In an alley in the South of Market district of San Francisco, steps away from Bloomingdales and the Old Mint, with a hip Vietnamese restaurant for a neighbor, our own Clarke de Mornay has created a harmonious, fascinating, and – especially – welcoming container garden behind his flat.
ABOVE: Cactus, kalanchoes, euphorbias, and tillandsia air plants look oh-so-pretty in Clarke’s collection of pottery, including one, at center behind the red pot, from Esther Studios’ Death Valley color line.
ABOVE: Tillandsia lovers freak out when they first see Clarke’s garden: it’s full of many different varieties, all thriving in the bright, protected urban setting, surrounded by three-story buildings. They combine beautifully with prickly-pear cactus (Opuntia sp.) at left, and Aeonium ‘Rubrum’ and a succulent cylindrical senecio at right.
ABOVE: A variegated tradescantia scrambles carefree behind Clarke’s Tillandsia seleriana and a collection of agaves.
ABOVE: Despite limited space, Clarke’s collection of trees, including a Cussonia transvaalensis, at left, and a spiny-trunk Ceiba speciosa, at right, play a key role in his garden’s design.
ABOVE: A spritely tillandsia cluster nestles into the lower leaves of an imperial alcantarea bromeliad from Brazil, at left. Tillandsias echo the rosette spirals of Aloe polyphylla and Aloe arborescens at right.
ABOVE: Driftwood is the home for an adorable cluster of thriving tillandsia air plants.