Last night I attended the Gala that opens the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. I think there are a number of gardens that are particularly interesting this year--more than in recent years.
The SF GRO garden, made to represent the essence of urban food gardening and community gardening, is very charming, including, as it does, vegetables, herbs, and flowers in raised beds, a (nonworking, I imagine) beehive, a compost bin (to which some of the other exhibitors have already contributed), a graffiti sign by a local graffiti artist, and a bottle tree. Yes, a bottle tree. It is a custom of African American gardeners in the South to put bottles on the bare limbs of a tree "to catch evil spriits." This one, done by a local artist, has flowers etched on the bottles.
In many gardens, recycled materials are used well, including the garden by Urban Resources, in which everything is recycled but the plants and others that include recycled paving, retainng wall, and sculpture materials. Some of the sculptures, recycled and otherwise are whimisical and wonderful. There are garden lights in one garden made from pairs of kitchen drains. The University of Arizona garden has spectacular sculptures and dramatic plants.
In other gardens, there are tunnels with waterfall walls, innovatiove paving, and, of course, a wide variety of ornamental plants, most with labels.
Be sure to check out the Sunset display, in the South Pavillion (outside of the main garden area), which has succulents in containers on a patio back to back with a meadow based on a new lawn substitute which is a Carex (a sedge).
More details and plant names in future posts. I will be back at the show three more times before it is over.
Learn more about the show at www.gardenshow.com