Monday, October 21, 2013

Big Rocks in the Woods

Here's a preview of our current project in Napa. All the boulders are being harvested from the site and placed with the expertise and brawn of our fabulous team along with some support from the heavy metal.

Here's Jaime struttin' his stuff with his new excavator

The rockery as built so far

The fabulous LG team prepares for the next big one

This stone was custom fabricated and imported from china by Yellow Mountain Stoneworks. We have begun installing both paving and block benches from this material
Here's a slab being placed (note respectful treatment of plan documents)

Biggest forklift ever!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

First Summer

We completed this small garden in Berkeley's Elmwood district last fall, and went back this week to enjoy its exuberant first summer.

While the look is open and light, this gracious entry gate is custom fabricated from steel for durability, then painted to match the house trim

We used a mix of colorful California native and Mediterranean plants to line this sun/shade passageway leading to the back garden: Mendocino Reed Grass, Manzanita, Penstemon, Thyme, Catmint and Monkeyflower

 Yerba Buena and red-leafed Coral Bells compliment Monkeyflower

 Rounding the corner we enter the central gravel terracecapacious enough for the upcoming 4th of July extravaganza.

Agastache, one of my favorite summer bloomers anchors an ornamental herb bed
Here's a great example of a successful planting under a big Redwood tree. The area is mostly shady but gets some afternoon sun. We planted Yerba Buena, Daylily and Hellebore (pictured) along with Golden Cestrum and a variety of ferns. On the left, a lovely Cercis Forest Pansy thrives as an understorey tree.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Blow by gillian garro

                                   Disporum hookeri, Fairy Bells

Every day now for the past month something new has opened up or popped up or perked up in our garden.

My husband, Terrel, who is a botanist, ecologist and entomologist to say nothing of a passionate gardener, has led a steady campaign to populate our garden with local native plants and to welcome their attending population of insects and birds.

Mostly that's what we've done, yet we've both agreed to an assortment of essential edibles – we do like to eat – and along with my support for native habitat, I have proved unable to resist various exotic wonders that have settled comfortably in among the locals– Freesias! Sacred Incan Sage! Bolivian Fuchsia! Well, yeaah.

                                                                                                                           Lachenalia and Freesia
So here we are, trying to keep the peace and create a small slice of urban interspecies habitat. The bees are happy here, so are the birds. The cats are happy. The raccoons and possums seem pretty much at home – especially when the fruit ripens. And of course, the demon squirrels......I'll say no more.

Today I went out with my camera to survey what was in bloom.  Exotic highlights included an abundance of the aforementioned Freesia, a yummy orange Lachenalia, and a "Metallic Blue Lady" Hellebore spreading out under our apple tree.

                                                                                                Helleborus Metallic Blue Lady with Freesia
In the native realm I noted:
     Annual wildflowers: Red Maids, Baby Blue eyes, Tidy Tips and Cream Cups
     Perennials:  Island Alum root, Hummingbird Sage, Buttercup, Fairy Bell, Bleeding Heart, Lomatium
     Shrubs:  Pink flowering and Golden Currants, Monkeyflower, Blueblossom, Coffeeberry, Huckleberry, Manzanita, and Antelope Bitterbrush (smells better than anything).
                      Stylomecon heterophylla, Cream Cups
Spring's momentum was compelling. Amidst this cheery blow, buds were swelling, basal clumps of Aster and Goldenrod fattened for their late-season show, thickening clumps of Fescue and Melic Grass textured the beds and a saucy crowd of male catkins dangled from the Hazelnut.

Happily I fell into the garden's cycle – the flowers yielding to fat fruits that would burst and scatter seed; the open alluring husks; the bare limbs; long dormancies in the dark earth and roots extending deep down to rich mineral veins. I thought about the animals whose lives meticulously meshed with plants and soil, with the caprice of sun, air and water. 

I remembered how much we all need one another.

                                                                                                              Mimulus puniceus, Monkeyflower

Coming soon:  Terrel's account of insect life in the garden!