Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ruth Bancroft Garden

It was already hot when the our San Francisco Garden Blogger Fling bus pulled into the parking lot at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek. Being a Northern California gardener I had already been to all of the public spaces we visited during Fling...except for this one. And being a succulent enthusiast I was pretty excited; I was finally checking this garden off my list of must-sees. 

 As I exited the bus the heat seemed to be ramping up but I began to walk the paths to see what the garden held. My first realization was that there were many more cacti than I had expected. I had only seen a few photos of the garden before this visit and it was much drier and spare looking than the impression I had gotten from those photos. 

The more I walked the dry paths the hotter it felt. I suppose the landscaping added to the feeling of being in a desert and we were visiting during a bit of a heat wave. I felt like I was planning my explorations according to which direction promised the most shade.

But despite the heat there was much beauty to be found...and luckily I managed to take photos. Because it was only after I started looking at photos when I returned home that I was able to fully appreciate the beauty in the midst of starkness.

Much of that beauty was sculptural. 

 But the blooms that were there were amazing. This one deserves a second look!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Garden Blogger Bloom Day July 2013

The echinaceas are in full bloom and more than just we humans are enjoying them.

Hymenocallis, peruvian daffodils, are beginning to bloom. I divided them a couple years ago and blooms have been sparse. I guess they are finally getting comfy in their new spots.

The summer blooms on the wisteria are not as grand as the big spring bloom but by picking off the seed pods a nice amount of purple enhances the side yard pretty much all summer.

The biggest swath of flowers I have right now are the 4 o'clocks, mirabilis jalapa. It would be an even bigger swath if I left them alone. Although I've pulled lots of the volunteers this year I returned from the Garden Blogger Fling in San Francisco to a huge explosion of them all over the bush beans. The bush beans may never recover.

Ornamental oregano Herrenhousen (below) has spread a bit and a nice patch of it blankets a sunny area in the back garden.  Oregano Hopley's Purple has spread in the front garden and is a bit more what I guess you could call invasive. It's pretty, though, as a ground cover and I will just need to remember to rein it in a little next spring. 

July is a time of many blooms in my Sunset zone 9b garden. Pelargoniums, plumbago auriculata, salvias, alstroemeria, tulbaghia violacea, wax begonias, and zinnias are some of the other blooms. For lots of blooms from gardens all around the world head over to see Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Organic Mechanics

 Talk about a secret garden! The first garden that my bus visited on the first day of the Garden Blogger's Fling in San Francisco was on the edge of the Tenderloin and accessed by entering an apartment building, threading our way down a couple flights of stairs, out a side door and through a short hallway/tunnel after which we stepped into a cool oasis. 

And I mean cool in both senses of the word. The day was just beginning to heat up, giving us the first inkling of the unusual heat we would experience in the next few days. But in the hidden areas of  Sean Stout's and James Pettigrew's garden all seemed cool and serene. The garden surround walls, some of which were neighboring buildings,  were decorated with cool found objects and the entire area was set up to provide a wonderful retreat from the outside world.

Succulents, a particular weakness and attraction for me, were displayed in fanciful nooks that were perfect for holding collections.

And when a group of us took the old fashioned lift up several floors and then climbed the rest of the way to the roof we could see why the garden felt so secluded. From up here all you see are tree tops...and no sign of the 25 or 30 bloggers who were down there.