Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Sf Flower and Garden Show 2013

Glade by Mariposa and John Greenlee

I was one of the many judges yesterday at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. It was a great chance to see the gardens without the crowds and I took photos after my group finished judging. I liked a lot of the gardens this year, though scrutinizing the gardens as a judge made it hard to get a sense of the show overall. My favorite was Glade by Mariposa Gardening and Design and John Greenlee. The stonework and plants (mostly natives) are beautiful. The nicest touch was the spotlight on the Needle Grass in the meadow. Grasses are most beautiful when they catch the light, so it was great to see that effect created indoors. Needle Grass doesn’t have the conventional appeal of more traditional garden plants, so I really appreciated that it was a focal point of the garden.

Needle Grass

A Goldsworthy Style Egg

The Goldsworthy-esque egg was well built, and the diagonal walls have become a Mariposa trademark at this point.

The Egg Again

Wall Sculpture by Jim Sudal Ceramic Design

The big award winner was Inside Out by the students from Arizona State. One of the walls did nice double duty, showcasing a giant ceramic art piece on one side and a yucca on the other, with the cast shadow of the yucca creating another great lighting affect like the spotlight on the meadow.

Yucca filifera Trunk and Shadow

Inside Out by ASU

The Water Feature from Inside Out

Wonderland by Arterra

I liked the paving and all of the design details in the garden by Arterra. The gardens at the show all reference a specific country, but the one by Arterra is inspired by Wonderland.

Wonderland by Arterra

Thai Garden by Bay Maples

The plants in the Thai garden were mostly California natives. The plants weren’t really the focus of the design, so they didn’t register for me right away, but I appreciated that it was different from what you usually see or envision with California natives.

Philippine Garden by Dan Pozzi

I loved the Philippine garden. You can sort of see in the photo that there are rusting metal bits, shelves holding old bottles and other assorted items, and laundry hanging to dry. The aesthetic is closer to my own garden than I would like to admit, but at the same time, when I sat under the awning it felt like a space that would be loved by its owner so maybe I’m okay with the similarities.

The Hidden People by McKenna Landscape

A slab of rock turned into a divan in the Icelandic garden by McKenna Landscape.

The World's Largest Succulent Globe!!!

The show has the world’s largest succulent globe by the same grower who provided the plants for the Succulent Borg Cube three years ago. It has a diameter of 10 feet, it weighs 2,800 pounds, and it spins. There are 30,000 cuttings of 11 different species: Echeverias, Sedums, Crassula, and Sempervivum. The globe is tilted at the same 23° angle as the earth, which made the Southern Hemisphere more prominent, a nice change from the usual top-down, northern-biased perspective I usually have. Even just the globe on its own was worth the trip to see the show.

6 Responses to “Sf Flower and Garden Show 2013”

  1. March 20th, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Scott Weber says:

    Well, being a grass-lover, the first one is by far my fave…the plants AND materials appeal to me immensely.

  2. March 21st, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Town Mouse says:

    Oh, I can’t wait to go! I’ve always really enjoyed the Mariposa gardens. After our run-in with Mr. Greenle last year – which we wrote a very clever post in iambic pentameters about – I’m a little more hesitant about his work, but I’m ready to be surprised.

    It always gives me hope that people are still crazy enough to put up a garden at the show – here’s three cheers for the designers and their crews, the judges, and the people who come to see them.

    thanks for the preview!

  3. March 21st, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    ryan says:

    Scott, I think that’s it, the plants and materials — stone, grasses, native plants — are all my favorite things.

    TM, I remember your post. You were spot on in your characterization. It is pretty crazy and pretty great that people do these gardens.

  4. March 24th, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Brad B says:

    I’m not gonna make it to the show this year after all. Glad I got to see some of the highlights on your blog.

  5. March 27th, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    James says:

    Judging a show must give you a different perspective than the rest of us. A post on that alone might be cool…all the criteria that you have to pay attention to… Or is it a more informal “I like/appreciate/admire/hate/covet that design?”

    The big egg cairn give a nice focus to what might be just a big pile o’ grass. A meadow is a hard thing to pull off but it looks like they might have come up with something that works.

  6. April 2nd, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    ryan says:

    James, I don’t know that I have much to say about judging. I was in a group and we gave a 1-5 score for each garden, and picked a garden for our award and as our vote for overall best of show. We probably paid more attention than most visitors to how well the gardens accomplished their specific statement of intent. There are criteria for the judges to follow, but a lot of the criteria boil down to how successful is each garden.

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