top: it seems all the flowers on this sloping meadow lean in to admire Verbascum olympicum, Hillsborough.

above: pink Oenothera and lavender Nepeta soften a collection of succulents, Ashbury Heights.

below: a friendly rivalry between clusters of purple verbena and trumpets of orange-red epilobium waken a late summer sidewalk bed, Duboce Triangle.

design      installation      consulting      journal      projects      seeds     

August 2017

*it's that time of year again, I will be out on vacation until early September...

Summer is well underway... as I type, I am at the desk for the last time before heading out for vacation. In San Francisco the last couple weeks have given us days so overcast I lost my sense of time. I will surely miss that outdoor air conditioning feel as soon as my truck passes the Carquinez Bridge. When I return just before Fall arrives, that blast of marine influence you get when you reach Vallejo will be the 'breath of heaven' (aka Coleonema).

And speaking of Fall (the best time to plant in the Bay Area), now while you're out enjoying your garden, start thinking of plants and designs you'd like to try out when Summer comes to a close.

Would you like to explore a more natural approach to garden design, one that values plants, not as yard decorations but as food for bees, butterflies, birds and the soul? Would you like your garden to reflect and harmonize with this unique part of the world?

If so, you've come to the right place.

My goal is to artfully bring Nature into your garden, in a way that respects the Earth in general, and the Bay Area specifically.
I welcome you to sit in front of a large computer screen and wander about the Garden Together site for some inspiration.

news...  August is coming up, which means I'll be on the road visiting gardens across the country on my drive to New England. To my current customers, if you'd like your garden tended while I'm away, contact me now so we can arrange for you to be covered by one of my gardening associates ... Garden Together's new section seeds has a growing list of the gardens I visited since last August, including  Sissinghurst and Great Dixter and California's Western Hills ... in the same section you can also find California Cottage, the first of my essays on gardening (below are two visual examples of the essay).


July 8 - 10am - pm  Strybing Arboretum Monthly Plant Sale - this month features Salvias, shrubs and Fuchsias. there is no monthly sale in August, but you can always check out the daily sale at the Arbor, next to the bookstore, by the main entrance.

July 13 - 24 - various times  Flower Piano - live alfesco acoustic music, one of life's underrated joys.

July 20 - 6pm - 8pm Strybing Arboretum Flower Piano Members Party - I'll be trying out the pianos this night, playing my own works. Not a member yet? Here's where to find out how to become one.


'California Cottage' incorporates a palette of drought tolerant plants, mixing compatible annuals, various California natives, succulents, grasses and select perennials. above: bold horizontal leaves of helianthus quietly anchor this airy July mix of scabiosa and verbena, Duboce Triangle. below: this Napa yard unfolds in abundant layers as the seasons progress. This photo was taken in June of 2015. (photo credit: Jeff Herwatt)

Nature continues to hand us bold reminders that we are stewards of this planet; that our actions have an impact. What kind of impact we make stems from the sum of our choices. Keep choosing well, and allow me to offer my suggestions.

Dean Ouellette   415-820-1623