8: The Cloud Garden

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May 7, 2014 by missionazul

In our introduction to horticulture class, OH50, we show the students a little bit of everything plant related, and entice them to dream about the diverse careers possible in this industry.  One of our projects in this night class is the construction and planting of the ‘Cloud Garden’.  This garden is a little plot of land sandwiched between the formal geometric boxwood garden and our vegetable/pollinator garden.  It is informal and xeriscape; it uses local, found and recycled materials.  It is a place to showcase some California native plants, a dry creek bed drainage, and a more ‘wild’ aesthetic.

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This is some of the woodwork over time:

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Gooseberry Ribes sanguineum’s pink flowers are in the foreground.  Getting started on the shack’s roof a few years back.  Ridge pole is an agave stalk.  The thatch in progress is the leaves of the abundant New Zealand flax Phormium tenax.

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Concrete work is making round forms and spiraling clouds.  Little red flowers on the lower right are California fuchsia –  Zauschneria californica is what I learned them as, now they are known as Epilobium canum.

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Here’s a scene of spring and summer.  Peruvian lilies are goin’ nuts!  And they make a great cut flower that lasts and lasts.  Behind the blooms are african boxwood Myrsine africana.  To the right is Myrica californica, next to the dry creek.  These are all drought tolerant plants that thrive in these clay soils; zero irrigation year after year after year.  The bindweed groundcover?!  Yikes!  Gotta get weeding!!

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