concrete looks pretty much as good as new.

PathFinesPatioAfter1

When I finished, I was thinking that with some furniture, a little mulch, and maybe some Snowberry in the narrow space against the fence, this would be a nice little sitting area. This past week I saw the finished result, cheerful and inviting.

SeatingAreaAfter2

EdgingAfter1

I edged the path fines with scrap pieces of basalt leftover from the stoneyard’s fabrication projects. It’s inexpensive and easy to install; the hardest part is sorting through the scrap pile figuring out which pieces to use.

EdgingAfter2

The garden has some other interesting elements, including a variety of mosaics made by the client. The wall piece is quite nice.

wallpiece

mosaictile1

My mom recently made one of these mosaic balls, so it was interesting to see that someone else had made one too. I guess I’ve seen them before, but I didn’t realize they were an established thing.

mosaictile2

dogwood

There’s a cone shaped one at the base of this dogwood. I like the look of the limbed-up dogwood; the trunk is almost like a manzanita.

stonelithograph

The client’s father had been a stone lithographer. The press is now an element in the garden along with several of the old stones.

stonetablet

NeviusiacliftoniiFlower

I was glad I got to see the garden this week, because a number of plants were in bloom, including Neviusia cliftonii, Shasta Snow Wreath, a rare deciduous shrub that was only discovered in the 90’s. I’d seen it at plant sales, but never established in a garden. It’s not the showiest plant I’ve ever seen — it’s easy to understand how it went unnoticed for such a long time, especially if it tends to grow intermixed with poison oak — but fun to see in a garden.

NeviusiacliftoniiShastaSnowWreath

Styraxoficinalis

I was also glad to see the California Snowdrop, Syrax oficinalis, in full bloom. These take patience to establish, but have such an elegant flower and fragrance.

PCHIris

Buckwheat

Buckwheats, Foothills Penstemon, and California Poppies were also blooming, with other plants like Coyote Mint getting ready to follow. And photographs of course don’t show the bird calls and all of the bird activity around the natives. A lovely little garden.

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Revisited

RanchoSantaAnaHeucheraPatch1

Along with Joshua Tree, I also went back to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. It was great to see it in more springlike conditions, after my only previous visit in January. I said at the time that I would like to see this Heuchera patch in bloom, and it didn’t disappoint. The thick haze of pink flowers was visible a long ways down the trail. The day was rather sunny for photos, but I have a few more below. (more…)

Joshua Tree Revisited

JTreeEchinocereus

After the garden show I went down to Joshua Tree for a week of rock appreciation, for which there is no better place. There was a small amount of wildflower action to appreciate along with the rock, but not much. This Echinocereus was shockingly intense wherever it was in bloom, but even pulling back out a little shows what a small bit of color it was in a relatively monochrome landscape.

JTreeEchinocereuswideangle

JTreeRock1

The main excitement was with the rock. So many beautiful rock formations. I took photos of a few of the features that reminded me of dry-stone work.

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JTreeRock2

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JTreeRock5

The rock above looks like it was split at the end of the work day and left ready to be installed tomorrow. It’s uncanny how cleanly some of them are split.

JTreeRock6

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And at the end of the day, it’s all amazing for climbing. One of my favorite landscapes in the world.

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