Category: gardensPage 2 of 3

Huntington desert garden

The Desert Garden at the Huntington Gardens is my favorite desert garden anywhere. I’ll do a fuller post on this another time.

A late spring

Spring has come late for us in the Bay Area this year. Ordinarily our spring is around Groundhog’s Day. Now, after an extremely dry January and February, with…

A volunteer

This handsome fellow planted himself in one of our walkways. But what is it? My guess is it’s some kind of verbascum.

Pool garden, year four

Here’s a glimpse of the swimming pool that became a garden, now in its fourth year -hard to believe it’s been that many already.

New garden photos

the garden in april 2010

Took advantage of the nice weekend weather and worked in the garden. This year our problem is that everything’s filling all the spaces and getting crowded. We’re going to have to be fairly ruthless.

Took some photos and posted them to flickr. Click the image or follow this link to my flickr garden set.

First tomato

We’ve had several cherry tomatoes, but this is the first full-size tomato of this summer. Always an event!

Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar

Since converting our swimming pool to a garden we have had a lot more wildlife around. This year two pair of kestrels have taken up residence. We also have a lot of butterflies, beas, and hummingbirds.

This caterpillar is a swallowtail.

Maltese Cross

This year our garden has been a little deficient in red flowers. An exception is the Maltese Cross, which produces large globular composite flowers. These are doing well. Above you can see them in the garden; below is a close-up

Another garden panorama

This is the garden from the narrow side, looking west. Clevr had trouble with this image, so I just stitched it in Photoshop.

Hey! I see a weed!

Pool garden, year 2 panorama

Panorama of pool garden, year 2 on

We actually took a step backward this year, in a way, because we expanded the garden by taking out more concrete, and so we undid some of our work from last year. But the garden recovered nicely and is doing well, especially considering our cold, gloomy June. The monster plants on the right are tomatoes, which are already starting to bear fruit.


bee, garden

We have many bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds in the garden this year.

pool garden, year two

pool garden, year 2

This year we decided to expand the garden that used to be a swimming pool. We broke up the decking that used to surround the pool.

Expanding the pool garden

The pool garden — the garden that used to be a swimming pool — turned out so well that we are expanding it. We hired a guy to…

Thai hot peppers

thai hot chiles

How bad has our drought been here in the San Francisco Bay Area? It’s been so dry that we were able to let our Thai hot chili peppers dry out on the vine. I harvested them just the other day, in January!

Pool garden after four months

the swimming pool garden in august

In April we filled in our swimming pool and turned it into a garden. This is what the garden looks like at the beginning of August.

Verbascum bombyciferum ‘Arctic Summer’

Verbascum bombyciferum ‘Arctic Summer’ is a kind of mullein native to the mountains of Greece, but it makes quite a spectacle of itself in Bay Area gardens.

Perhaps the most attractive feature of the place is its large, wooly, silvery leaves, which grow in an attractive succulent-like (although the plant tolerates regular water) basal rosette pattern.

Pool garden after two weeks

pool garden at two weeks

Well, three weeks, but we were away on vacation for one. Recently we filled in our swimming pool, which has now become a garden. I had some plants in containers waiting to be transplanted, and I’ve planted a bunch of other stuff as seeds. The garden is still a little raw, but I’m reasonably happy with the progress so far.

Hearst Castle gardens

Hearst Castle offers five tours covering different parts of the buildings and grounds. One of these is the garden tour. The gardens are not spectacular, but they are decent examples of the mediterranean style.

At this time in spring, lantana is a prominent feature.

lantana at hearst castle

American Soil and Stone: Local Hero

  Mr. Vista has finally finished filling in his old swimming pool, which was built in the 1950s. He topped up the job with some local hero veggie…

Trees of San Francisco

San Francisco was hardly a forest before the swell in its population in the mid-nineteenth century — it was mostly coastal dunes, scrub, and marshland. The city’s most…

Miniature Chinese landscapes at the Conservatory of Flowers

To celebrate Lunar New Year, the Conservatory of Flowers is presented a display of penjing, the miniature Chinese landscapes that were the precursor to the Japanese tradition of…

Viola “Etain”


Cold and rainy as it’s been, January and February are the best time to prepare Bay Area gardens for spring and summer bloom. With its yellow flowers edged in purple, I think “Etain” is one of the prettiest violas, and it does really well in our area. Highly recommended. You can get it from Annie’s Annuals.

Gardener’s summit in San Francisco

This weekend (Jan. 26-27), a gardening symposium will be held at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park. The main focus is sustainable…