Sunday, June 30, 2013

Flora Grubb

(photo via

Location: San Francisco

Closing Fling cocktail party
Possible tour of Flora Grubb staff designed gardens nearby
Fun & Shopping

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden event in the comments section below.

Nichols Garden

(photo by Floradoragardens)
Nichols Garden
Location: Oakland

Garden Description by Ann Nichols:
When eco-visionary landscape designer Bob Clark first visited Ann Nichols’ house in the late 90’s, he found a boring narrow walkway along the side that led up from the street to the back yard. Today one is drawn toward a whimsical fence built of tree branches and ropes which Cristo and Robinson Crusoe might have built together. One climbs past gurgling water that passes through salvage pipes onto shells, then along a mini-canal and into ponds surrounded by her personal collectibles embedded in cement. On the wall at the top, a mirror set within a mosaic mural invites the curious visitor into the back yard.

On the other side of the gate, one discovers a yard on many levels, each designed as an outdoor room. The black and silver garden, called the entry “parlor,” is bordered by a wooden fence and two cement walls. Another mirror hangs from the fence, as if to say “you are here!”  Jasmine, a Japanese maple, heucheras, black mondo grass and various ferns create a restful spot for a visitor to sit and enjoy the cool shade.

Going past the patio, one enters the white garden. White digitalis, gardenias, white day lilies and other flowers whose hues range from chalk to cream give this room its color. Up another level lies a lawn, bordered brightly colored flower beds.

Higher on the hill is the Rose garden. Weeping Sequoia, tied together, form an allee  into this fragrant garden underplanted with blue flowered perennials. Forget-Me-Nots, Salvias, Clematis, Irises, and Geraniums color this room, as does the blue star creeper that grows between the patio pavers.

The front garden at the street is the most recently developed. This garden was built around a Canary Date Palm, the only plant that remains on the property from the time the house was purchased 30 years ago. For the most part, there is a subtropical feel here. It is filled with Bromeliads Echeverias, Orchids, Tillandsias and Aloes. The hope was to give passers by a few seconds in the tropics on their way to their busy lives!

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Keeyla Meadows Garden

(photo via

Keeyla Meadows Gardens + Art
Location: Albany

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Dudan Garden

(photo by Floradoragardens)

Dudan Garden
Location: Walnut Creek

Landscape Designers:
BuenoLuna Landscape Design
Floradora Gardens

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Ruth Bancroft Garden

(photo by Floradoragardens)

Location: Walnut Creek

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Testa-Vought Garden

(photo by Andrea Testa-Vought via Pacific Horticulture, as seen in our preview post)

Testa-Vought Garden
Location: Palo Alto

Designed by Bernard Trainor

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Rebecca Sweet's Garden

(photo via Harmony in the Garden, Rebecca Sweet)

Rebecca Sweet's Garden
Location: Los Altos

Garden Design: Rebecca Sweet, Harmony in the Garden

Garden DescriptionI’ve spent the past 15 years re-inventing the garden of my childhood home nestled within the heart of Silicon Valley.  My goal?  To create a secluded, private and deeply personal garden where one can lose themselves for hours, despite being surrounded by such a bustling urban area.
Consisting of several private spaces, infused with childhood mementos from both my own past as well as my daughter’s, my garden is less of a designer showpiece and more like a diary. It’s a place to play, experiment and show my personality - and I love it with all my heart.
Garden HighlightsSucculents mixed throughout lush, traditional borders, including:
-     -  an unusual variegated Octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana)
-         lush stonecrop used instead of mulch
-         succulents and perennials living happily together in windowboxes
-         towering aeoniums (‘Zwartzkopf’ and ‘Cyclops’) at home with perennial borders
-         borders of echeveria imbricata woven throughout, originating from my parent’s first garden over 45 years ago!

Australian plants at home in my garden:
-         Grevillea ‘Superb’, ‘Mt. Tamboritha’
-         Euphorbia ceratocarpa, ‘Glacier Blue’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘Ruby Glow’, ‘Ascots Rainbow’
-         Kniphofia ‘Mango Popsicle’
-         Phormium ‘Sea Jade’, ‘Atropurpureum’
-         Australian Willow trees (Geijera parviflora)
-         Anigozanthos ‘Harmony’
-         Bulbine frutescens

Extensive use of evergreen shrubs and trees (both common and unusual) act as the bones of the garden and provide year-round color, texture and form:
-         Pittosporum (‘Golf Ball Kohuhu’, ‘Wheelers Dwarf’, ‘Tasman Ruffles’, Tobira)
-          Euonymus (‘Green Spires, ‘Emerald Gaity’, ‘Emerald n Gold’, Boxleaf, ‘Moonshadow’)
-          Loropetalum  (‘Purple Pixie’, ‘Ever Red’, ‘Sizzling Pink’)
-          Laurel (‘Saratoga’, ‘English’)
-          Podocarpus ‘Icee Blue’
-          Elaeagnus pungens ‘Gilt Edge’
-          Citrus (‘Washington Naval’ tree, espaliered kumquat, ‘Bearrs’ lime, ‘Meyer’ and ‘Eureka’ lemon)
-          Camelias (‘Scentsation’, ‘Apple Blossom’, ‘Debutante’, ‘Setsugekka’, ‘Yuletide’)
-          Manzanita ‘Howard McMinn’

Grasses and grass-like plants woven throughout:
-         Lomandra ‘Breeze Mat’
-         Carex divulsa (Berkeley Sedge)
-         Carex secta
-         Carex ‘Evergold’
-         Carex ‘Evergreen’
-         Carex testacea (Orange Carex)
-         Blue Oat Grass
-         Blue Lime Grass
-         Blue Fescue (‘Beyond Blue’ – new variety)
-         Sesleria ‘John Greenlee’
    Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.


(photo via Floradoragardens)

A Site of The National Trust for Historic Preservation and a
California State Historic Landmark
Location: Woodside

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Sunset Headquarters

(photo via

Sunset Headquarters
Location: Menlo Park

Sunset sponsor presentations:
Sunset Western Garden Collection,
Southern Living Plant Collection and 
Encore Azalea

Bailey Nurseries sponsor presentations:
Endless Summer Collection and 
First Editions Collection

We also toured Sunset Gardens

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden and the sponsor presentations in the comments section below.

Photo Workshop with Saxon Holt at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum

(San Francisco Botanical Garden's Entry Garden. Photo by Saxon Holt; via SFBG website)

Several Fling attendees hopped on the early bus to the
San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum for a photography workshop with Saxon Holt.

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about the garden, arboretum and photography workshop with Saxon in the comments section below.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dinner at Conservatory of Flowers

(photo via Floradoragardens)

Location: San Francisco

Group Photo, 
Cash Bar,
Catered Dinner, 
Sponsor Presentations, 
Swag Bags and Raffle!

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Wave Garden

(photo by slotharium)
Wave Garden
Location: Richmond Point

Designer: Victor Amador
Landscape Designer: Kellee Adams of Dig-it Landscape Design
Blacksmith: Robert Sharpe

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Fun and Games at Annie's Annuals & Perennials

Fun was had by all at Annie's Annuals & Perennials

We learned all about the latest products by our BLOOM sponsor Dramm.

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden extravaganza in the comments section below.

Matt Gil Sculpture Garden

(photo by Dan Carlson)

Matt Gil Sculpture Garden
Location: San Francisco
Designed by Dan Carlson of Wigglestem Gardens
You can reach Matt Gil at Matt Gil Studio.

Garden Description:
Ahh, San Francisco, full of charm and beauty. Its rolling hills, postcard views, and its diverse neighborhoods full of quaint houses and peaceful gardens. Let’s all take a moment and enjoy that image. Okay, now let’s shift our focus to the Matt Gil Sculpture Garden. Set at the base of a huge rock outcropping, below a freeway, and on the edge of a truly industrial part of town; this isn’t your typical “San Francisco backyard.” 

Artist Matt Gil and his wife Lesa Porche live in a true “live work” home. The upper level is a beautiful custom living space, while the ground floor is Matt’s indoor-outdoor art studio.  Behind all this is the garden. 

The garden, designed and still maintained by Dan Carlson of Wigglestem Gardens, was originally started in 1999 with the intent to create a visually beautiful garden, and a space to be used as a showroom for Matt Gil’s many outdoor sculptures. Utilizing the natural Franciscan Chert rock the garden has been planted to look as though it’s meant to be there, with plantings climbing the loose rocky hill, and even stuck right into sheer rock faces. A 15 foot tall Leucodendron ‘Safari Sunset’ was planted at the base of the main rock wall to act as a screen and backdrop for Yuccas, Agaves, grasses, and flowering perennials; all sun loving, Mediterranean climate plants. The space has several different microclimates hosting varied planting: from bamboo in the shade, Astelias in the morning sun, large Salvias reaching for the midday sun, to yes, our main bed of sun and rock lovers. Plantings have been selected for their visual beauty and to host the diverse wildlife of the area. Birds are nesting, bees are buzzing, and in the calm of the night, raccoons are eying the fish in the pond.  

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Organic Mechanics

Organic Mechanics
Location: San Francisco

Garden Description by Organic Mechanics:
Sean Stout and James Pettigrew are the creative force behind Organic Mechanics, a garden design, build and maintenance firm. They are experts at creating sustainable artistic habitats.  Their own garden, nestled on the edge of the Tenderloin in downtown San Francisco reflects the funky urban aesthetic of its surroundings, while at the same time being an amazing habitat. Visiting creatures include; mourning doves, Monarch and Tiger Swallow butterflies, robins, song finches, swallows and warring humming-birds to name a few. A hawk frequently visits to eat a pigeon on its favorite branch then bathes in our mosaic pond. One day the world’s smallest butterfly, a rare Pygmy Mission Blue, visited the garden. The plantings are lush and varied. 

While many plants were orphaned, the garden includes many rare and unusual plants. Some of these are weeping Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens ‘Loma Prieta’), Peyote (Laphorphora williamsii), a Manzanita native to San Francisco (Arctostaphylos  franciscana) Shamanic sage (Salvia divinorum), a weeping broom that smells like grape cool-aid (Psoralea fleta), and my favorite California native Whooly Blue Curls (Tricostema lanatum). The garden is designed for people to enjoy as well. Special features include stone and mosaic paths (created from recycled materials), many seating nooks and unique garden art. An old wall dog sign on a brick wall says “Owl cigars 2 cents” painted over by “Owl Cigars now 5 cents.” Visitors are sure to fall under the spell of this urban garden’s magical charms.

You can contact Sean and James at

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pre-Fling Cocktail Hour at Shirley Watts

(photo via Shirley Watts,

Landscape designer Shirley Watts graciously welcomed us to her home garden for a pre-Fling cocktail party.

Location: Alameda

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Welcome to gbfSF

Welcome to San Francisco, the 2013 Garden Bloggers Fling has officially arrived!

Brief posts for each garden will be published while we're visiting each one. Some of our garden hosts have provided garden descriptions and plant lists; most have links to designers and organizations to assist you with gathering further information on your own.

The Fling crew hopes you'll link your own blog posts to the entries on the Garden Bloggers Fling Blog in the comments section that follow each garden visit. This way, all Fling participants, and those that weren't able to attend, can follow along in an organized fashion.

Speaking of following along, the official twitter hashtags for the event are:


Registration is on Friday in the lobby of the Westin on Market Street from 8:00-8:45am.
Buses leave promptly at 9:00am

See you soon!
Kelly, Andrea, Maggie, Charlotte & Clair
SF Fling Crew

Saturday, June 22, 2013

what to pack, what to wear

Maggie has already forewarned you to prepare for typically diverse weather conditions in the bay area during your Fling visit. Please see her Dress code post here.

Adding to her informative post is a local weather link to further assist you:

The page has temperature, humidity, etc., as well as an animated fog map, weekly forecast and a bay area map that shows the range of temperatures in areas around San Francisco.
Those with smart phones can retrieve SFGate's weather link to anticipate conditions.
Particular to flingers will be how much hotter than San Francisco it can be in the south bay where we will be visiting Filoli, Sunset, etc. A 30 degree range is not unusual.
Another thing to keep in mind are local garden microclimates. Our dinner on Friday night will be held at the Conservatory of Flowers. After we take our group photo (most likely on the steps of the conservatory), cocktails will be served in one of the tropical exhibits. Plan for a bit of warmth and humidity amongst the foliage there, and keep your eye out for wet floors on grated surfaces. Dinner however, will be served behind the conservatory, under a tent that while unheated, will most likely warm up amongst the body heat of fling participants. 
A fancier dinner than ours occurred at the re-opening of the conservatory back in 2003. Perhaps that article will inspire some of you to bring more formal attire... but most likely not. Besides, I think the catering staff have packed away their expensive china and linens by now.
So, best to wear comfortable layers and sensible shoes. Fascinators optional. 
Vicki shows off her fascinator at the Seattle Fling, while Mary Ann and Lorene show their approval.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

après fling

After a long day of flinging, dinner and entertainment is up to you.

The financial district can get a little desolate after business hours, but here some places that aren't too far away by foot, bus, or BART.

This list skips chain, formula, and in-hotel establishments, and is composed of:
a) bars I've rigorously tested;
b) places I've walked by to and from work enough times to feel like I've been there; or
c) places that I can think of off the top of my head

A J Ferrari

Italian deli, for takeout and prepared foods
688 Mission at 3rd St, a few blocks away.
Mon-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm
Sat 9:00am-7:00pm
Sun 10:00am-6:00pm


Inside the Westfield Shopping Centre

845 Market St, a few blocks away.
Cupola Pizzeria, 11:30am - 9:30pm daily. Check for reservations online.
Straits (asian fusion), Sunday - Thursday: 11am - 9:30pm Friday - Saturday: 11am - 10:30pm. Check for reservations online.

Authentic Mexican food, margaritas
75 Yerba Buena Lane, between 3rd and 4th St, at Mission, across from Yerba Buena Gardens
Friday 11:00 am – 10:30 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 10:30 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 10:30 pm

The Tempest

Bar, with food

431 Natoma St
Mon - Fri: 11:00 am - 2:00 am
Sat: 12:00 pm - 2:00 am
Sun: 10:00 am - 2:00 am

New soul food, bar
25 Mason, at Market and 5th St, walk, cab
friday-saturday from 530pm-11pm
sunday 530pm-9pm

In and around South Park, good walk, cab, or bus

Small Foods, high-end grocery deli and prepared foods
522 2nd St
Mon-Fri 7 am - 9 pm

South Park Cafe, French bistro (small, intimate seating)
Friday 5:30–9:30 pm
Saturday 5:30–9:30 pm

North Beach, Chinatown, the Mission District, Hayes Valley and pretty much all other SF neighborhoods have a cornucopia of restaurants, but are further away.

One example:

Esperpento, in the Mission District, for tapas, sangria and dinner.
Take BART four stops to 24th St Mission station, walk two blocks along Mission St. to 22nd, order sangria.

Just want a drink around people who couldn't identify Ficus microcarpa nitida if their life depended on it?

Try finding nearby Tunnel Top, 601 Bush St:

House of Shields, 39 New Montgomery St:

Otis, 25 Maiden Ln:

Or Dave's, 29 3rd St, as mentioned in an earlier post.

See you all soon!