Opening Night: San Francisco Flower and Garden Show

at the show

With my friend Candace wearing our beautiful Hawaiian leis.

Last night was great fun.  I attended the opening night celebration of the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.

We were ravenous when we first arrived, so we took a cursory look, then found the buffet.  Sated, wine glass in hand, we sat near the podium where they announced the winners.  Then we were off.

She showcase gardens are incredible works of art, combining plants and trees with hard-scaping. The effort it takes to install one of these gardens is monumental, but by the time we arrived, all was in place and looking fabulous.  These shows are always crowded, so one of the best parts of attending last night was the smaller gathering of people. The downside is that we missed the commerce portion of the show, vendors selling garden-related fare as well as plants and seeds.  I don’t *need* a thing, but it’s always fun to look.

There are 16 gardens displayed this year.  American Community Garden Association created one of the designs.  Three colleges, including  Academy of Art University, Arizona State University and Foothill College presented collaborative efforts.  The rest of the garden creators are professional landscapers and designers.  They were all beautiful and incredibly diverse.

Here are a few (Note: the photos are mine, the descriptions come from the show program).

Sanctuary Steppes

Remember how excited you got as a kid when you used Mom’s bed sheet to make a tent in the backyard? You and your buddies thought it was the coolest thing ever. Yurts will have that effect on kids. As adults, our needs are more. Imagine a garden sanctuary where you enter a realm that soothes and calms. The healing plants or herbs are not just ornamental. Inside the yurt you touch the earth. You can even gaze at the stars through that opening. The paths are for walking meditation. The open courtyard and fire pit are for story telling late into the night. Other sculptural elements awaken us to be mindful of many things.

garden yurt
Sanctuary Steppes
Garden Hortica, Jeffery Lim
Healing Spirit Plants, Richard Koenig
Village Yurts

The idea of a yurt in the middle of a garden sure sounds like fun. I love the surrounding paths and the beautiful plants.


We are Inspired by the boatyards of the Northern California coastline. Like these yards, we use materials that are readily available, practical, and that we can find at low-cost. These materials include discarded decks, arbors, play structures, tailings, and concrete forms, and many, many fence boards. We bind these materials with metal fasteners and use them in new ways to create space, pattern and texture in our garden. Inspired by marine spirit, practical materials and modern lines, our garden introduces a refreshing style to the Bay Area garden.

McKenna Landscape Leslie McKenna

Anchored: McKenna Landscape
Leslie McKenna

garden bench

Anchored: Trying on the garden for comfort


Anchored: the long view

There were so many clever ideas in this garden. The top of the outdoor bar incorporated nautical rope under a piece of glass (see photo collage, bottom right). They used anchors and seashells throughout the design and beautiful reclaimed wood. The garden was warm and comfortable.

Days Gone By

Days Gone By demonstrates how a garden can embody the unique character of a place’s heritage while incorporating modern details that evolve and enliven it. All details were selected with functionality in mind. The paving in the garden is original cobble used in San Francisco streets in the 1800s, evoking a feeling of wandering through the city in humbler days.

We both took a turn on the garden swing and loved the cozy appeal. Everything in the garden is edible, including the cat grass planted beneath the swing.

Days Gone By

Days Gone By
Hortisculpture Landscape, Rebecca Pollon
Extol Construction, Edwin Moriarty

Days Gone By: Espaliered fruit trees

Days Gone By: Espaliered fruit trees

I have more to share, so please stop by again soon. Meanwhile, what do you think so far? Can you picture yourself in one of these gardens?