10/12/2006

A return to the Blake Garden. (I visited a few months ago, here.)

ADDED: I want to make a note for any locals who might want to visit the Blake Garden. The website won't give you directions, so unless you have a navigation system your car, you'll probably need to use Yahoo or Google. Here's the thing: the machine will tell you to turn right on to Terrace Drive from Moeser Lane. Well, there are two Terrace Drives to turn right on! The second is 50 yards after the first! You must turn right on the second Terrace Drive.

Starting in the cutting and vegetable garden...

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This patch of land is doing double duty growing pumpkins and amaranth.

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Amaranth is good source of red/brown.

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Is this Liquidambar?

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I've never seen it with a trunk like this before.

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The remnants of a dead bush bleached white. Very nice.

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Maybe it's not bleached; maybe it's slowly rotting.

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It's still nice--assuming the mold won't spread to a living plant.

The hedge encircling the pond area is Pittosporum undulatum.

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It's nice to walk under Magnolia limbed up high and thinned out in the crown. They let in the light so nicely when they're pruned open like this.

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I like the narrow passageways through the privet.

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And I like the paths mulched with redwood leaves. Good, easy use of color.

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The privet encloses a Chinese-style garden populated with California native and exotic plants that may or may not be Chinese.

Mahonia lomariifolia

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Lots of manzanita.

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and white Agapanthus. I usually dislike Agapanthus, but the white flowers (these have uncommonly large ubmels) work surprisingly well with the manzanita. It's an unlikely combination, imo.

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And, again--I think it's excellent to combine the square regularity of the boxwood with the wild unmanageability of the manzanita like this.

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I really like this simple and elegant pond. Just a 6' diameter poured concrete enclosure with a curved lip.

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Its only ornamentation (if you want to call it that) are these notches at every 90 degrees. I suspect they mark out the cardinal directions--N, S, E, W. What a cool thing to do!

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Another good combination.

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More Amaranth, and coreopsis?

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I'm still enchanted by the wisteria tree, with its legumes dangling like ornaments. I see now that it's been staked. Having to stake a mature plant is a big drawback for me.

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I must remember to come back and see this specimen in bloom.

I like the swollen basal burl (if I can call it that).

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This is Magnolia liliflora. I don't know anything about this tree, except that it's small...

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has a nice form...

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and appears deciduous.

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I'm reminded of one reason why I don't like boxwood. It harbors spiders! Look at those cobwebs. I am intensely arachnophobic. I'm not even going to walk over there.

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Two trees in love?

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It looks like they're spooning.

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I like how the Echium echoes the texture of the flax, but higher up. I'm not sure whether that's E. wildprettii or E. piniana. They both send up a towering spike of flowers...the wildprettii's are red and the piniana's are blue (there are other differences too, but I'm not sure what they are--height maybe). Another thing I will have to come back for next year.

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Art?

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Behind it you can see there's a sheet hung around the trunk of Maytenus boaria like a skirt.

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I step inside, but I don't linger.

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(There was obviously some kind of installation of artwork like Christo and Jeanne-Claude's recently; there are remnants everywhere in the garden today.)

Mediterranean gardening.

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Restio, euphorbia, purple fountain grass. Sounds good on paper, but I didn't like it in person anymore than I like it in this picture. Maybe if there was something else behind it all besides that long hedge.

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I do like this smoke bush, Berberis thunbergii and Ginkgo biloba combo.

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And another...

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Eriogonom giganteum and Arctostaphylos.

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Red streamers and thread hanging down from the grape and oak--it's art!

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More art. This time to explicitly define the boundary between the dry garden and the redwood grove. I like.

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This doesn't look like much, but the twiggy stuff with spare leaves and white berries is Symphorocarpus, and it's one of my favorite native shade plants.

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I've never thought of Cyclamen as a plant to put in the ground.

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Small drifts of it, with Oxalis oregana.

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On my way out.

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Nice threesome...tree, bench and pot.

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The plant whore himself, under Pinus canariensis.

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Later.

5 comments:

Jenn said...

Dude! Thank you - what a lovely tour. I can feel that warm sun in my imagination. Beauty.

Xris said...

Thanks for the walking tour! Blake Garden is in San Francisco?

I don't think the palmate leaf is Liquidambar. (Forgot: You're the one who doesn't like italicized botanical names!) I've never seen it toothed like that, only smooth along the lobes. It looks like a Maple to me, possibly a (very old) Japanese Maple.

chuck b. said...

Thanks for coming by!

Blake Garden is across the bay in Kensington, a few freeway exits north of Berkeley.

bzbb said...

I just finished a lab assignment on the invasion ecology of Berberis thunbergii. As someone studying forestry and conservation in new england, my hate for that plant is only matched by my hate for Rosa multiflora, Euonymus spp. and Celastrus orbiculatus. Those leaves look vaguely Liquidambar, but I don't think it is.

chuck b. said...

Yeah, I don't think it's Liquidambar either.

I didn't know B. thunbergii is invasive in New England. Interesting. And what a bummer. Thorns. Yuck.