Flying with an almost six month old was nerve-racking, but Zoe was great. No crying and lots of sleeping. Ripping up and trying to eat the Skymall magazine provided lots of entertainment. Our flight to SF arrived 30 minutes EARLY and we flew in down the coast over Marin and then over the city. Our old apartment is pretty much below the plane in this pic. The golden gate bridge is peeking out at the top of the pic. To top it off our luggage popped out in less than five minutes.
Our first stop was Flora Grubb Gardens, which is looking amazing as always. Did you know that the Edsel was in this spot before Flora?
Love the new vertical bromeliad hangout. Matti needs to build us a plant pole for our new epiphyte collection when we move back.
Before we hit the road for Pacific Grove we stopped at Java Beach for our favorite sandwich. We left our big camera at home, so we only have phone pics. We’re both still instagraming like crazy at faroutmegan & fofmatti
Last Friday before I headed to the San Francisco Botanical Garden I had to pay a bill, so I took a different route to the muni stop than normal to hit up a mailbox. I busted out my camera when I saw this awesome example of a succulent planter. Lots of different colors and textures, plants that are practically impossible to kill in our neighborhood and common enough people won’t steal them (succulent theft is a problem here).
Super Sweet Succulent Container
Then I saw this in front of the next house and kind of freaked out. Seriously? Agave attenuata ‘Kara’s Stripes’ and a bunch of other cool plants thoughtfully arranged in containers. There are tons of succulents in our hood, but not usually put together with this much care.
The Container Craziness Continues
Wholly crap, it doesn’t end! Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ looking hot next to a golden Sedum with a dark purple Aeonium backdrop. Then something crazy happened. The owner of the house was out front saying good-bye to visitors, saw me freaking out taking tons of pictures and invited me out back to check things out.
Look at the beautiful raised bed down the center full of edible greens! This is how I envisioned our garden in a perfect world, but we drew the line at messing with hardscaping. As renters you have to draw the line somewhere.
Kalanchoe 'Fang' & friends
Dudleya pulverulenta (I think)
Man, this is embarrassing. You’d think I could easily pick out the difference between D. pulverulenta and D. brittonii by now, but I can never tell unless the two are both next to each other. My guess is for D. pulverulenta since the leaves don’t seem as narrow as the brittonii.
Big thanks goes out to Alan who let me check this fabulous garden out. I didn’t get to meet his wife/garden designer, but she did an amazing job!
We’ve been eyeballing this project all last summer. Just down the road from us along the Great Highway, there are some old garden plots marked by narrow one-foot concrete borders. Most of them are abandoned and overgrow, but I remember that this garden circle was re-established about 2 years ago mostly with succulents. You can see above what a 30 minute cleanup can accomplish…below is what this succulent circle was looking like before we popped in.
Before...end of summer.
These garden circles have a lot of challenges to overcome. First, it doesn’t rain here in San Francisco during the summer. The only irrigation they see is the fog drip that rolls in around May and lingers until Fogust (August is the foggiest month). Second, salty winds can be fierce here. This garden is only a stones throw to the ocean and lots of salt spray can be found in the air. Lastly, it all sandy soil in these parts. Sometime so much sand blows in, that they close down the Great Highway until the sand plows can get it removed.
Car full of succulents.
We loaded up the car with some of our succulent cuttings and that giant agave baby from out backyard (mostly crassula, sedum, aloe and aeoniums). They all should do pretty well in the well draining sandy soil and summer drought. I’m not certain about the salt in the air, but we see these types of plants growing nearby. I’d say these new succulents have high odds of surviving.
In about 30 minutes, we weeded out the crap, shifted some of the existing plants around, and planted most of our cuttings and that big fatty Agave americana. There was so much sand piled up on this dune, that we really couldn’t get the concrete circle to expose…but that could be another project day.
Two months later.
After a slow start, it finally started raining this winter and this succulent circle should start looking lusher. We can’t wait to check in over the next couple of months to see how it’s coming along.
Can we say that Urban Bazaar Rocks!?! Since last time we visited them on 9th Ave and Judah in San Francisco, they added a whole new aspect of coolness called the Succulent Bar. You come…pick out your pot, pick out your plant, and do it yourself…leaving the mess to them. Hey, it’s a great way to make those cool gifts you always wanted to give, and funstar #1 to make. Or just keep for yourself….shh your secret is safe with us.
Pots to select.
Seeing the Succulent Bar for the first time during the Inner Sunset Fair, I was impressed that they’re offering Urban FarmGirls pots available for your sweet succulent babies. UFG is top notch in my book. They make the best hypertufa pots, bar none…light weight and with an attractive rustic-mod feel.
Ton O succulents.
Here’s where I love to gaze…the succulents. All from growers that obviously cares about succulents. Bold and colorful textures.
Crested Echeveria Doris Taylor.
Okay, now you sold me. Really? You have a cresting Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor’ in a two inch pots? No way! They’re always doing fun events at their place so great way to keep up to date is via their facebook & twitter.
I’ve gotta admit, that I’ve resisted the term ‘top dressing’ for a long time. Hey, I don’t mind mulching my pots with rocks, sand, or wood bits…but does it really have to be called top dressing? Starting a new term today… Hydro Accumulating Topper… aka H.A.T. Yes, now it’s time to add a HAT to your succulent pot.
Wait for it...and...done.
There you are. One awesome score from Urban Bazaar. Every DIY Succulent Bar planting is unique and for a fraction of buying all those bits in bulk for yourself. Click for more Urban Bazaar fun.
Is the grass greener on the other side? Well, our neighbors have been clearing out a lot of the junky weeds and getting it prep to do something with it. Their challenge? What to plant, little time to spend, & and not sure where to start… Well, we decided to jump over the fence to our neighbor’s yard to plant some stuff and do a little maintenance.
Before we get going here, I want to mention one of our regrets. I wish we took more pictures of our garden back in the day, especially the crappy looking parts. There’s nothing better than seeing an old pic of your yard and being able to say…wow…it real does look a lot better…I can’t believe that it looked like that back then.
That said, here’s their before picture. You can see a couple of the succulent cuttings that we plugged in last winter and that’s about it. Not too exciting, but it was a start.
Last February, they did a major attack on the hip height weeds that were smothering their yard and you can see that the baby weeds are coming back. First thing we did was just do a quick razzing of the sandy soil to get reclaim the garden again.
A little cleanup and it already looks better. Plus we planted a bunch of rejects that both Megan and I can get from work. The rejects are not bad plants…just not looking their ‘retail’ best.
On the other side of the yard, we kept the Zantedeschia which seem to be thriving on this shadier side plus the neighbors love them.
To keep the momentum going, we popped in some of our iris that we divided from our garden.
Here’s the Fortnight Lily (Dietes vegeta) that plucked out of our garden ages ago. We dug it out of our garden and put it at the curb for someone to take. Little did we know that our next door neighbors thought it was cool and replanted it in their space. LOL, we could have saved them a couple steps and just passed it over the fence.
Today, the north side is looking pretty sweet, and those Blue Chalk Stick succulents (Senecio mandraliscae) are coming back. Considering how fast they grew in our yard, they should quickly fill a lot of this space. We are trying to teach them a good solution to the “Hey, we’re on a budget and can’t buy everything at once and need bang for our buck.”
Here’s what you do: Divide plants that grow fast to get some good fill. Keep an eye out for freebies from your friends and neighbors. Keep looking for deals on anchor plants at your local nurseries. Over a short time, your garden will impress your buddies.
Our garden back in the day.
Our two apartment backyards are nearly identical. Ours above, man…I can remember back to when we were amazed how awesome it looked after weeks of experimenting with plants back there. I estimate that this pic was about 3 years ago.
Our garden recent.
Today, it looks crazy. One thing I can safely say is that if you think it’s cool now…wait a couple months. It always get better.