Thursday, October 1, 2009

Garden Fever .... An Agreeable Condition

In a reflective mood since receiving the Blotanical award yesterday
for Best California Blog.
Although a few have been deleted, 
the tally shows 130 features on Bay Area Tendrils since January 13th, 2009.
One problem is not yet solved: 
I've yet to convert my library of thousands of slides from garden visits.
 Only a very few have been scanned, like a vignette from
I can never convey the sensory euphoria of fragrance and texture, the light and atmosphere
experienced while alone in the White Garden; totally immersed in its beauty. 

One of my first features included a scanned photograph of the doyen of English gardening shortly before his death: Christopher Lloyd, unphased by the rain, leads us from one garden room to the next on a tour of Great Dixter.
When I registered on Blotanical, I listed Great Dixter as the garden I wished most to see, 
and that I had, in fact seen it.
Actually, not true. 
Garden Fever is an agreeable condition, but forceful in its way. 
There are innumerable gardens I hope to visit, despite fond memories of 
Great Dixter's perfect presentation of Arts & Crafts structure with contemporary panache.

A garden writer can't go wrong when featuring a major historic site of exquisite resonance:
when Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel
 features a stunning Modernist landscape, 
such as the expansive
 in Paris, the response is generally less enthusiastic.
I love every type of garden, perhaps in equal measure.
I'll have to think about it, but this may be the case.

Events such as The Late Show Gardens
.... inaugurated this September in California Wine Country, 
give me reason to ponder and write about important issues such as climate change,
while soaking up ideas, innovative designs, 
and the opportunity to peruse the best of the best new plants.

The photo above - a detail - is from opening day of The Late Show Gardens,
the day after I first photographed 
during the Preview Party. 
Roasting temperatures in Sonoma caused the wall of ice to melt rapidly.

Today in my garden, Scrophularia 'Lemon and Lime' ...
I'm a plant geek, what can I say.
- Congrats to all the Blotanical finalists and winners -

It's a great group, good wishes to my California cohorts!
Town Mouse and Country Mouse
Daffodil Planter
Tulips in the Woods
Cindees Garden


  1. Congrat's to you, Alice, on your Blotanical award!

  2. Alice, I have the same "how to scan all those slides" dilemma. My hub found that a local camera store rents super-high-quality slide scanners (the ones that sell for thousands) by the weekend, for a fairly affordable fee. We're considering it... when we have a weekend to spare.

    Some film processing services also provide slide scanning for a fee... about three times what it would cost to rent the scanner, by my estimate. But they'll denude the slides of fluff and dust for me. And I'd still have my weekend.

    My slides might not be as extensive as yours. Yet they do include a memorable visit to Hidcote Manor, for instance, and lots of documentary shots of my garden in training.

    Dang those wonderful digital cameras. If they didn't exist, we wouldn't have this problem. Tsk.

    And if I haven't already said so (though it's worth saying again), felicitations on your Blotanical Award!

  3. Congratulations Alice. I adore your blog.I used to have very closed ideas about design and modernness. And while I still don't think minimalism is for me,I now appreciate it and get excited about different design perspectives.Your blog introduces me to vistas I would never see anywhere else and I love it for it.

  4. I really love the wild look of the first photograph of white blooms and grasses. And Congrats to you Alice... Cheers, ~bangchik

  5. Congratulations on your 2009 Blotanical Award! Keep up the good work.

  6. Congratulations on the award!
    I think most gardeners, as opposed to garden designers, want to see plants. We love plants, and prefer to see plants center stage. It seems most Modernist landscapes relegate plants to a secondary or lower position, which leaves some of us cold.

  7. Congratulations and Thank YOU! It is so wonderful that you share all this with us. There are so many gardens and ideas that I might never see in photograph or person that you have given me a window into. Oh, and don't fret about the more modern scapes being received less enthusiastically. I glean so many new and wonderful ideas about design and concept from them. It's just high fashion for the garden. LOL

  8. Congratulations on your Blotanical award. I was also asked to register the garden that I most want to visit. It is hard to pick and I can think of a few hundred off the top of my head, how could I pick my favourite.
    It seems that your blog will add many, many more to my list.

  9. Congratulations! I so enjoy your blog, clearly rooted here in California, yet traveling to so many beautiful places. And we're so happy you like our blog ;->

  10. Thanks, Alice! I love seeing the modern gardens/hardscapes along with the plant porn. It's good to mix it up once in awhile and see how others handle their spaces. I think you've created a great balance between the two to satisfy both the plant geeks and design addicts!

  11. Congratulations from one of the most wonderful places in South Africa (see also the new blog Hope to meet in person one day.
    You blog keeps us nicely updated!!!

    Enjoy Life.
    (our life is full of cactus but we don't sit on it)

    Herman & Yvonne

  12. Well done Alice. You're a campaigner!

    Here comes the thorn in your side (I'm changing my name!). What happened to the cactuses in the melting water? Did they survive?

    And, I know this is irrelevent . . . but I've suddenly connected the morderninst gardens with Ancient Roman ones.

    I'm just about to meet someone from a bus. They live one hour's drive from my house (in a car) but it will take me about five and a half hours to go to the bus, meet it and bring them back to our house. (To get to the place where I am meeting them, they have to go an hour's bus journey in the wrong direction first.) Being ecological is very time consuming! You have to go the long way round triangles.



  13. Congratulations and enjoyed your post. Great Dixter is a must garden to visit I must return one day.

  14. Ironically, I love gardens and I love photographing big, lush, vibrantly colored blooms, BUT I don't have a single plant (silk or live) in my apartment or on my balcony. I am the Executioner of Verdant Things (have actually blogged about this). My joke is I can't have living plants because they don't cry, "Mommy, we're hungry! What's for dinner."


    Thanks for sharing, LisaB.

  15. Oh TENDRIL!
    Congrats congrats CONGRATS!!!
    So well deserved - I ADORE your blog and find it a constant source of inspiration, a place to dream, and a garden lover's paradise. I am so happy for you and pleased that the folks at Blotanical gave praise where it is very very deserved!!!
    Big MWAH to you!

  16. Jan, Rob, Autumn Belle, and to all my blogging buddies,
    Your congratulations are much appreciated, even makes me feel a bit squishy, Thanks! ;~D

    Helen, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the slide to digital conundrum. It is a costly proposition: I need to look into renting equipment! Hadn't thought of that option. Isn't technology zooming forward a bit toooooo quickly??

    Shall I call you Jools or Julie...
    The adoration is mutual, my literary friend (btw reading, The White Garden, another fictionalized account of V Woolf & Sissinghurst!!)
    For the longest time, I too, had no interest in contemporary or minimal landscape design/architecture/gardens. In becoming open to the visions of designers, architects, and artists who work without boundaries, my days are enriched and my intellect stimulated.
    That you enjoy the scope of vistas I write about is gratifying - thanks for letting me know.

    Bangchik, You've hit upon the garden's wild beauty ...even in its contained layout. Congrats to you!

    MMD, As a plant lover, some might say, fanatic, I understand how you might feel cold in a garden where plants are not brought to the fore.
    Responding positively to Modernism seems to me like it comes from a place where we're wired differently, perhaps, than the connection occurring when we're faced with the sensory aspects of beautiful foliage and flowers?

    LeSan, Can I quote you!?! High fashion for the garden: I'd concur, an apt way to looking at the work of avant-garde or highly conceptual designers. Grazie, bella!

    Hi Deborah,
    I've got a few hundred on my list, too :~) Or more! I'll enjoy hearing about any that you visit, and promise to keep you posted on alluring settings I encounter.

    TM, my fellow nominee, thank you for the good wishes!

    You've pretty much summarized my attempts to create a balance: one that encompasses a broad range of landscapes & plantings & resources, while expressing my interests ... in every type of garden! As I mention in this post. Glad we've connected...

    Always pleased to see you avatar & to know that I'm in touch with South Africa's Soekershof.. I hope to meet one day, too!!

    When I'm able to get in touch with Peter, I'll bring everyone up-to-date on the outcome of the garden :~]
    And your remark is not irrelevant... if you go back to my feature on Hadrian's Villa for instance, you could probably draw design parallels to Modernism.

    As someone who never drove a car until late in life, that's ME, I can say that I took public transport for decades in Chicago & continue to take buses in Northern California, where Everyone is rooted to their vehicles
    (numerous ones for each activity - truck, SUV, family sedan, cars for each kid)!
    I compeltely understand how one takes a long way round to go from point A to point B. We're the only people I can think of in our circle, with one tiny economy car which is rarely used.
    Tom bikes and walks everywhere. I walk, bike, take buses, and on occasion, we drive our car for an outing. It sits for days in our garage, and believe me, in California this lifestyle is rare, indeed. Now, I am not claiming here, to be poster girl for living right, but we do our best.

    I think we're on the same page....are we not, my friend?

    I'm with you. Would love to return to Great Dixter... maybe we'll run into each other?

    Hey LadyW, thanks for dropping by and owing up to being Executioner of Verdant Things..... has a certain ring to it!!
    Keep commenting.... can't get enough of your PRAISE, mah deah ;-D

    Do appreciate that you're checking in all the way from Mexico!
    Good thing you can stay connected to the blogsphere while working in lovely Merida. I don't know how I'd get by without your enthusiasm & affection.
    Back at you, sweetie!!

  17. Congrats on winning best California blog! Very well deserved. I love the photo of the arbors at Spain's Alhambra Gardens.

  18. Hey Susie and your devoted canine pals, the arbors' photo is particularly enjoyable on rainy winter days. Thanks for sending Congrats up north!

  19. Congratulations on your award Alice! I voted your blog for Best Design, too. Love your blog, you make me want to visit all these beautiful gardens!

  20. Congratulations on your well deserved award, Alice! I also voted your blog for Best Design...congrats on having it in the finalists group. Your photos entice me to visit all these beautiful gardens.

  21. A mutual friend in South Africa told me about your blog so I had to stop by. You've been to so many wonderful gardens, some of which I've seen too. Summer before last I got to England and saw a number of great gardens including Great Dixter.

    I garden in Berkeley California. One of my all time favorite gardens is nearby in El Cerrito, called the Harland Hand garden. If you have photos you've taken there I'd love to see them. It used to be available for most Garden Conservancy open days but not for some time now.

    I have a lot of catching up to do but I'm enjoying what I've seen so far. Thanks for blogging.

  22. Hi spf!

    Welcome, my East Bay cohort! I have written about the Harland Hand Garden, and have wonderful photos. Unfortunately, the images are all 35 mm slides and I've been unable to convert them to digital images, as I have thousands in my library. Perhaps one day.....

    Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.