Today, yesterday, and the day before yesterday

Let's start with the day before yesterday since I never got caught up with Friday's horticulture whirlwind visit to the East Bay.

After the Blake Garden, we stopped for coffee at this place. I had a peanut butter cookie too.


We were the only people in the shady section.


My companion said this market across the street was special for some reason, but I don't remember why.


I don't know this part of the Bay Area very well, but I will say that driving around North Berkeley is like driving through several issues of Fine Gardening magazine. The plants and landscaping are incredible. Unfortunately, I was driving, and we were on a schedule, so no pictures.

Also, I just wonder where all the money comes from. I mean every house in this densely populated area must be at least a million bucks. Same thing in so many Bay Area neighborhoods. There is so much wealth here, it's unfathomable to me.

Anyhow, Berkeley Hort is around the corner from this coffeeshop. It's a popular nursery everyone talks about, but I've never been here before.


They have a big demonstration garden.



I don't like Acer dissectum cv. atropurpureum (Laceleaf Japanese Maple), mostly because it's grafted, but also because it looks like the Cousin It of plants. And I totally acknowledge that it's pretty. Sometimes being pretty just isn't enough.


Note about Japanese maples: those with the most finely dissected leaves need the most protection from sun, because it's the leaf edges that burn and when the leaf is super-dissected, the leaf is all edges.

Good sweeping!


Dogwood in a half-barrel: Fab-u-lous!


Lavatera 'Red Rum'. Too funny. (Where is that kid now anyway?)


I totally bought an iris.


Okay. Now we go to the botanical garden in Tilden Park. All natives.


The obligatory garden sign negativity:


So much, in fact, two signs are needed to contain it all.


But here you see a reason why society needs rules. Some person thought his missing dog was so important to the world, he needed to paste a missing poster on a public sign. (Do you think he'd come back and take the sign down if he found the dog, or would he would be more likely to just leave it there?)

Okay, back to the garden. You read this blog. You know I defer to nooone in my love for California native plants. I am in to native plants. Love them. But I was not all in to this garden. And I'm not sure why.

Maybe because it was terraced by a meth addict?



Or was it this entirely inappropriate and quite extensive non-native, water-unwise lawn? Talk about missed opportunities...


It could just be the time of year. Besides Ceanothus and iris, natives aren't particularly rocking my world right now. But I'm not going to expose myself to charges of hypocrisy by complaining about garden sign negativity on one hand, and then spouting negativity on my blog. I'll just show you some pictures. (You're in a real pickle if you want to complain about negativity. "Geez, you're being really negative about my negativity!"

Here's a huge spread of the Salvia sonomoensis that won my heart on Friday.


They're ready for a big spring sale.


This is something I've never seen before. Fremontodendron californicum 'Margo'. She has the recumbent habit of Ken Taylor; I wonder if they know each other.


Air-layering a buckeye.


Ceanothus. If you need to rejuvenate an old Ceanothus, you can try cutting it almost to the ground. Might not work, but it's a reasonable thing to try if the alternative is getting rid of a treasured plant.


A lot of California looks like this. Weeding this garden must be tremendous work.


Pretty, pretty.



This is the Sierra Madre section; I enjoy it most of all.




Final shot of the fog rolling over the Berkeley hills.


I'm actually not sure if I took that picture at Tilden, or the UC Berkeley arboretum. So I'll use it to make that transition.


Restios in the entry garden.




A cycad.


This is the plant I came here to see, Coreopsis gigantea.


I have one in my garden, but it hasn't flowered yet.

Yeah, I reject Laceleaf Japanese Maples for looking like Cousin It, but I have no problem with this.


This plant is a geek.


Castilleja? (One of my favorite plant names.)


Ribes speciosum. Gooseberry. Thorny. Pretty for shady areas.


More Salvia sonomoensis.


And this time, a picture up close so you can see what it looks like.


The hills around the garden are gorgeous.



In the vegetable garden...cardoon. Not just a fabulous name, but fabulous ornamental potential as well.


This is Calicotome villosa (Fabaceae) from Italy, and it's wonderfully fragrant. Very, very thorny.



Maybe try this at the back of the border instead of an acacia. (No problem, you can appreciate the fragrance from far away. It took us several minutes of wandering around to trace the fragrance back to this plant.)


Some flowers...



UCB has an extensive collection of old roses. Unfortunately, I didn't get any good picutres.


A jacaranda (for Pam):


And more fog creeping over the Berkeley hills.


And we're done with UC Berkeley, and therefore done with Friday. If you want more, we came here last September.

Now, I want to add a couple more things to Saturday. This house is very near the Demonstration Garden. I can't decide if I think these borders are beautiful or hideous.




I can tell they're supposed to be beautiful. But are they? I just don't know.

From here, I went to Woodside to re-visit the native library there. Again, natives not so exciting in early April. Spring is sorta over, but summer's not here yet. That's next month. April is a hard month.

This blue and yellow isn't working for me.


This blue and yellow is.


Limnanthes douglasii.


Then I stopped at Robert's and got a sandwich which I ate in the car. Behind me this guy cantored his horse for awhile which I should have filmed instead of photographed--bad blogger, bad!--but I was too engrossed with my sandwich to be bothered...


That's a lie...I was more interested in checking out the biker dude. Hel-lo, daddy!


Which brings us to today.

Do you have one of these?


It was a surprisingly appropriate Christmas present from a family member. Today, my backyard's microclimate made it to 80 deg F.

Do you think what I did with these rocks is lame?


I've been buying small quantities of rocks for a long time. I need to do something with them.

Guy brought me a piece of this carpobrotus because he sees it at the beach and he thinks its nice. He's from Seattle and he doesn't know this is a terrible weed. If he like is tho', maybe I can use it on the roof. I made some cuttings.


Some flowers...



The cherry tomatoes are the most florific plants in my garden right now.



Pam/Digging said...

Well, where to begin, Chuck? You put about a million photos on this post.

I like those river rocks you're using in your garden. I can't tell from the photo exactly what you're doing with them, but they have a great shape and color.

The border in question (at the house near the Dem. Garden) doesn't do much for me. It's very traditional, though the red jazzes it up somewhat. Definitely not hideous, but I'd want to see more structural evergreens and less busyness in it.

Oh, and thanks for the photo of the jacaranda. I just love them.

lisa said...

Nice variety of flowers! I collect rocks, too...I don't think what you did with them is exactly lame, but I'd have opted for a "dry riverbed" effect instead. I think they add a nice architectural element no matter what you do with them.

chuck b. said...

Sorry I couldn't get a bigger picture of the jacaranda, but it was quittin' time and they were closing the place up.

I can't do dry riverbed because I've spent too much time deriding the dry riverbed conceit of native gardens. It's like a cliche or something out here. Every suburban house with a native garden has a faux dry riverbed. You're right, tho', I have to do better than this. I'm going to go check out some Andy Goldsworthy books and see what I can come up with.

Thanks for coming by you guys!

Annie in Austin said...

You do have a lot of photos to load on one post, Chuck, so I only click your site when I'm not going anywhere for awhile!
Both of the yellow/blue combos looked okay to me. Unlike Pam, I don't think the lipstick red jazzes up the border. It wrecks up the delicate combinations of weeping tree and spring flowers for me.

One of our sons gave us a smaller version of the Galileo thermometer with a temperature range for inside. I like it a lot, especially when some are still floating... the top number is 80ยบ, and once summer has us locked in, even that one has sunk to the bottom.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

chuck b. said...

Yeah, sometimes I feel bad about dumping all those photos in one blog post, but I do this for me too, and I want to be able to click back in the future and have a record of some of the things I saw at what time of year, etc.

Jenn said...

Ugh. Rendered speechless by that last iris... do you have the name of that gorgeous beast?

chuck b. said...

Jenn, I can't. It might not even have a name beyond "Pacific Coast Native Hybrid". You get all kinds of things with native iris hybrids, very few of which get named and enter the nursery trade (because you can't necessarily grow them from seed, so you have to divide the rhizome, and that can take a long time when you're starting with one plant). The best way to find new and unusual irises, imo, is to join your local/regional iris fanciers club.

mmw said...

Holy crap, you had quite a weekend. I must confess I hate Iris. But I love Erythronium -- is that E. multiscapoidem in the Tilden picture?

Also, that little market almost certainly has the best produce in N. America.

Internet Ronin said...

I beg to differ with almost everyone else: I think the border looks fine. It appears to be one set out by the owner himself/herself and I assume it makes them happy as a result. House looks interesting, too, BTW.

I've also been to that market a few times. The produce there is usually better than most places, I agree. Quite reasonable as well.

lisa said...

Chuck, I totally understand "done to death"...for me here in the Midwest, it's when people put a metal headboard and footboard in the ground and plant the flower "bed" between the two. I mean, to each his own, but that just irks the hell out of me!