Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


The Tenderloin Garden

I have some photos from one of the gardens on this past weekend’s Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour. It’s the home garden of the Organic Mechanics, the guys who created the giant succulent Borg cube at last year’s flower and garden show. I like seeing designers’ home gardens. They’re usually funky and interesting, and this on’s no exception. Lots of salvaged urban materials, lots of eclectic plant choices, and a fair bit of benign neglect, all hidden away behind an apartment building in the Tenderloin on the kind of block that has transvestite hookers on the corners at night. Part of the experience of this garden is to first walk six blocks without seeing a single plant. You don’t forget that you’re in a city when you enter the garden, but you get a very different city experience.

I love the big brick wall on the neighboring building, with a 5 cent cigar ad painted over a 2 cent cigar ad. I don’t give brick enough credit as a material. This wall is phenomenal.

The other detail I really like is a short path made from repurposed materials. Their website has a photo of an entire patio made from the same stuff.

There’s a write-up at SF Gate telling some more about the garden and the designers. A fun garden to have seen.

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4 Responses to “The Tenderloin Garden”

  1. May 24th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Loree / danger garden says:

    I’ve seen this garden somewhere once before…and enjoyed seeing it again, thank you. It’s amazing!

  2. May 24th, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    lostlandscape (James) says:

    Great spaces, great structure to the place. With good bones like that it might be hard to go wrong with with plant choices. Even the brick wall…even though I’m coming to seriously dislike lots of brick, the wall you show is one I could live with, something like walking into a Walker Evans or William Christenberry photograph…

  3. May 27th, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Dirty Girl Gardening says:

    love it… that last image of the arch is great. so nice and simple.

  4. March 19th, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Helen at Toronto Gardens says:

    Yes! I recognized the recycled path from our visit to Organic Mechanics with the Garden Bloggers Fling San Francisco in 2013. And I’ve been meaning to blog about it ever since. (Followed the winding trail via Pinterest to find myself here.) Great garden and lovely people.

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