We San Franciscans rejoice at the first hints of fall, because they bear the promise of warm, calm days colored by a lowering sun. As the season progresses, and rejuvenating rains begin to fall, it becomes the best time to plant many of the most gorgeous and durable plants in the nursery.
If anyone can capture the mood of an autumn day, it is our friend and landscape photographer, Marion Brenner. She and Zahid Sardar, one of San Francisco's most prominent design writers, have recently published New Garden Design: Inspiring Private Paradises. With its revelation of some of the most beautiful gardens in California and the stories behind them, it has created quite a buzz among our staff - and our customers.
Please join us to celebrate Zahid and Marion's new book at a party here at the store:
September 11, 5:30 p.m. at Flora Grubb Gardens
New Garden Design:
Inspiring Private Paradises
A talk and book by Zahid Sardar / photographs by Marion Brenner
Wine and hors d'oeuvre at 5:30 p.m. / design talk and book signing at 6:15 p.m.
$25 per person, advance reservation until 9/5
$30 per person, after 9/5 and at door
Admission fee benefits the Garden Conservancy.
is a San Francisco writer, editor, and designer specializing in gardens, interiors, architecture and design. A gracious and witty friend to Flora Grubb Gardens, Zahid excels not only in covering design movements, but also in connecting people in the design community. He has written about Bay Area and West Coast design in national and international publications. He has lectured on garden design for the Garden Conservancy and at UC Berkeley Extension. Sardar has contributed to several books and is the author of San Francisco Modern.
is our dear friend and very favorite landscape photographer. Chances are, when you see a beautiful photo of Flora Grubb Gardens, it was taken by Marion. Marion's photographs have appeared in numerous books and magazines, including House and Garden, Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, The New York Times,Elle Decor, the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine and Sunset. In 2002, the Berkeley Museum hosted her one-person show entitled, "The Subtle Life of Plants and People." Marion's photographs are in the permanent collections of the SFMOMA and the Berkeley Art Museum.
Fall blooming plants to delight you
Even with a small garden, you can grow a little of your own food. Here are some fun plants to try even if you live in the fog and have failed with tomatoes. Naturally, these plants are beautiful as well as useful.
Asclepias 'Silky Deep Red'
This beautiful plant has a special gift - as a milkweed, it's the source of food for monarch caterpillars. Enjoy this beauty in your garden, cut the gorgeous flowers that grow on long stems and wait for the appearance of large black and yellow striped caterpillars. The caterpillars are large and psychedelic-looking - it doesn't take much imagination to see that they will become something spectacular. Watching this process is especially fun for young gardeners: a whole science lesson all in one plant! Once the caterpillars turn to butterflies in the fall, the plant should be cut back. It can get as big as 3 feet or more. It may reseed in your garden, and is hardy enough for the entire Bay Area. Deer are not too fond of it. Needs pretty much full sun, but will tolerate a rather dry condition and nearly all our local climates. Enjoy!
Dahlia coccinea hybrids - shades of orange
I love this group of dahlias. They come in deep rusts and reds to bright orange, all with dark red foliage. They are just about as easy as a dahlia can be, with pretty 2 1/2-inch flowers. Deer will not eat dahlias, which is a major plus! Need full sun and regular water. Some folks dig up their dahlias at the end of the season and store them. This is way too much trouble for me. If you amend the soil when you plant to assure good drainage, a tough dahlia like this should do just fine in the ground over the winter and return again, bigger and stronger, in the spring. Dahlias are perhaps some of the very finest cutting flowers for Bay Area gardens. Satisfaction with your dahlias is partly about knowing when to quit. At the end of the season, when they start to show mildew, don't mount a rescue. Just say goodbye until next year.
Cestrum elegans 'Newellii'
A lovely evergreen shrub that seems to have flowers all the time, but is particularly bloomy now, in the fall. The flowers are great in arrangements. It has bloomed equally well for me in full sun and quite a bit of shade. Hummingbirds like it and it grows well in a container or in the ground. In frosty zones, established plants can bounce back as a woody perennial.
Please do join us on Thursday night!
Flora and everyone at Flora Grubb Gardens
*Sorry, we do not ship plants*
Flora Grubb Gardens
1634 Jerrold Ave. at 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94124
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