Tuesday, June 16, 2020

BEFORE AND AFTER in Sunnyvale, California -

This amazing garden transformation took four years to establish.  The front entryway to this house was re-envisioned with sun-loving, drought tolerant evergreen perennials, shrubs, and trees.

The homeowner's idea to repaint the house colors made the entire space more appealing when viewed from the sidewalk or street.

The above photo, taken in Spring 2020, 
shows the garden four years after the 
installation of Teucrium chamaedrys 
(WallGermander), ornamental grasses, 
and a small Olive tree.

 The above photo, taken in 2016,  
shows a background of tired yellow 
Japanese Forest Grass that didn't feel lush 
or inviting to walk by.  In the foreground, 
one gallon Teucrium chamaedrys 
(Wall Germander) were just beginning to be 
introduced through the garden spaces.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Ceanothus 'Valley Violet'

A reliable, hardy, low growing, sun tolerant, low water needs Ceanothus that blooms from early March through April.  Bees cover the flowers throughout the day. 

See more of this garden by clicking on the links below.

Houzz:  https://www.houzz.com/projects/1824679/mountain-view-california-wong-residence

 Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/pg/TaprootGardens/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10156061227915549

2019 March 14 - Ceanothus 'Valley Violet'

2019 March 14 - Ceanothus 'Valley Violet'

Arctostaphylos ‘Dr. Hurd’ (Manzanita)

A durable California Native shrub/small tree with clusters of pure white blossoms from January through March.  Eight specimens of Arctostaphylos 'Dr. Hurd' Manzanitas grow in the Miller Garden, in  San Jose, California.  See more photos of the Miller garden here:  

Houzz:  https://www.houzz.com/projects/2833938/cambrian-park-neighborhood-miller-residence

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pg/TaprootGardens/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10156089216985549

 2019 January 24 -
Arctostaphylos ‘Dr. Hurd’ (Manzanita)

 2019 January 24 -
Arctostaphylos ‘Dr. Hurd’ (Manzanita)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn' Manzanita

Spotlight on:  Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn' Manzanita

April 2017, after the winter rains of 2016, the apple green leaves of Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn' Manzanita illuminate the garden in the spring.

What it looks like underneath -  In June 2017, the same (above) Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn' Manzanita, just two months later, began peeling, showing its rich burgundy colored bark.  The surrounding leaf fall happened simultaneously with the peeling bark, and the Manzanita shed all of its old growth in one orchestrated event.  The amount of water received during the winter no doubt boosted this process.

May 2018, a year after the bark peeled, this (above) Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn' Manzanita is once again healthy and vibrant, and a valuable jewel in the garden.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Willow Glen, San Jose - Boulders, Grasses, & Groundcovers

This lovely garden in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood was re-designed and planted in October 2016 to take advantage of the winter rains. The original hardscape, lawn, and all trees were retained, and low water grasses and boulders were added. Moss and lichen covered Sonoma Fieldstone Boulders added structure, while Mendocino Reed Grasses and Autumn Moor Grasses added softness to the front entry.

Sonoma Fieldstone Boulders were used to display hand carved pumpkins during Halloween, October 31, 2017.
A large Sonoma Fieldstone boulder, with unique features, was added to the entrance between the driveway and the walkway.
A close-up of one of the large Sonoma Fieldstone boulders, with its unique features.
A mix of large, medium, and small Sonoma Fieldstone boulders were 'planted' in the soil throughout the garden.
Moss and lichen covered Sonoma Fieldstone Boulders amidst Mendocino Reed Grasses and Autumn Moor Grasses.
Moss and lichen covered Sonoma Fieldstone Boulders amidst Mendocino Reed Grasses and Autumn Moor Grasses.
Moss grows naturally in pockets and cracks in this Sonoma Fieldstone Boulder.

Mendocino Reed Grass (Calamagrostis foliosa) and Yerba Buena (Satureja douglasii) groundcover fill in bare spots around rocks & boulders.

Friday, February 10, 2017


The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has a rebate program for removing turf and replacing it with landscapes that require little water at California single-family residences to support the State's drought response.

> Visit the Water Rebate Program Page to Apply

Monday, August 1, 2016

Wong Residence in Mountain View, California

This modern, dynamic project in Mountain View, California was designed by Taproot Garden Design & Fine Gardening and skillfully installed by the team at Best Construction in the early Spring months of 2016. 

The homeowners needed a modern upgrade on their outdoor garden spaces to allow for social functions in a clean and comfortable environment.  This fully realized Master Plan is also a great example of material and texture combinations, including wood, cut-stone and concrete, all working together to create pitch-perfect atmosphere. Low water, low-maintenance and drought tolerant plantings add an organic softness to the abundance of modern lines.

The removal of dried out lawns from both the front and back yards gave way to new Connecticut Bluestone patio and pathways, concrete planter beds, dramatic Ipe-wood fencing, large raised planter boxes, and benches, metal and wire trellises, edible plantings for the family, and perennials perfectly suited for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

See the detailed Master Plan and site pictures below.

One translation of the name "Wong" in Cantonese is the color Yellow and corresponds to the element of Earth, is considered the most beautiful and prestigious color. The Chinese saying, Yellow Generates Yin and Yang, implies that yellow is the center of everything. Yellow signifies neutrality and good luck. 
- wikipedia.com

 April 25, 2018 - Bright perennials and fruit trees replaced hedges of unproductive square shrubs, changing the environment to a rich ecosystem for pollinators and small wildlife.

April 25, 2018 - New matching Ipe wood raised planter boxes were built on either side of the front door, giving the homeowners space to grow more berries, vegetables, perennials, and succulents.  A sleek new walkway now exists between the driveway and the front door, giving the family a shortcut when time is of the essence.

April 25, 2018 - Lemon, lime, and orange trees in the front yard are surrounded with bee-loving perennials. Pollinators allow for impressive fruit production in this healthy garden.
Salvia 'May Night' and Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) in their second year in the garden.
April 25, 2018 - Monrovia's Salvia 'Black & Bloom', Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), Achillea 'Moonshine' (Yarrow), Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower vine on trellis), and Iochroma cyanea.
Verbena lilacina 'De La Mina'
Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower vine) grows up a new metal and wire picture-frame trellis, custom built by Best Construction.
Young honeysuckle vines grow up a new metal framework trellis.
Instead of a fence, the homeowners opted for a custom metal framework trellis with honeysuckle vines which, in time, will create an area of sweet scents to mask any odors from the trash and recycling bins.
Beautiful Ipe wood fencing surrounds the deck and offers privacy from neighbors. 
A string of lights is hung above the deck for evening relaxation outdoors.
A young Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead' (English Lavender) grows next to a bench.  It's bouquet of aromatic flowers is a treat in the summer heat for those sitting next to it.
Iochroma cyanea is an evergreen perennial shrub with trumpet-shaped summer flowers that attracts birds, bees, and other pollinators.
Iochroma cyanea blooms profusely from June through August and then intermittently throughout the year.
Iochroma cyanea's tubular flowers are best viewed up close.  These are placed in concrete planter boxes on the deck, to be appreciated by humans and hummingbirds alike.
Low water and low maintenance garden
New Ipe wood fencing, raised planter boxes, and benches set the tone for this beautiful, modern back yard.
The warm brown Ipe wood contrasts with the gray components of the house and garden structures.  Where once a dried out lawn existed, a new Connecticut Bluestone patio is now in its place.
Ipe wood fencing adds a rich, warm hue and dramatic texture to the background.
Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower vine)
Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower vine) grows up a new metal and wire trellis, custom built by Best Construction.
Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower vine) is a host plant to the orange Gulf Fritillary butterfly and caterpillars.
Going vertical in a narrow space with planter boxes saves room, especially useful during small parties and barbecues.
An abundance of herbs and peppers grow in an Ipe wood raised planter box next to the barbecue. 
The air conditioning unit is hidden by beautiful Ipe wood fencing.
The kids' playhouse sits around the corner from the main dining and entertaining areas.  Right next to their playhouse their favorite fruit (strawberries!) grows in an Ipe wood raised planter box.  This picture highlights the playful combination of materials, shapes and textures in the landscape.
Fragrant Lemon Verbena and strawberries grow next to the children's play area.
Entering/exiting from the gate, the brown Ipe wood and gray concrete colors are seen on all sides, balancing the gardens warm tones with cool tones.