So You Think You Can Dance?

•February 20, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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Street dancing has been around for years and continues to be prevalent in urban areas as not just a form of physical exercise and competition; but as a form of expression and art. Popping, break dancing, locking and hip hop dance styles can be seen in subways, public streets and urban spaces around the country and encourage interaction from the spectators or other dancers around. Social in nature, street dancing is often improvisational and allows the dancer to expressive themselves in a creative and artistic way. Just as we design gardens and create art installations and pieces, street dancers invent and preform their own form of expressive art.

Sweet Inspiration

•February 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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Over the past few months in our studio, we have been making different art pieces with dried paint. Partly as we thought it would be a great use of the medium in a nontraditional way and partly because we had so much paint lying around we needed to do something with it. We pour it on the floor, into dishes and onto other objects and then let it dry. We then pull them up and use the forms to put on larger sculptural pieces. They are turning out to be really interesting.

While strolling through the streets of New York once again, we came across a cake shop and saw some cookie cutters in the window display. Our light bulb turned on and we purchased a few sets to bring home and fill with paint for another piece.

Please do not worry, for we are not sitting around the studio watching the paint dry.

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N.Y. Cake and Baking Dist. – 56 West 22nd street – New York, NY 10010 – 212.675.CAKE www.nycake.com

Made in Morocco

•February 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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While on a recent trip to New York, we journeyed to the Mosaic House, a New York tile company that specializes in beautifully colored tiles from Morocco. What we found was a plethora of wonderfully arranged tile displays that could be suitable for any application. The have tiles made from ceramic, cement, stone all for use in interior or exterior installations. Some were carved wood or chiseled patterns in ceramic all hand made and rich with color. Just a short visit in the Mosiac House made me want to start planning my next vacation to Marrakech!

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Mosaic House Inc.
62 West 22 St.
New York, NY 10010

212-414-2525
www.mosaichse.com

Diamond in the Rough

•February 15, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Most people do not venture out into the industrial Bayview district of San Francisco to explore the neighborhood, let alone travel out there for plants…until recently. I almost would like to keep it a secret but that would be impossible due to fame and press of it’s existence already. Flora Grubb Gardens, on Jerrold Avenue is truly a fabulous place filled with amazing plants, quirky furniture and a knowledgeable staff to assist people of all types that venture out there for the foliage of their dreams.

We go there for inspiration, to see new and unique plants for our gardens and to show our clients some other plants besides the typical species that they are used to. Upon walking in, large metal lotus sculptures that once grew out of the Black Rock Desert, now serve as bicycle racks for the non-driving visitors but there is plenty of parking in the surrounding area for you to fill your cars to the brim with lush green plants. I think the Ritual Coffee cafe inside is icing on the cake!

Flora Grubb Gardens: 1634 Jerrold Ave, San Francisco, CA – 415.626.7256

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Bleeding Oak Tree

•February 15, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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While visiting a project site in Marin County with our favorite arborist’s Ray Moritz and Janel Yoshimoto this morning, we came across some oak trees with symptoms of Sudden Oak Death (SOD). We noticed a spot on the bark that appeared to be “bleeding” with a thick sap which is a common symptom of SOD. Sudden Oak Death has been killing native oak trees along Northern and Central California’s coastal communities since 1995. The disease is caused by a pathogen called Phytophthora ramorum and there are two host for the pathogen: bark canker host and foliar hosts. Diseased oaks and other tress are often attacked by other organisms that end up killing the tree and we found out today that it would only take about 48 little bugs to kill a beautiful heritage oak tree. I guess it takes one bug to penetrate through about 3″ of girth of the tree and when more and more bugs begin to penetrate the tree then it see’s the white light at the end of the tunnel and begins it’s slow descent into tree afterlife. Amazing how tiny little critters can take the life of an old and massive tree. Not all trees will die and the rate can vary from tree to tree depending on the health and severity of the problem that persists. There are about 40 other plant species that can be affected by SOD such as rhododendron, laurels and a variety of other species so look beyond your oaks for symptoms of “bleeding” and leaf spots.

More information about Sudden Oak Death can be found at: www.suddenoakdeath.org

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Materials to Make your Dreams Come True

•February 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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We often take our clients directly to the source where we find and purchase our materials so that they can see the options and also be a part of the process of creating their own garden. On this particular rainy day, we ventured to American Soil and Stone Products in San Rafael in search of the perfect stone for a garden up in Lucas Valley. A&S specializes in high quality soil and stone from all over the world and as they state on their website, they provide the materials to make your dreams come true. This time we saw some amazing stone from China among an assortment of other materials that continue to inspire future gardens and installations to come.

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A & S Landscape Materials, Inc.

Richmond Annex Site:
2121 San Joaquin Street
Richmond, CA 94804
510.292.3000

San Rafael Site:
565 A Jacoby Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
415.456.1381
http://www.americansoilans.com

Dodie Thayer

•February 12, 2008 • 1 Comment

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While lecturing last weekend for the Garden Club of Santa Barbara, we were fortunate enough to come across a not so forgotten piece of art from years past. A porcelain cabbage form tureen was on display at the residence that was home for the weekend and when taken apart; became three different pieces. Inscribed on the bottom of the piece was Dodie Thayer, Jupiter Fla and the year it was made. Dodie Thayer remains a mystery to us for all of our internet searches lead to ebay sales and art auctions selling pieces as opposed to any information about the artist herself. Perhaps we should travel to Jupiter Florida to find out more about her…

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