Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Posts Tagged ‘angled wall’

2012 Flower and Garden Show

Dynamic Reflections

I managed a quick visit to the San Francisco Flower and Garden on Thursday. My personal highlight was not a garden, but rather Bee Chama Honey who comes out from New Mexico most years and has about a dozen different kinds of honey (my favorite was oak, followed by Sage/Willow and Meadowfoam). Anita was a judge at the show this year and was especially impressed at the quality of the gardens and the craftsmanship. I agree, though I thought they weren’t quite as memorable or dramatic as some other years. They were well designed and really nice and it takes a lot of effort to do such good work. I haven’t added links to all the garden creators, but you can find that info at the show’s garden creators webpage. Also there’s some cool stuff at the show’s Facebook page, including a timelapse of a nice, relaxing garden that I didn’t photograph.

Dynamic Reflections again

Dynamic Reflections had the most stone interest. Its by the same designer who did angled walls a few years ago. They’re pretty cool. There’s a heck of a lot going on in these walls, with a ceramic face, a container, various slabs and boulders, more than I would want in a real wall, but probably the right amount for a garden show. I found myself wishing more of the other gardens were more over the top this year.

Dynamic Reflections again


Savannah was the other garden that felt satisfyingly over-the-top. It was done almost entirely with grasses, a narrow path through a tunnel of grassy foliage. It was a distinct experience, with crickets and other sounds created by a guy does garden sound for a living. It was a hard thing to do it justice in a photo, but this blurred photo sort of gives a sense of it. I felt like it was far and away the most interesting garden and the main one that offered a distinctive experience you wouldn’t see in a real bay area garden. It was also the only garden that truly felt like it was about the plants.


Windows was more about the hardscape and the design and making a real outdoor space with good attention to materials and details. It swept the awards from the ASLA, CLCA, APLD, and Sunset, all the groups that are focused on making real residential gardens.

Serenity Lounge

I liked the Serenity Lounge also.

Serenity Lounge again

Urban Habitat on the Left, Sculpture Party on the Right

I also liked the big dragon and the juxtaposition of it next to the graffiti garden. I guess there was more over-the-top things than I remember.

La Vie en Vert

The pendulum and the little gabians in La Vien en Vert are the last of my photos. There were other nice gardens — almost all of the gardens were good this year — but I didn’t photograph them for some reason. I guess I spent a lot of my time tasting honey.

La Vie en Vert again

SF Gate has a slideshow here.

Angled Dry Stone Walls

SF Flower and Garden Show

Old Town Patio Stone

I wanted to post a few more photos of the freestanding wall from the garden show. I haven’t seen many walls with the courses running at an angle, and none quite like this one. To lay the stones at an angle goes against the “rules” I learned about building walls, but, apparently, stoneworkers have been doing it in Cornwall for centuries. The Cornish call their walls “hedges”, and do things like cover them with sod, and they have a whole tradition of stacking slate vertically or at an angle. Their slate doesn’t support weight well when stacked horizontally, so they turn it on its edge, which makes a certain amount of sense; I’ve worked with slate which would crumble from a single hammer blow across the flat, but could withstand repeated blows against the narrow edge. The Guild of Cornish Hedgers has a collection of photos including some walls built with a herringbone pattern. I particularly like this one with stiles for climbing over it. There’s a photo on a blog here and another photo in the Cornish collection in the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain gallery.

the courses, rotated

the courses, with my camera rotated

Through the magic of turning the camera sideways, you can see that the wall is built with courses like a traditional wall, just that the courses run at an angle.

old town patio stone

transition from traditional to angled

The horizontally laid stones of the arch set the angle for the slanted courses. A lot of the wall’s weight is going to be pushing against those horizontal courses and against that arch, but arches are strong and the wall could have stood for a lot longer than the five days of the garden show. Now it only exists in memories and photos.

The Dry Stone Walling Association of Canada has more photos of the wall on their site, and photos of another angled wall they built for a garden show in Canada last year.

WallsWithoutMortar has photos of another angled wall built in Danville, here.

I stuck a couple of detail photos of the arch below. (more…)