Smart & Sustainable, Green Garden Design, Coaching & Seasonal Maintenance

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

If Annie's Annuals is Mecca, Sunset Mag is Home Planet!

June 29th, 2013: Hottest day in a million years and we garden bloggers hop on our buses in San Francisco and drive to Sunset Magazine Headquarters in Menlo Park! I'm surprised it looks a bit ordinary. I've grown up with Sunset Mag, and it has always seemed bigger than life. It's not. It has offices and gardens and real people you can talk to! I love it!

Sunset Magazine HQ

After a presentation of new hydrangeas, roses and such by Bailey Nurseries, we are let loose on the grounds. There's a social media contest - who can tweet, FB, instagram the most? Guess who? ME!

Orange Garden Accent

Other than that bit of frenzy, I soak in their demonstration garden, which looks like the garden most everyone I know would love! This orange-hooped portal is a big hit,

Living Art

as are these framed plantings (colorful aluminum-framed planting systems for shade or sun, indoors or out by Plantasy). I especially like the use of these bright summer perennials ...

Vertical Garden

and, this version which is composed of plants from the Sunset Western Plant Collectionn (including the first ground cover Loropetalum, "Purple Pixie"... which grows 1' high and 4 to 5' wide ... I'm using it in a new garden installation this week to spill over and soften some retaining walls!!! Excuse me, I digress.)

Pizza Oven

Quiet as can be, this cute, wood-fired, pizza oven by Pizza Forno. minds its business until some one says, "Let's make pizza!"

Garden Shelter - Sunset Style

But, my favorite of all spaces is this garden structure. It was the gold metal winner by McKenna Landscaping at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show in 2012, and so gotta-have-it, that Sunset talked them into re-locating it to their demo garden. I probably have the story a bit askew, but it's essentially true. I was told that Sunset plans to feature it in their January issue. If it happens, remember I told you so! McKenna used reclaimed lumber and old windows, gravel "floors" and the wonderful "Karl Forester" Calamagrostis acutifolia ...

Calamagrostis acutifolia 'Karl Forester'

which gives comfort looking out ...

and looking in.

I'm charmed and taken. Great time at Sunset!
Their gates are open to visitors most weekdays between 9 and 4.

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! 
Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email

1 comment:

  1. Not being from the States, or from California, the Sunset garden was more interesting to me in retrospect than in the actual viewing. Part of it was the heat, wow. I really liked the things you liked, too. Thanks for the background info on them.