Archive for February 2013

Art in the Garden, Bay Area-Style

February 22, 2013

One of the most enjoyable stops on the September 2012 “garden tour” APLD conference was a Bay area garden owned by Gail Giffen and Chris Pisarro in Lafayette, CA. Our tour materials gave this garden the title “Playing for Art’s Sake,” and that felt pretty accurate. The sculpture selections are eclectic and whimsical – from tiny metal marching “ants” at the foot of a large tree draped in a Marcia Donahoe “necklace” of carved wooden spheres, to a “motorcycle creature” hiding in the grasses on the outskirts of the back yard. The garden was designed by Michael Thilgen at Four Dimensions Landscape Company. Pisarro and Giffen, who sits on the Board of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, were incredibly gracious hosts – mimosas and snacks were on hand! I’ll let my photos tell the rest of the story.

Vegetable Gardening with a Master

February 8, 2013

Rosalind Creasy is known nationally and internationally for her inspired landscape designs that use herbs and vegetables ornamentally. So it was a special treat to be given a private tour of her home garden during the APLD conference in the Bay Area last fall. Creasy explained how finding substitutes for more traditional plants (e.g., rosemary shrubs for boxwoods or other low evergreen hedging material) enabled her to win over her neighbors – and at the same time the design world – in her early years working in the garden. Now she lives in a residential neighborhood in the Bay Area with chicken coops in the front yard and edible plants framed within  more traditional settings – patios and arbors, raised planting beds and “parterres” of rosemary.

In our mid-Atlantic region, there is a renewed interest in raising vegetables in our gardens, so having the opportunity to see Creasy’s home garden was an inspiration. (OK, so rosemary shrubs would be a bit of a stretch here. But her encouragement to the designers on our tour to search out heirloom vegetables and think outside the box was wonderful). For more information about Creasy’s books, a link to her blog, and lots of useful advice about vegetable gardening, check out her website.


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