Vintage California: Stunning Display Garden

Tuesday night I attended a preview of the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. This year’s show features 16 display gardens in addition to plants, seeds and other garden wares for sale.

Vintage California won several awards and it’s easy to see why. Designed by Brian Koch of Terra Ferma Landscapes, the garden features an enormous orb built with discarded grape vines. I felt like a kid in a fort.

The structure is both ethereal and substantial, a bit reminiscent of a nest.  I’m picturing birds swooping in and out of the branches while I sip my crisp glass of wine, below.

From the show’s site, Vintage California:

is a response to the wine country landscape and the periodic clearing of vines that have lost favor or popularity. This removal of vines is a process where large excavators scrape the landscape clean of the vines, posts and wires and then pile them up to be burned. Witnessing this take place while visiting wine regions has left a strong and lasting memory with us. The rustic beauty of the region and the interdependence of the winegrowers, the vines and, now, the natural ecosystems are what inspire us. The vine orb, which is the centerpiece of the design, is constructed of old vines that have outlived their value to the vineyards.

Vintage California

Vintage California
Terra Ferma Landscapes
Brian Koch, designer

I don’t know if it was intentional, but the row of grasses, planted on a gentle slope, are reminiscent of rolling hills of grapes. My in-laws had a small vineyard in Calistoga before they passed. I think they would have enjoyed this.

Underneath the vine orb

Underneath the vine orb

Inside the orb a low rock wall flanked both sides, with a small fountain between stones.

centered under the vine orb

Centered under the vine orb

A clever use of sea glass and discarded wine bottles forms the floor of the garden. I was a bit tentative walking on it, but it proved substantial. Isn’t it pretty?

plant markers

Clever markers, hand-stamped on scraps of wood

Throughout the garden, plant-markers sported hand-stamped descriptions on what looks like small scraps of wood. It added to the vintage vibe.

garden exit

Exiting the garden

The garden, planted with greens and purple hues and the incredibly fragrant Jasmine is restful. Congratulations to the designer and his team.


If you live in the Bay Area, there’s still time to attend the show. It runs through Sunday, March 23rd.  Tickets and info here.

8 thoughts on “Vintage California: Stunning Display Garden

  1. I agree with you. It’s easy to understand how they won. I love the cozy feel inside the orb. The reuse and re-purpose of natural things including wine bottles is always a wonderful thing. Do you think they need any extra bottles? I’d be willing to empty some. I have always loved Grapevine wreaths but don’t see that many these days. I would hate to see them all burn but I guess it has to be that way. Thanks for the photos. It was fun to see the show a little. 😉


    • So thoughtful of you, Marlene, to empty your wine bottles. 😉 Why didn’t I think of that?!

      I’ve never seen a grapevine wreath…or perhaps I have and didn’t know that that is what it was. I agree, it is sad to think of the vines set afire. Interesting inspiration for his design.


  2. This is really thoughtful and incredibly lovely. I help out once a week at a local vineyard and farm and can’t wait to share this with the owners.
    I’m thinking I’d like to create a little vine globe in my garden. And a fig tree globe, and a blackberry cane globe, and if I can swing it, a whisky distillery globe.
    That last one might prove impossible, but I’d settle for an old copper still as garden art.
    Lovely stuff!


    • Oh how fun for you! Please let me know what your friends think.

      I don’t have access to vines (nor the space) but I’m really intrigued. I might just craft a tiny one for the fairy garden. Lots of thought and skill went into this design. I love it.

      Thanks for stopping by.


  3. I think that structure is really cool, especially because they repurposed the vines. It looks giant too. The amount of labour and creativity put into these displays is stunning. I really gravitate to the low meandering stone walls that lead you there too. That would have been the
    Holy Grail of forts as a kid wouldn’t it? We always used to build a fort in the yard, in the corner of the fence with the car blankets. My favourite was an tattered old Orange fleece blanket because it gave a great glow inside. Almost like the pumpkins we sat in at the pumpkin patch. Sigh, what a fun day 😀


    • I love that about this, too. And I too like the low stone walls. It’s just perfect in every way.

      We were always making forts, too. What fun! My boys used to make forts behind the couch or if we got our hands on a big box. Chris took nearly everything out of his room to add to the fort. It was hilarious.

      I like the image of the orange glow in your fort. And what fun we had at the pumpkin patch as well. Funny, I was just thinking about that the other day.


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