Here at the nursery we've been talking a lot about our relationship to nature. I am delighted by my son Greyson's interest in the wild things around him. Whether spotting mourning doves in the heart of the city or playing joyfully in an icy creek in the Sierra (for hours!) or picking peas in his granpa's Napa veggie patch, I love watching my son discover the delights to be found outdoors.
My son, Grey, his dad and his cousins in his granpa's garden in Napa: photo by Grey's Uncle Bill
Even when my office duties keep me indoors for unbroken hours, a spell of five minutes out in our beautiful garden displays here at the nursery can bring me back to the point of all our garden enthusiasm: a gentle encounter with living things.
School's out, our weather has settled down, and we're gearing up for buckets of events this summer. We hope you'll join us for some of them – and for a dose of green beauty. And please tell your friends about our events page.
We're Closed July 4th
Enjoy the holiday!
Sale! July 2 & 3: Select Furniture & Plants
On Saturday and Sunday, July 2 & 3, before our one-day closure on July 4th, we'll have a few things on sale for your long-weekend gardening pleasure. We'll have some clearance furniture on sale 40% off and a select group of plants on sale 30% off.
Fermob clearance sale
We're putting shopworn and discontinued Fermob furniture on sale at 40% off!
Pieces from the 1900 collection will be on sale 40% off.
Select plants 30% off
We're also featuring a few selections of the plants we grow ourselves at 30% off, in hopes of encouraging folks to use them en masse, where they can make a resounding impact. Here are a few of our favorites we'd like to see you try.
Cistanthe grandiflora (sometimes called Calandrinia spectabilis) is a fast-growing bushy succulent from Chile with lovely bluish green leaves and mesmerizing magenta blooms. They're like poppies, and they just bloom and bloom for more than half the year here in San Francisco. In or out of flower, it's a marvelous plant for sweeps and swaths where temperatures stay above the mid-20s F and the plant gets more than a half-day of sun. It's an intriguing cut flower, flowering for days without water!
Here is Cistanthe growing on the Guerrero Street median garden,
one of the toughest locales we know of.
Another massing plant we bring you from our own growing grounds is black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'), quite possibly the most inky-black plant we know. Grassy but not quite – it's a distant relative of asparagus – it spreads slowly in bright shade or sun. It likes moderate water (but will forgive some drought), endures heat, fog and deep freezes, and makes a bold groundcover or an elegant, high-contrast accent.
Occasional blooms lead to shiny dark berries.
For spacious landscapes, sweeps of the century plant, Agave americana, feel almost native here in California. From foggy bluffs to parched inland ranches, their treelike flower stalks, faded and fresh, tower and lean above the sharp pewter rosettes. Each leaf is marked with ghostly impressions of its neighbor's thorns. This agave naturally spreads into clumps, but a manicured scatter can be stately too. Hardly anything can kill them short of mudslides in an arctic gloom. We just adore them.
Agaves on Alcatraz: photo by adinescu on Flickr
Urban Homestead Design Lab
Homegrown, homemade kim chee: photo by K. Ruby Bloom
Part I: Start Homesteading!
Saturday, June 25, 2011: 11am – 12pm, at Flora Grubb Gardens (free)
Rachel Kaplan, co-author (with K. Ruby Bloom) of Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living, and Urban-Homesteading.org
Eager to start homesteading in your urban space? Wondering how to make the small space you have more food-productive? How to begin?
Come learn from Rachel Kaplan about the different elements that make up an urban homestead and how to put them together in whatever space you have. This workshop will offer some basics in permaculture design, as well as how-to projects for the urban homestead. Come with your questions, inspirations and ideas and expect to experiment with a variety of homesteading options to fit your life.
Break 12pm – 1pm
Part II: The Birds and The Bees
Saturday, June 25, 2011: 1pm – 2pm, at Flora Grubb Gardens (free)
From 1pm to 1:30pm, Bryon Waibel, managing partner of Mission District urban beekeeping store Her Majesty's Secret Beekeeper, and his young assistants, will give a demonstration of urban beekeeping.
From 1:30pm to 2:00pm, Priscilla Morris, Bryon's partner at HMSB, will discuss the joys of keeping chickens.
We ask that you RSVP for part I and/or part II so that we can gauge how many people will be coming – but there is no assigned seating and the event is open to all, in case you decide at the last minute. Best to arrive by 10:30am for part I or 12:30pm for part II to find a chair and have time for a cup of coffee.
Dahlias Will Arrive this Friday!
Come this weekend for the best selection of florist-quality varieties
It has been a cool spring so the Dahlias are not in bloom yet, but get them in your garden now for the best late summer show.
Dahlias are the star in this summer bouquet: photo by Emily Gutman
Dahlia 'Show and Tell' – WOW!
Sunday, June 26, 2011 11:00am – 1:00pm at Flora Grubb Gardens (free)
Master dahlia grower Mike Schelp will be here to talk to you about the amazing dahlias he cultivates – and he's bringing plants for you to buy! Soft, sweet pinks and yellow and hot fiery reds and oranges, we love them all! Did you know that the dahlia is San Francisco's city flower?: another excuse for growing this extravagant beauty.
Mike Schelp will share his secrets for growing dahlias like a pro.