The “Other” Japanese Maple

The full moon maple’s Latin name, Acer japonicum, actually seems more Japanese than the Japanese maple, Acer palmatum. It’s native to Japan, of course. To confuse things even more, there’s Acer shirasawanum, also called full moon maple, sometimes considered a subspecies of A. japonicum. The ‘Aureum’ variety is an incredibly beautiful tree that’s incredibly difficult […]






Read More The “Other” Japanese Maple

R.I.P. big manzanita

Our Dr. Hurd manzanita has been in decline for three years, after growing vigorously from a small five gallon plant to a four foot tall shrub.  Leaves in some stems began to look thin and dry. I started a bit of water in summer, just hand watering on cooler days. This seemed to help, for […]






Read More R.I.P. big manzanita

Using irises in the garden

Our last post was about enjoying your irises; this article is about how to use them to best effect in your landscape design. Pacific Coast irises can be a bit fussy if they’re not in their preferred coastal climate, depending on which species were used to breed them. Some species come from the foothills, and […]






Read More Using irises in the garden

Elements of design in nature | elements of nature in design

Line, form, color, texture, contrast, pattern, repetition, movement. All elements of design to consider when creating a built landscape. Finding and studying them in nature helps us recreate them in gardens and understand natural relationships of elements of a harmonious concept. These scenes juxtapose chaos (willow branches), pattern (grasses, water plants), direction (some willow branches, […]






Read More Elements of design in nature | elements of nature in design

Design for time

Landscapes, unlike buildings, aren’t really complete until many years have passed. They go in the ground only as potential, the design something that will complete itself with time. The plants will grow, surfaces will acquire patinas, unexpected things might happen. These photos were shot around January of 1999. It’s now January 2016, seventeen years later. […]






Read More Design for time

Autumn in the Central Valley

Did autumn come late this year, just as everything else arrived in advance? It’s been a warm year, and cooler temperatures were late to arrive, waiting until mid-November to put on the chill. With low temperatures finally hitting the high 30’s (high fives in celsius, more fun to say) the leaves flipped their color switches […]






Read More Autumn in the Central Valley