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5 Years Old

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.

– Addendum 12/14/13 —

Perhaps because of the five year birthday, this map of the online world (full size here) at xkcd.com had me geeking out enough to spend time trying to decide where this blog and where the garden blog world in general would belong on the map. Probably a peninsula on the island of Photoblogs, though possibly in the Diary Blog or Miscellaneous Blog territories or even an unnamed island near (but not quite in) the Sea of Zero (0) Comments.

Four Years Young

This blog reached its fourth birthday a couple of days ago. Posting has been slower this year, but still pretty steady, averaging a little less than a post per week. There have been about the usual number of posts about stone, but fewer posts about gardens this year; a lot of our time was spent designing rather than installing or maintaining, and I just generally seemed to be a bit less plant and garden focused this year. Also, I made a concerted effort to upgrade my drawing skills this year, so I often went out with a sketchbook instead of a camera, drawing landscapes instead of the photographing the plants in them. Next year I’m hoping to focus a bit more back on gardens, including making an effort to get photos of some of the ones we’ve designed. We’ll see what happens. My attention wanders a bit, but more or less stays on track with plants, natives, stone, gardens, and Bay Area/California landscapes. This week’s rains have germinated a ton of native wildflowers in our own garden, already has me thinking about what the coming spring is going to be like.

The Bay Trail

Lately, I’ve been walking our dog Carla on the Bay Trail near the Richmond Marina. There’s a section converted from an old rail line that I really like. The views are great, and the changing tides and light conditions make it a little different each time I go. I tend to stay moving and focus on exercising Carla, but I’ve done one sketch and taken a few photos. It’s one of the nicer places in Richmond and I’m likely to post about it again sometime.

Meeker Slough Creek

Meeker Slough and Albany Hill

Meeker Slough

SF

I’m pretty happy to reach four years of blogging. Thanks to everyone who reads or comments.

Bamboo Shadows during the Eclipse

Wow. I hope everyone got a chance to enjoy the solar eclipse in person or at least through some of the photos around the web. Anita and I got up on the roof of the new office to see it and play with the pinhole camera effect, making shadow puppets on the side of our neighbor’s house. The leaves of our bamboo had a beautiful scalloped look. You can click to see the photos larger.

Landscape Architecture by Bicycle

Levis Plaza

Next Sunday the 22nd, Anita will be leading a bicycle tour of a few landscape architecture projects in San Francisco. The tour goes to two hugely influential and historic projects, Levi’s Plaza pictured above, and Crissy Field, along with several other compelling spaces. You may already know these places, but this is your opportunity to see them with a beautiful and knowledgeable guide.

DETAILS:

What: Casual bike tour from the Embarcadero winding through downtown to Crissy Field

When: 9AM to noon, April 22, 2012

Where: Meet under the clock outside the Embarcadero Ferry Building

Cost: FREE! but must RSVP to contact below

Contact: Anita Bueno, abueno@asla-ncc.org, 510-282-4918

Rain cancels, call to confirm

USDA Zone Change

The USDA just put out a new zone hardiness map. It’s the first new map since 1990 and they made quite a few changes. Large chunks of the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Berkeley, and our garden here in Richmond, have been changed from zone 9b to 10a, and the 9a areas inland are now 9b. I don’t know how big a deal this is — I mostly use the Sunset zones (which will also be changing in the next edition) — but it is the reference number that orients me to the rest of the gardening world and I even had it noted on the blog’s About page.

2011 Miscellany

Monardella macrantha in mid-May

Happy New Year everyone. As part of year end housekeeping I was going through all the photos I took this year, including a whole lot that never made it up onto this blog. Looking back at them all, a few things are noticeable. The first is that I took a lot of photos of gardens in the spring and not very many afterwards. I did a pretty good job of recording our landscape work but after about mid-summer, our own garden went into construction mode and everything tended to look messy. Right now it feels like most of our plants have been stepped on or transplanted or had a 2×4 dropped on them. The photo below is from a few weeks ago. The shed now has a roof, but we’re still shopping around for the door and the relative chaos around it is still representative. In a couple of weeks things should start to get put back together.

To be completed soon

Blondie

I went all year without mention of our red-eared slider, Blondie, who lives in an aquarium tank with about twenty fish. We don’t often take him out into the garden, but he’s actually had a big impact, generating some of the best fertilizer our plants have ever received. Every week Anita takes a bucket of tank water and gives it to our container plants. I don’t have any before-and-after photos of the plants that get the water but it has made them exuberantly green and happy.

Allium unifolium at Salt Point

I took a number of weekend and day trips to the north bay throughout the year. Salt Point was new to me and as a result probably my favorite, but even Ring Mountain (the site of Turtle Rock and Split Rock) just across the bay in Marin was great. I never get tired of these spots in the Bay Area where there’s a big rock or two, some grasslands, and views of the bay or the ocean.

Split Rock at Ring Mountain in Marin

Corte Madera seen from Ring Mountain

Turtle Rock overlooking Sausalito

Rendezvous Caye

We managed one trip out of the country, to Belize. We hopped around to a few little islands and then went to the Mayan ruins at Altun Ha. I want to go back.

Tobacco Caye

The Mist Trail below Vernal Fall

I made six long-weekend trips to Yosemite in the spring and summer. I didn’t think I took photos, but I guess some things lured my camera out, including the Mist Trail while the waterfalls were surging. Even with all the crowds, I would put it up against any hiking trail in the world. Vernal Fall had some double rainbows at one point, but I was too wise to even try to capture the full intensity of that.

Nevada Fall

Rock Ducks at Mirror Lake

One thing I photographed in Yosemite was the collection of rock ducks at Mirror Lake. Some people like it, some don’t. The site used to have a hotel there a hundred years ago, Mirror Lake is partially dammed, and Yosemite Valley is too overrun with people and cars for me to be overly concerned about leave no trace, but I also didn’t find the rock stacking particularly appealing either. I’m more appreciative of the stone steps leading up to the collection and the retaining wall at the edge of the lake.

The steps leading up to the Ducks

Mirror Lake Edging

Half Dome

And of course Half Dome, seen from the foot of the stairs, is on a whole other level.

Joshua Tree

A week in Joshua Tree ended our recreation for the year. Since then we’ve stayed closer to home, focusing on the garden shed and the holidays and getting ready for next year. I had a lot of good things to look back on last year and I hope everyone else feels the same about their year.

Happy New Year

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