I’ve stopped at the Berkeley Rose Garden several times this year, first in February while everything was dormant, then a couple of times as the roses were starting to wake up, and once recently with everything in full bloom. IThe Rose Garden is a WPA project from 1937, a terraced amphitheatre with a 220 foot long pergola topped by climbing roses. A gardener friend recently said she’d never checked it out because she’s not a rose person, but the roses are only part of the appeal. I’m not a rose person either, but the pergola and the stonework and even the sadly culverted creek running beneath the terraces all have a classic 1930′s Berkeley style. One of the iconic Berkeley places.
The city says that the pergola was suggested by Bernard Maybeck, though someone else executed the actual design. It’s one of my favorites, and probably the one I would see in my head if I ever looked up the word pergola in my private mental dictionary.
One of my goals for the year is to get better photos of some of the gardens we’ve designed. I have lots of photos of our own garden and lots of photos taken right after the installation when the plants are little things surrounded by mulch, but I haven’t been as good about going back and taking pictures with decent lighting. Last year I was especially bad; this year I’ve been better, though that’s partly because a couple of the gardens are within walking distance of our house, and this one, especially, I often pass by while walking our dog. She’s been surprisingly patient about waiting for me if I stop, partly because she likes to eat the Deer Grass in the parking strip. I took the above photo in March, and then I thought it might be cool to get photos from a similar angle at several different times throughout the year. I’ve stopped several different times so far, and I also want to take a picture next January when the Magnolia is at peak bloom.
So far, I think the first photo is the best. The next two are from early May. I love the bloom color of Penstemon heterophyllus in real life, but it never seems to look as good in photos, whether taken by me or by other people.
The Heuchera maxima looks good and it’s a plant I really like, but it’s hard to get too excited about a photo of Heuchera.
This is from last week, mid June. I think the Yarrow was already in the garden when we did the planting. I don’t remember if we transplanted it or just left it in place, but I usually don’t plant the pure white yarrow, even though it’s the native one. I saw this morning that the maintenance gardener deadheaded the Heuchera, so I might take another photo with the old bloom stalks gone.
I also might try with the Yarrow pulled out of the frame so that you can see the Sisyrinchium striatum behind it. The Sisyrinchium’s not a native, but it’s a more interesting plant than the yarrow.
I’ve also tried to photograph the planting on the slope beyond the Magnolia. My dog gets a little more restless if I venture down there.
Watsonia, Nasturtium, Cal Poppies, Love in a Mist, and a couple of other things have popped up in what was already a rather unrestrained planting.
I accidentally clicked this photo with the camera moving and everything blurring into an impressionist painting. Part of me thinks it’s the best image of the bunch.
This past weekend I went to the Garden Conservancy Open Days in Marin, a nice little tour with three gardens quite close to each other in Kentfield. Two of the gardens are collaborations of some sort between Tim O’Shea of Greenworks and Davis Dalbok of Living Green, whose work I’d seen in Garden Design magazine. The first one was the most photogenic with an impressive entryway and dramatic plantings with olive trees, Japanese maples, lavender, lots of succulents, and a very cool hedge of Arbutus Marina planted close together in a double row.
Several agaves are planted in the lawns. I wouldn’t want to have to edge around them or deal with pups coming up in the lawn, but the effect was striking.
The view from beyond the water feature.
The back has a great view of Mt. Tam. I would eat all of my meals there. A few more photos are below. Read the rest of this entry »
A quick bloom day post. A lot of the plants blooming are the same ones that we’ve had the last few years. I took almost this same photo of Allium unifolium two years ago, the difference is that our new neighbor took off the gray vinyl siding next door, revealing the red wooden siding underneath. The Clarkia is starting up around the alliums. I scattered a wildflower mix, but the clarkia is the only one that seems to have taken. It’s not my favorite of the clarkias, but that’s okay. The Bearded Iris have barely bloomed this year, I’m not sure why. Meadowfoam went to full bloom and finished since the last bloom day.
The Wisteria shower also came and went since the last bloom day. This was the best year yet for the wisteria, with some of the bloom stalks five feet long and a thick carpet of fallen flowers now that its done.
The Spicebush starts blooming around the time the wisteria stops. Lately we have to prune it a couple of times a year to keep it off us in the shower.
Along with the Spicebush, a few other plants are starting up. The first Bread Poppy opened today, the first Leopard Lily yesterday. The Leopard Lily in the vegetable garden, with lots of compost and regular water, is 6 feet tall and will have over fifty blooms open in a couple of days. It’s one of my favorite flowers all year.
Check out MayDreamsGardens for lots more bloom day posts. My thanks to Carol for hosting.
The third garden I checked out was the garden on Old Adobe Rd. It’s an impressive garden with a large wildflower meadow and flagstone labyrinth, an extensive recirculating creek and pond system, and extensive stone work. It’s one of the most extensive private native gardens I’ve seen, up there in the same class as the Fleming garden. It manages to convey the feeling of a house set in a native meadow, rather than a garden with a meadow in it. Town Mouse said it was featured in the recent issue of Sunset.
Like with Town Mouse’s garden, the mid-day lighting was pretty harsh. A few more photos are below. Read the rest of this entry »
I went to two other gardens on the tour. At Town Mouse’s recommendation, I went to see the Greywater Wetland Garden, a new house and garden built with a lot of green features, inlcuding stormwater catchment and a greywater system. The owner, Catherine Mohr, has a TED talk that got a quarter of a million views and she kept a blog during construction which includes a plant list and photos of the greywater system. Everything in the garden was young, but I liked the design, by Green Pad Design, and the greywater system was interesting to see.
More photos are below. Read the rest of this entry »