June 15, 2018 by missionazul
Its summer. If you got to the weeds before the soil went hard, and have stopped irrigating, not much more is going to germinate now. Time to dry out a little, take a lil rest and recap. Theres always more garden work to do…
San Francisco Flower and Garden Show Spring 2018
From time to time we are invited to table with other educational organizations or do a tiny vignette at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. This year the venue moved back to the Cow Palace. Thanks to Sherry and Ben Goulart and the crew out at American Soil and Stone we were able to participate as part of the landscape design class. Got to represent! The specs: a 20’ x 20’ space in the main hall; three class sessions; plants from our greenhouse; and a lot of truck runs back and forth back and forth. The theme: Return to Paradise.
Well, how do you return to paradise with a crew of fifteen designers? How do you agree on a design at all?! Like all gardens and all life, it is a learning process. It is one of compromise and balance, of adaptation and working within parameters. In working together, we learned to appreciate the difference between thinking and doing, and how to bridge the divide with experience and patience.
A good place to start is at the rock yard selecting rocks. Here is Allison Newton with a winner.
But! We still had to settle on a plan. Quick! The show is in three weeks! Going far back in time to the paradise gardens in the land of date palms, figs, pomegranates, goats and sheep, we settled on something that looks like this. The details to be worked out later…
Hard and dry and brown on the outside, soft and lush and green on the inside. Think of Persian empires, Gate of All Nations, Persepolis, King Xerces and the 300!
Now you have a rough idea, but how to build it?! Like all jobs, roll up your sleeves and GET TO WORK! We divvied up into two groups. One worked on the inside, the other worked on the outside. Selection of materials, arrangement, construction. Making the wall:
This is one section. Top row: yellow composite Asteraceae and Calochortus. Middle row: Phoenix date palms, a couple of Monterey cypress, and a coast live oak. Bottom row: California poppies.
The plant placement was rehearsed not once but twice. That is a few hundred plants out of the greenhouse. Placed and moved. Put back into the greenhouse before the bell rings and class is over. Repeat. Okay, that’s it. Off to the show! (It really was that fast!) When we got to the Cow Palace, the other vignettes were already on their way. Stone columns and tons of masonry:
Thor’s hammer had already fallen to earth:
So then, we laid out our humble student display. Dinosaur eggs and onyx rock came in wired cages on palettes.
Will Thompson, builder extraordinaire, cut lumber and connected the pieces. Louis Reid assisted with keeping things still.
Maryam Ghajar decorated the walled compound with the Spanish moss Tillandsia usneoides grown by our department chair Master Steven Brown. Be careful up there! “Ahh, I’m used to it! Been climbing trees since I was a kid!”
Another wall section. Top row is monkey flower Mimulus aurantiacus. Bottom row is Redwood ginger Asarum caudatum, California poppy, Mariposa lily, and yellow comp again. On the right are columnar trees of Italian cypress.
Meanwhile, on the inside, Mary Gates was arranging the fountain of flowers centerpiece.
Aleksandra Lipka-Kadaj and TJ Yong surveyed the interior. Thanks Aleks for all the extra painting and sand embellishment work!!!
Jeffrey Huang enjoyed the view of the dry desert:
Aaron Jacks could not contain his exuberance for misting with the spray bottle:
We are almost done! Becky Perrine relaxed atop the mulch in garden paradise. Check the details!
Donna Sharee did the wonderful graphics and brochure for our garden vignette named A Garden Within. Where is your heart? Where’s the love?!
Heres most of the crew, missing a few…
That was it. Whew. Now the take down and a few more truck runs. Save the framed lumber to make a sheep stall later…