Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 Fling - a hidden San Francisco garden

Imagine living in downtown San Francisco. Your apartment is probably modestly sized, has no balcony, and its windows mostly open onto a noisy street. Outside the front door of your building is nothing but harsh sidewalk and asphalt.

Now imagine an oasis of foliage to sooth you from the city's noise and hard edges. It's hidden inside the courtyard space created by your building and several others near it. You can look down on its calming green canopy from the back windows of your apartment, and better yet, you can hang out in this unique garden because it's part of your shared outdoor space.

Our first stop on the 2013 Garden Bloggers Fling is the environment that two talented designers have created in the Organic Mechanics Garden - a formerly neglected courtyard between several multistory buildings. Their unique and quirky approach to the garden and its design has resulted in a fascinating space that all the residents of the building are welcome to enjoy.




Unexpected touches of whimsy and delightful salvage solutions are everywhere.





Seating areas take advantage of the dappled shade.


Xeric potted plants are strategically positioned in the few hot and sunny spots.



The designers employ small trees and subtle wire supports to add structure and divide the spaces into outdoor rooms.



Areas with deeper shade hold lush foliage, water features, and more seating.








And always, there's the unexpected, like this top hat holding a bunch of black Mondo grass...










...while the high, overhead canopy shelters the space and adds to the serenity of this secret garden.

My takeaway from the Organic Mechanics garden was that you can re-purpose almost anything as garden design fodder. While salvage items aren't the first thing I think of for path, pot or design elements, these designers had the vision to integrate salvage perfectly into a whole that was far more than the sum of its plants and parts.

20 comments:

  1. Wonderful space with lots of love and humor! The top hat with the black mondo grass is so fun!

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    1. Anna, you would have loved this garden!

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  2. I love this garden and your pictures of it are great! I totally missed that chair with the gothic arches on the back. Thanks for taking me back to this magical place!

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    1. It's lovely to relive our visit there a month later. I found things in my pictures that I'd forgotten and even details I hadn't noticed at the time!

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  3. Oh, I love using salvage items for pots, it's my first choice. I have plenty of the usual pottery and Fiberglas pots, but I just love the unusual. You've posted some great photos. I've seen a few posts about this garden, and you managed to get some angles on things that I haven't seen yet. Well done.

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    1. Thank you, Alison. I was having a bit of trouble with my camera in the beginning and gummed up some pictures I'd have liked to have. But I had enough to enjoy for a post!

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  4. My favorite salvage item in this garden were the candle sconces made of abalone shells. The designers really have a knack for repurposing in a creative way.

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    1. The totality of the creativity in this garden was amazing. I loved that it seemed so affordable, too.

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  5. That is a great view of the defunct brothel wall...I loved that old painted sign.

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    1. Leslie, I didn't hear that it had been a brothel - how picturesque. I loved that ghost of the sign on the wall, too!

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  6. A lot of great captures from this wonderful garden, which was one of my favorites on the tour!

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    1. It was one of my favorites, too, Jason. Wish my pictures had done it more justice!

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  7. This is so great--you have so many pictures of vignettes and areas I hadn't seen in the other write ups.

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    1. There was something everywhere in that garden, Heather. None of us has shown more than a big taste, really.

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  8. Your writing adds so much to this post. I had not caught on to the communal nature of the space before, and you paint a picture of this as a haven within the urban setting.

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    1. It really felt removed from the hubbub of the city, Ricki.

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  9. Love seeing your post on this garden...there were so many details...I feel like I just scratched the surface. It's fun seeing these posts now, it's like having a second visit :-)

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    1. That's been the cool part about so many bloggers posting on the gardens, Scott. Each person sees it a little differently, and each post gives me a fresh angle from which to enjoy it.

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  10. What a wonderful story for this garden we visited! You found so many charming details, but especially I love your overall picture of this in-town garden.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. The story simply unfolded for me as I revisited my pictures. Possibly it's the plus of waiting so long to post about it?

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