|Ted Kipping on right, myself on the left. Last March.|
|Geranium maderense at Kippings'|
Ted and Diane's sidewalk view is an uncharacteristic monoculture of Geranium maderense from the Canary Islands (which I first stupidly published as Geranium palmatum). Ted (who corrected me) points out that this is the largest of true Geranium. The pictures were taken in March, but this could have been taken most any month of the year...the danged plant never quits! Ted also emailed me a much nicer picture of the same which I shall post at the end of this post (post-haste!). Fortunately, not by parcel post...Ted also added this note in his email: Some of mine have reached six feet in height along that front fence. They are so deliciously OUT of proportion there and in violation of most tenets of genteel gardening. Was it not Mae West who said "too much of a good thing is just wonderful!" ??
Ted and I regard one another as "Brothers by Choice" ("BBC's") since our friendship stretches back over three decades. I must scan the pictures of this handsome devil I've taken over that interval--he really hasn't changed much. He is the impresario of gardening throughout his region--like Shelley's poets who are "unacknowledged legistlators of the world", plantsmen of Ted's magnitude maintain the bonds of humankind with the Natural world, which he knows better than anyone: from tiny alpines he has pursued around the world, to tropical cloud forest woodlands, there are not many habitats Ted has not photographed and brought back in spirit to his home. As the premier tree shaper not only of the Bay area, but of America, Ted has a special bond with woody plants as well...and his raptor like gaze belies the gentlest of vegetarian hearts. He's near the top of my favorite people...and that garden reflects his uber-Catholicism (in plants that is...)
Most of us would be content with a mere Cinerea, but Ted must have an electric violet blue African gem positively glowing on his porch!
And of course, he has to have the gigantic Azores endemic buttercup (a sort of book end to the Geranium earlier on.) A stroll through this garden is a bit of a whirlwind tour of the whole world.
The pond margins seem to always have a Dierama blooming every time I visit no matter what the season...
|Agave, Euphorbia cf. chacaricias, Trough with raoulia and miniature plants|
A fairly typical vignette with a xeric American Agave next to a xeric Mediterranean Euphorbia, and a bevy of miniatures (knit together with a New Zealand scab plant) in one of his innumerable troughs...
|Pond with mixed treasures...|
I know that looks suspiciously like a Colorado blue spruce on the upper left...orchids and ferns everywhere again...
I can't swear it's not a Ceiba--it could be anything in Ted's garden. And every winter as we drive around L.A. or San Diego you aren't sure if the paper birch will be growing alongside a Bismark Palm tree or a native Redwood.
Stumbling around California horticulturally for me I am reminded of snippets here and there of Andrew Marvel's great poem:
"...what wondrous life in this I lead?
Ripe apples fall about my head
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine.
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach
Stumbling on melons as I pass,
Ensnar'd with flow'rs I fall on grass..."
(from "The Garden" by Andrew Marvel)
P.S. Ted sent me a list of plants blooming in his garden on January 1, 2012: check below his picture...