Tag Archives: landscaping

The Hortensias of Biarritz

When I left Rockridge I was only a little sad to be leaving behind my beloved hydrangeas just as the season was getting started in earnest.  To my great surprise and delight the southwestern coast of France and the north coast of Spain are virtually covered in them–and in every size, shape, and color imaginable (cone, mophead, lace, blue, purple, magenta, light pink, green).  In France they are most commonly called Hortensia. They are prolific and huge–these blooms are bigger than a human head.  Unbelievable.  I found the Hortensia especially striking in Biarritz, where they cover hillsides and line the boardwalks along the sea.

hydrangea1

hydrangea2

hydrangea3

variegated

magenta

deep blue

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Upping the Ante in Oakland–but No One’s Calling

This week’s East Bay Express contains an examination of some of the “new Oakland;” the real estate development known as the Uptown.  Unfortunately for lawmakers and current residents, the Uptown isn’t drawing new blood to Oakland in spite of LEED certification, “a 24-hour concierge, a state-of-the-art gym, access to Zipcar service, a game room, pool and spa, an on-site Oakland Police Department office, a chef’s kitchen, and a private screening room, all available with a lease.”  Click here to read the full article and reader’s comments.  

I happened to visit the Uptown myself recently.  The lack of rentals certainly isn’t for lack of landscaping.  The Uptown’s “town square” features red bud (cercis canadensis) and tons of wisteria.  The wisteria is young still and will take forever to mature, but I love the effort.  Check it out:

landscapeWhere the wisteria will grow

wisteriayoung wisteria

red-budA row of red bud

red-bud-closeRed bud up close, the Uptown in the distance

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New Bulb on the Windowsill

I took several photographs of A Great Sight in Rockridge to capture the soothing front garden, the gravel, stone spheres, and variety of emergent bulbs.  But when I got home, I found that some of the pictures from my digital camera were corrupted.  I was left without a photograph of the one bulb I really wanted to capture: Muscari, also commonly known as Grape Hyacinth.  The sturdy yet precious little ones in the garden depicted in A Great Sight in Rockridge are one of my favorite things about my walks to College Avenue.  

Although the photographs didn’t turn out, I’m not left without a souvenir from today’s Muscari sighting.  When I arrived at Trader Joe’s I was thrilled to find some in a little twin-tin, already forced, blooming and ready to go.  

Without further ado, I introduce you to the new bulb on the windowsill, Muscari:

muscari

And the sweet, sweet scent is fantastic

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A Great Sight in Rockridge

Daffodils emerging from a gravelled garden with decorative stone spheres in the late afternoon sun.

daffodils

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