Saving Ancient Olives – Moving them to Napa

Yesterday we installed nine of these Sevillano Olive trees in Napa. These 80-plus year old trees were located at a site where they would have been destroyed by a new construction project. So we got an amazing deal on them.

Here are some pictures of the guys installing the trees with a crane.

The trees came on flatbeds trucks, three at a time, and we used a crane, a Gradall excavator and a Kuboto tractor to plant them and move dirt around. We dug the holes 3 ft deep and 8 ft wide. It turned out the holes were a little too deep. Olives like good drainage. Careful packaging and tying of the branches is very important to keep the trees looking their fullest and best on a delivery like this.

The trees look old and gnarly with lots of character. They look beautiful flanking the driveway of their new home. As Dr. Andrew Weil, the physician and author who writes about health and healthy aging, would say, “Old trees don’t need botox.”

Good news for Landscape Architects

In their latest quarterly survey, The American Society of Landscape Architects says more than half of responding firms reported steady or increased billable hours and inquires for new work. Two thirds of the firms reported steady or increased billable hours in the third quarter of 2010. Seven in ten reported steady or higher inquires for new work.

The association says it sees incremental signs of improvement like work from projects originally put on hold due to the recession.

On a less optimistic note, the survey found not a lot of firms are hiring right now. The recovery from the recession has moved slowly.

A moratorium on blowing in Sonoma

Last night, the Sonoma Council voted to restrict the use of leaf blowers in residential areas and to limit hours leaf-blowing can occur in commercial areas. The council also passed a one-year moratorium on the use of leaf blowers on city property. See this morning’s Press Democrat article.

No Blow Sonoma!

How much sense to leaf blowers make? They usually blow the leaves into the mulch and leave them there. I like rakes. Better to remove the leaves and take them away. Leaf blowers are noisy and suck up gas. They’re a waste of time. The wind blows the leaves right back again. Some cities in Marin County already ban blowers, as do several U.S. cities, both large and small. Palo Alto banned them five years ago.

I know they’re necessary in some situations, like on golf courses where rakes just aren’t practical, but near residences?

Well, a friend of mine has taken up the cause in Sonoma. She calls it “No Blow Sonoma.”  Sonoma has been considering a blower ban but it has been quite the issue in our little town. The latest installment on the issue in the Sonoma Sun newspaper is this rebuttal, “Beware the Leaf Blower Man.” Well, my friend thinks this guy is blowing some hot air out of more than one end of his equipment. Here’s the NoBLOWnoma  Facebook page. I say no blow in Sonoma.

Cafe String Lights Above Bocce Court

Check out these lights over this bocce court that I designed in Napa. You can get similar ones like these for a lot less at Pottery Barn (see photo below from Remodelista). While you’re at it, check out other outdoor lighting ideas there.

Ken Burns Documentory on Frank Lloyd Wright

The Ken Burns film on Frank Lloyd Wright is a must see. Frank was infamous before he was famous. He was a ladies man, spendthrift, procrastinator and did his most prolific work from age 60 until he died at 92. The Gugenheim and Marin Civic Center were finished after his death. Here’s a clip

I like this hose

What a nice hose you have! I picked this hose up at Laguna Supply in Laguna Beach. They don’t have a website but they are on facebook. It’s from Alice Supply Co.

Faux Rammed Earth Wall

We couldn’t get a rammed earth company to do a small wall for this job in Belvedere. So, I came up with the idea of doing a faux rammed earth wall. I think it came out really well.

SF Garden Show 2010