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.

San Francisco Flower and Garden Show

Guess where I’m going tonight?

I’m off  to the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.  It’s not longer in San Francisco, but in nearby San Mateo, but that is beside the point.  It is so much fun.

I’ve attended this event in the past, but tonight is different. It’s the opening night celebration and a first peek at all the show gardens.  Here’s is what the show coordinator has to say:

Be the FIRST to stroll through the fabulous gardens and gorgeous floral designs BEFORE the Show opens its doors. The party takes place right in the showcase gardens. Be greeted to the gardens with a floral lei compliments of the Hawaiian Islands.  Sip a glass of wine as you stroll among the flowers. Listen to music by Grammy-award winning musician Ken Emerson and his band. Chat with the designers, enjoy hor d’oeuvres and watch the presentation of the coveted design awards before they are announced to the public.

Proceeds from tonight’s event supports the American Community Gardening Association: “Creating Community Through Gardening

ACGA is a national organization of professionals, volunteers, grassroots gardeners and supporters of community greening in urban and rural communities. The Association recognizes that community gardening improves the quality of life for people by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, conserving resources and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy, employment and education. To learn more about the organization visit their website at

I’ll have lots to share later in the week so be sure to check back.  Meanwhile, here are a few photos from last years show.

succublent globe

Larger than life globe covered in succulents

garden seating

Garden seating


Whimsical waterfall

sleeping spot

Restful sleeping under the stars
It always sounds good, but about those bugs…

succulent garden

Succulent garden