Origin Story

At one time I was a young, Cal Poly SLO, Landscape Architecture graduate with thoughts of entering the business. At the same time the internet was coming into it's own with opportunities for designers, developers, product oriented folks, entrepreneurs etc. To make a long story short I was wooed by technology into a career making things with bits and bytes rather than crafting outdoor spaces. Of course I never lost my original passion it's just become a hobby rather than a career and maybe that's for the best.

Earlier in life as a boy I was introduced to plants by my mother and later as a teenager by my Aunt who in hindsight gave me great latitude to tear up the yard and experiment. I'm not sure what event triggered a real interest in gardening but as a boy I always enjoyed creating imaginary worlds constructed of dirt, mud, rocks and water. At some point I added plants and increased the scale. As a young man of 19 I joined the Army as a 'Combat Engineer' after realizing I just wasn't interested enough in school to do well. For a few years the only real exposure to gardening was the occasional 'extra duty' tasks that included maintenance around the barracks. I remember once spending a bit too long on that task and getting teased in a high pitched falsetto for 'gardening'. Oh the shame! While still in the Army I stumbled on a book about water gardens and noticed one of the photo captions referenced a person with the title of 'Landscape Architect'. I felt as if I'd been struck by lightening. I had no idea such a profession existed! From that point onward with a crazy sense of excitement I knew my destiny and possibly felt a sense of purpose for the first time.

Over the last few years I've dived headlong into landscape succulents like aloes, agaves and cacti. These plants do well given our plant zone (10a - 9b) here on the SF mid-peninsula. There's some intersection of practicality, architectural form, beauty (and oddness) that's kept me coming back as a gardener, designer and more often now as a collector. Walking the line between collecting and creating a garden suitable for the whole family is filled with compromises. The collector in me veers toward a "Noah's Ark" approach, buying anything that catches my fancy regardless of whether I have good home for it in in my yard or not! The garden designer in me wants to practice fundamentals like repetition of plant materials - harder to do when your collection has one of everything. My family generally has given in to my hobby but still want garden elements like a lawn which has grown harder to justify over the last several years of drought here in California. We've compromised by keeping a smaller lawn - one just big enough for the dog to chase a ball.

Starting a blog now is perfect timing. Over the last few weeks we've removed most of the old garden and finally implemented a design that incorporates many of my collected plants. I'm looking forward to watching them grow more quickly now that they've been transplanted from the harsh environment of their hot, black, plastic pots. There's still empty space to fill and new plants to buy - not such a bad problem to have. Happy gardening!


Popular Posts