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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label San Francisco. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label San Francisco. Show all posts

      Wednesday, March 23, 2011

      west coast window boxes

      No, this isn't NYC.

      I'm sorry you've been stuck with two out-of-town posts in a row, dear readers, but now is when professional gardeners travel...before the time comes for planting pansies and heavy lifting.

      I high-tailed it to the west coast last Sunday, where spring has most definitely already sprung. This morning, Cayce and I tweaked the window boxes in front of a truly wonderful restaurant in SanFran: Sons & Daughters. They have 25 feet of container display in front of the restaurant and Cayce keeps it beautiful all year long. She rotates plants in and out as needed, and I'm amazed it looks this good. In NYC I'm afraid passers-by would pluck from the boxes; street plantings everywhere have to be tough.

      That's not all Cayce does for Sons & Daughters. Twice a week she harvests edible flowers, microgreens, herbs, and delicacies like baby radishes and white alpine strawberries, and brings them into the restaurant.

      When we ate there on Monday night (a most memorable meal), she pointed out her visible (borage flowers) and invisible (agastache infused oil) contributions. The lamb, by the way, was superb and the tasting menu with wine pairing is a parade of deliciousness that won't break the bank.

      As we harvested calendula, pansies, arugula flowers, and cornflowers in the rain this morning, I realized how ready I am to get back to the gratifying work of planting. New York City, get ready. It's time.

      Sunday, March 22, 2009

      City by the Bay

      Warning! This post is NOT from the Big Apple.

      I'm in California speaking at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, and I've spent lots of time on the streets, checking out urban horticulture in the City by the Bay. I'm sure I look like a child, marveling through my camera lens at the most casual street plantings. But the plant palette is so different here (San Fran is Zone 9), I just can't help myself.

      Which would you rather see by the subway tracks: rats or poppies? It's a tough choice, I know, especially for a New Yorker, but I'm going to say poppies.

      And check out the woody trunk on this prickly pear! This is a street tree that LOOKS tough enough for New York City, although I doubt it would withstand our freezing winter temperatures. True, there are perennial Opuntia (prickly pears) hardy to NYC, but I'm pretty sure this isn't one of them.

      Jasmine growing up a tree in the middle of the Mission district.

      Tibouchina in front of a nursing home.

      And in bloom right now, all over the Bay Area is Ceanothus (aka California lilac). Blooms are generally shades of blue and purple (there's also a white variety) and bees love 'em. The fragrance resembles that of Heliotrope, i.e. intoxicatingly delicious. Sadly, most of them aren't hardy for us back in NYC, although a few less blue, less beautiful relatives are listed for zone 6. It's a new shrub for me and I hate to say goodbye. Anyone know a blue Ceanothus for zone 6?

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