June 25, 2013

Design Week SF - a Week in the Bay Area

A bronze lion stalks prey in front of a giant Chilean Gunnera at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. 

Thanks to everyone who came to my talk and presentation at HOWlive Design conference today!
I look forward to meeting with you throughout the event!

A late nineteenth century ornate bronze vase by Gustave Dore (1882) which represents an allegory of the annual wine harvest in France,  contrasts nicely with the contemporary design of Hertzog & de Meuron. Plants selected are
naturally architectural such as Gunnera and Date Palms. This is brilliant placement, with the bronze tones, a balance of simplicity and complexity.

Pleached trees are rarely seen in America, but I can appreciate the time it takes to cut trees back like this, and even the overall look. It's not for everyone but it's a method of maintaining size and conformity popular since the 1700's. Often seen in Paris and Europe, it does take annual heavy pruning, a difficult task when trees are this size, as seen in the courtyard in front of the California Academy of Sciences ( note it's famous green roof, those domes with the plant material on them).

The super tall growing Impatiens sodenii lines the sidewalk which leads to the botanic garden. This is an impatiens which can grow to 6 feet tall, and here, it is evergreen. I grow it in the greenhouse, and bring out tubs of cuttings for use in the garden during the summer.

A Cineraria species ( stellata?) carpets the ground under trees near the botanic garden.

Many people are shocked to see date palms in San Francisco, but it's Mediterranean climate makes the area ideal for such desert plants that can take moisture during their  dormant period.

A great pond, with giant Gunneral growing in clumps.

A great lawn near the entrance of the San Francisco Botanic Garden invites people to lounge.

I am so tired, I need to crash for the nigh, as I am presenting a speech in the morning. Once I am done with HOWlive design Conference, and Design Week, I promise that I will post more soon, especially since Thursday and Friday I am taking as personal vacation days - and then, taking in the Garden Bloggers Fling on Friday and Saturday. Stay tuned!


  1. Oh how I love those plantings! Last time I was in San Francisco in March I collected a pocketful of Impatiens sodenii seeds. The resultant seedlings are now summering with my parents in Michigan while I am off traveling but will hopefully grace a bright, cool window this winter.

  2. looking forward to the rest! just back from sf myself, did posts on annies annuals in richmond and flora grubb (yesterday). for anyone who's interested.


    and why can't we have more pleached and pollarded trees in the u.s.? makes so much sense to me.

  3. Anonymous10:58 AM

    I love your blog. You called the trees pleached...I believe they call it pollarded.

  4. Dang, you're right! Pollarded - I should know that - jet lag, I guess! We pollard the lindens next to our garage.


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