Monday, March 29, 2010

San Francisco Flower and Garden Show

I wish I could say that I was there but at least I have some images for you.  This link was sent to me by High Desert Diva and is full of stunning images of the show.  I love the living walls and the rolling/shaped lawns and the great use of different types of containers.  Do enjoy!
Mitchell Maher images of the SF Show

Monday, March 15, 2010

Portland Home and Garden Show

At the end of February I dragged my family to the Portland Home and Garden Show.  While my husband chased our toddler around I absorbed design and plants and was extremely in my element.

There were two buildings of home related products (my daughter loved climbing into all the empty hot tubs) and only one building of garden and of course I wanted more.  I have been to the garden show down in San Francisco which was held in the Cow Palace and was huge.  I loved it.  So I had my expectations set a little high for this event and was a little disappointed but as always, I looked for the positive in the experience and got some great ideas out of it. 

The Shop People, an industrial arts club of Portland, had their members displaying their wares and I saw these lovely dog sculptures which I think would be great in a garden.

The next craftsperson I came across really blew my socks off.  Art of Rain does a wide range of functional metal art pieces, mostly copper it appears, that raise the bar on functional art.  I was drawn in by his water sculptures and his downspouts pieces but his catalog shows range hoods for the kitchen, architectural chimney caps and sconces for the interior or exterior.

Here are some of his water sculptures, in the second photo, you can see one of his downspouts in the background - what a beautiful piece!:

These next images were created by Solterra Systems:
What I love about these designs is the use of the unconventional surfaces such as the walls and the roof.  I also love when functionality and aesthetics are married in such a fantastic way. 

Creating a green roof can significantly reduce the heat pool effect that occurs in cities and can also reduce storm water runoff.  In cities particularly, where space is at such a premium, green roofs enable people to have gardens and places to relax they would otherwise not be able to experience so easily.

These next few photos are all surrounding the Idea House and I apologize in advance that I do not remember the name of the designers involved in the landscaping.  Different sides of it showed different styles of design all of which I thought worked very well.

This image shows a great use of space in combining edible plants into the ornamental landscape.  Edibles are no longer relegated to their own section of the garden but can be incorporated into all your beds.
It's difficult to see but it's a mix o perennials, blueberry shrubs and an espaliered fruit tree (which I love).
If you are interested in mixing edibles into your garden please contact me, I would love to help you with that.
 We have made almost a full circle around the Idea House and I love all the modern design elements, especially this blend of rock, grass and metal here in this last photo, it just speaks to me in a certain way.

What you see here is just a portion of the space that The Bamboo Man created for the show.  He had a variety of bamboo product (fences, gates, etc.) and obviously can make almost anything out of bamboo.

 This is a fully furnished yurt as a destination for this more contemporary landscape.

This next one is called Dream Garden and was created by Natural Landscapes, it does look dreamy.

This last one is a sculpture by Ivan McLean:

All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable show and I look forward to more and more shows packed full of plants and design.  
If any of these designs struck a chord with you, please contact me and we can discuss designing your landscape to fully reflect your style.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring has SPRUNG!

With the temperature hitting 50 degrees latey it sure feels like spring is on it's way.  My tulips are beginning to poke through the soil, the insects have started coming out from their winter hiding and I'm thinking it's time to paint the toenails again.
Wait, but isn't it just March?  Yes and this is one of the most unusual winters we've had in a long time but rest assured, the freezing and snowy weather will return, and hopefully before we all become too accustomed to these unseasonally warm days. Though, I am getting very, very accustomed to these nice days and the temptation to forget cold days is getting more and more difficult to resist.  But do remember, the only predictable thing about Central Oregon's weather is its unpredictability.

With all of that in mind, it is time to begin a bit of the spring clean up.  That means its time to trim back all your ornamental grasses and perennials and to get on top of your weeds.  There is a reason weeds are weeds, they are the most tenacious little buggers.  How they could have survived that deep freeze we had in December I don't know, but I'm predicting this will be a bad year for weeds (good for them, bad for us).  Make sure to stay on top of them because with this lovely spring weather they are really get a good start to the growing season.
My favorite weeding tool is the Hula Hoe.  It cuts the bottom of the roots of the young weeds and scraps along through the soil rather well and does a great job in pea gravel.  Just remember to get at the weeds while they are young and then it will be a much easier job.
Here is a picture of the Hula Hoe:
For cutting back your spent perennials such as your daisies, iris's, and the like, cut them back quite close to the root crown to allow room for the new growth.  For your grasses, cut them back leaving 1 to 4 inches of old grass depending on the size of your grass.  Idaho Fescue grass can be sheared back rather shortly, a string trimmer works great for this job. Karl Foerster grass is a larger grass and should have a few inches of old grass left.  You can use a hedge or string trimmer for the bigger grasses but just be careful not to let the string get tangled in the tall grass, that's a mess.

It is also time to prune your shrubs.  The first steps to pruning (same for trees) is to prune out any dead, broken or diseased branches.  Then take a look at the overall structure and see if it needs to be opened up. Some shrubs like to be prune well every year, but others can go a few years without any serious pruning.  
The spring blooming shrubs like Lilac should be pruned right when their flowers begin to fade since they form buds on old growth.  Redtwig Dogwoods are mainly grown for their lovely red color during the winter time, and that good color comes from new growth, so prune those now.  Prune out up to one third of the oldest branches down to the ground for the Dogwoods.
A good website for general pruning techniques can be found at Sunset Magazine Pruning Techniques ( I love Sunset Magazine!).

Now that you have your weeds under control and your plants cut back, it's time to add your yearly application of compost or bark mulch to help suppress weeds, retain moisture, and if using compost, add nutrients to the soil.
If you have fewer plants, just spread the compost around the base of the plants, but if you have a more densely packed area, spread the compost all around.  Remember that plants get their nourishment from the soil and the healthier your soil, the healthier your plants.  Compost is a better option for overall health of the garden.  Synthetic fertilizers are temporary fixes and create fertilizer addicts out of plants and deplete the soil over time.  Using compost and organic fertilizers works to create a whole web of happiness from the worms, to the insects, birds and bees who all work in unison to help you create a healthy and happy garden.

If you have more specific questions about your landscape, or would like to talk about getting a design, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Send me an email from my profile page.  Happy gardening!