Marin IJ Articles
Garden show focuses on climate change, drought and sustainability
|September 12, 2009|
I first heard several respected garden professionals discuss the "Late Show Gardens" a couple of years ago. The unfortunate demise of Napa's Copia, where the show was planned to open last fall, has provided for additional year of planning to make the inaugural Late Show Gardens a not-to-be-missed opportunity. Cornerstone Sonoma is the new host for this exciting and timely garden show.
Back in 2003, Marin residents Robin Parer of Geraniaceae Nursery and Pam Scott, garden enthusiast and former president of the Marin County Master Gardeners, were visiting at the annual spring San Francisco Garden Show. While the gardens were fabulous and engaging, the two wondered about the proliferation of springtime garden shows and the lack of shows at key planting times - ideally fall for our Mediterranean climate. Scott suggested, "Let's do a show."
Their idea took root with gardeners, writers,
landscapers and others concerned with drought, global warming and sustainability issues. A nonprofit organization was formed and interested parties aligned to produce a fall show to showcase landscape ideas that address our long dry summers and mild wet winters while introducing concepts that respect our natural resources.
The first - and, it's hoped, annual - "Late Show Gardens" premieres Sept. 18, 19 and 20 at Cornerstone Sonoma. The show will benefit the Trust of Public Land and the Garden Conservancy.
More than 15 innovative garden designs by local and internationally renowned designers will be featured as well as a variety of speakers and enticing vendors. All the participants are focused on the mission of "Late Show Gardens": to educate the public on improving gardening techniques and designs that address our changing environment including drought by reducing use of water and increasing use of sustainable plants and materials.
So, don't expect a lush display of water-guzzling lawns and finicky tropicals. "This is a serious garden show, dedicated to addressing
climate change, drought and sustainability," according to publicist Kathleen Marmisa. Visitors are encouraged to come with an open mind about redefining a garden through the use of art, creative hardscaping and sound installation: elements that do not require water.
One of the most anticipated displays will be by Peter Good, Liz Einwiller, Adam Greenspan and Sarah Kuehl. Their installation, "Grow Melt," will include a wall of ice 6 feet high, 20 feet long and 10 inches thick. Attendees will experience the effects of ice melting on various plant materials - what will thrive and what will die because of warming temperature as the ice wall melts and the liquid flows into a level planted area. The designers hope to share a dynamic exhibit of climate change - sort of a three-day global warming reality show. It's hoped that visitors will leave with a more-thorough understanding of how our current low-lying desert areas could become wetlands, as snowcaps melt and water levels rise and the importance of reversing this warming trend.Ê
Garden designer Shirley Alexandra Watts, will work with bee expert Jaime Pawelek, architect Andrew Kudless and builder Ross Craig to create "A Garden of Mouthings," a garden complete with a honeycomb structure, bee-friendly plantings and a sound installation based on a poem by Sylvia Plath. Visitors will have an opportunity to seek advice from bee experts and enjoy some honey tastings.
Hugh Livingston, a composer and garden soundscape designer, has partnered with sculptor Phillip Livingston to create a "garden party" complete with music and conversation emanating from life-sized human figures. Oh, and don't miss the talking tomato plants; this sounds like quite a party!
Speaking on a timely topic, Dave Egbert, a horticulturist and volunteer firefighter, will discuss "The Fire-Safe Sustainable Garden" and provide ideas for creating a defensible space using a variety of plants and hardscaping. Recent wildfires should inspire each of us to search for creative ideas to protect our home from the ravages of fire. Don't miss Egbert at 3 p.m. Sept. 20.
Garden writer and photographer Ken Druse will discuss "Garden Art May be the Best Revenge (From da Vinci to Duquette)" at 1 p.m. Sept. 20. Incorporating art into our garden offers elements of color, texture and design that don't require watering.
Visitors are invited to discuss the purchase of design elements used in the installations with the individual designers. Purchased items will need to be removed between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Sept. 20.
The drought-tolerant theme of the "Late Show Garden" closely aligns with the Marin Master Gardeners "Bay Friendly Garden Walk" program, a partnership with the Marin Municipal Water District. Homeowners interested in scheduling a free garden walk consultation designed to offer customized information about water-wise landscaping can call 499-4204. The Master Gardener Web site, http://groups.ucanr.org/MGPG, offers excellent ideas for water-wise plantings and advice regarding fire-prone plants.
IF YOU GO
What: "Late Show Gardens"
When: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 18 to 20
Where: Cornerstone Sonoma, 23570 Highway 121, Sonoma
Cost: $20 to $45
The University of California Marin Master Gardeners are sponsored by UC Cooperative Extension. For questions about gardening, plant pests or diseases, call 499-4204 from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays, or bring in samples or pictures to 1682 Novato Blvd., Suite 150B, Novato.