Yesterday our design department took a field trip to the 33rd Annual Spring NorCal Trade Show in San Mateo. This was our first time at the trade show and while it was primarily geared towards nurseries and retail stores, we learned some new trends in the landscape industry that could benefit our clients. The highlight of the show was a seminar by gardener and landscape photographer, Saxon Holt.
We’ve all seen live ladybugs for sale at nurseries. Once set loose in the garden, they eat annoying little pests, like aphids, leaf hoppers, and scale. They offer a natural alternative to chemical pesticides that can pollute our soil and water and the veggies and fruits we are trying to grow. Apparently, due to some bad weather this year, ladybugs will not be as prolific this year. We are in luck, as we learned the green lacewing will swoop in and eat even more pests than the cute ladybug. Each larvae of the green lacewing can eat up to 1,000 aphids per day. Compare that with the 50 aphids one ladybug can eat in a day. Besides eating aphids, they eat mites, thrips, moth eggs, and whitefly. The larvae of the green lacewing will eat for 21 days in your garden until they hatch into delicate, green-winged dancers. They continue to reproduce in your garden until they can’t find any more pesky aphids to eat. 1,000 to 4,000 larvae of the green lacewing are available by mail and come in batches delivered to your door. You can read more about them here: http://organiccontrol.com/green-lacewings-1000-eggs/
Amongst many of the traditional ornamental pots at the show, CompoClay showed off their modern, sleek, green designs. They differentiated themselves by touting their eco-friendly raw material that has the ability to look like stone, clay, metal and wood, while still being strong and safe for humans and the earth. Their line ranges from vertical walls to modern sphere planters, to rustic urns. Their prices also seemed competitive with the traditional glazed pots of the same stature. Here’s more information at their website, http://www.compoclay.com/
Be on the lookout for the newest trend in groundcover roses. This new line of true groundcover roses is called ‘Drift’ and it is available in seven colors. We’ve always used the ‘Carpet’ rose as our go-to groundcover rose because it is dependable, easy to care for, and a prolific bloomer. It gets tall canes from time to time that have to be removed in order to remain low to the ground, but the ‘Drift’ series is said to solve the problem. This series is a cross between big groundcover roses and miniature roses. They are said to stay at 18” high and 2 to 3 feet wide, perfect for smaller gardens or to brighten up a small spot in an already established garden. http://www.conard-pyle.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/drplants.splash
It was an informative day ended by an even more informative seminar given by Saxon Holt, famous garden photographer. His presentation focused on how to take really good pictures of gardens so that we can show off the beauty of California gardens. In California, it is difficult to take successful pictures because of our harsh sun. Whether it is a planting combination you love or the serpentine line a path draws you through a meadow, you must have an intention with each picture you take. Mr. Holt supplied all the photographs to the most recent East Bay MUD book, Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates of the San Francisco Bay Region. This is a beautiful, informative and practical book every Bay Area gardener should have on the shelf. He said the best way to inspire people to make beautiful gardens is to take beautiful pictures of them.