Tag Archives: recycling

I think I can grow these

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Not sure what goes with your new AstroTurf lawn?
Since 2004 Czech artist Veronika Richterova’s has cultivated a playful love affair with repurposing polyethylene teraphthalate (PET)


Since 2004 she has devoted herself systematically to serious artistic work with PET bottles. The easily malleable PET has surprisingly proved to be an excellent material for fulfilling her artistic intentions. For this offshoot of her artistic aspirations she has chosen the designation PET-ART…[Her] aim is to capture the fundamental principle of the human desire for creative recycling. And it is not in the least important whether the work in question is purely functional, or is simply a decorative object… .”

2012 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

Before last week’s show in San Mateo, California, “Gardens For a Green Earth,” recedes into the dim past, just a few photos, not at all a comprehensive account.
All photos taken by MB Maher at the preview on Tuesday, 3/20/12.


“Windows,” Gold Medal Winner
(Association of Professional Landscape Designers, American Society of Landscape Architects Award,
California Landscape Contractors Award, Sunset Western Living Award, San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers Award, and The Garden Conservancy Award)
McKenna Landscape
Leslie McKenna
Los Gatos, CA
(408) 356-1842
leslie@mckennalandscape.com
www.mckennalandscape.com

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Continue reading 2012 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

poppies, a minor obsession

Newt is taking time out of her busy day to helpfully point out where the poppies will be blooming this year.

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Last year’s runnel of poppies was in the crevice along the back porch, but this year they’ve jumped a few feet over and have self-sown into crevices in the dry-laid bricks. These are again the Poppy of Troy, Papaver setigerum, which is a nicely compact, breadseed-type poppy, a single with pale lilac-colored petals surrounding a central dark blotch. There are scads of species and breadseed varieties to try that improvise on the timeless poppy theme, a performance that never grows stale. A solitary bud peeps out of the leaves, dangles demurely as the slim stalk elongates, until all pretense of shyness is abandoned as sepals burst and fall, revealing impossibly silky, translucent petals. It always strikes me as a sly wink of nature to imbue a plant with such captivating drama and energy as well as deadly soporific properties. (Annie’s Annuals & Perennials has by far the best selection known to mankind and is the original source of my self-sowing poppies.)

While visiting the Bay Area a couple weeks ago, I was introduced to a marvelous source of salvage and cast-offs, a huge warehouse devoted to recycling and repurposing in Berkeley called Urban Ore, where I found a pair of botanical prints, one of plants from the malvaceae family and this one of papaveraceae, both now hanging in the bath house. Botanical prints can lead one down a chintzy path I generally try to avoid, but I just couldn’t walk away from these poppies.

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If I lived nearby, I’d check out Urban Ore frequently. The best stuff disappears within hours of arrival.

Succulents In Your Face

Now that their former stigma as strictly hobbyists’ plants has been exploded by proselytizers like Thomas Hobbs and Debra Lee Baldwin, the moment for succulents is undeniably now. If tulips and bulbs are the lipsticks of the garden, succulents are the jewelry. Kitschy containers, modernist minimalism, lush landscapes, succulents can do it all. And though I don’t know from personal experience, I presume some must be fairly easy to winter over in frosty climates, at least size-wise.

It’s way too easy to become a devotee of these drought-adaptive plants. Easy to become smitten with echeverias.

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And then there’s the endless iterations of graptoverias, graptosedums, graptopetalums.

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Personally, I’ve been a little unhinged by crassulas lately. And let’s not even get started on aeoniums. I think eye level is a great vantage point to fully appreciate the many complex colorings and shapes, and apparently so do a lot of other people, judging by the continuing momentum of living walls. Another benefit of keeping succulents airborne is the distance it imposes between these plants and their earth-bound enemies, snails and slugs. (They’re not called succulent for nothing.) My little experiments have to do with what matrix will hold them aloft and contain the soil, with gravity continually trying to assert its rights. Obviously, far greater minds than mine are figuring this out with scientific precision for green walls that do the important work of carbon sequestration, water runoff absorption, and cooling of buildings, but I’m talking using stuff lying around at home for small-scale experiments.

Coir, coconut fiber used as hanging basket liners, was an early experiment that still holds together but is really difficult to wet.
These plants are tough and can tolerate a lax watering regimen, but they do need watering to stay plump, and the coir just seems to wick water away from the roots. I’ve been tempted many times to dismantle this one, but the growth has become extremely tight. When knocked to the ground by high winds recently, it bounced like a beach ball. The dripping beads are Senecio rowleyanus.

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Hollow concrete chimney flues unearthed from the fireplace, planted back in January with Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina,’ recyclable shopping bags used to hold the soil. Holding up surprisingly well with just an occasional absented-minded spritz of the hose.

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I think these are car jack stands. I found them stacked in the garage. I’m sure nobody will miss them.

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The succulent above, which has a thyme or sedum-like quailty, was labeled Crassula expansa, but don’t quote me. Online searches don’t corroborate this name.
I used old window screens to hold the soil for this one. So far it’s been easy to keep moist.

I love taking succulents to the next level. Eye level.

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