Friday, July 20, 2012

(sort of) Garden Visit - Santana Row

This isn't really a garden, but an upscale, outdoor shopping area in San Jose, CA. I was struck by their landscaping and use of plants while visiting family. I remembered when this opened, the goal was to create a "European", "urban village". I'm not sure how many villages have Gucci, Tesla and Crate and Barrel stores, but they did do an excellent job with the plants...

There is a riot of color to greet you at the entrance:
There are Canna's, butterfly bush, and a mass of annuals... and it really clashes with the red curb...

In front of Pottery Barn, there are some purple bananas and a big container with a single Agave in it:
The Agave was in remarkably good shape for being right by the enterance
There were three containers with the purple banana planting in them. Pretty cool!

In front of the "fancy" shops (can you tell I don't shop there?) the color palete calms down some - mostly whites and greens in very large round containers:
These seemed like they were in part shade - which explains the hostas and ferns
Maybe fancy stores need more "sophisticated" plantings, rather than "loud"? They also have some impressive topiaries, this time in large square containers:
I'm not sure that tree likes being that shape, but it was real...
Walking down the street, there are interesting plantings everywhere - mosiac pots, hanging baskets and some plants in the ground...

I wonder how they water them all?

At the end of the street, there is a Tequila bar, which had some of my favorite containers, and use of non-plant art:
The white toppers on the pillar match the agave - appropriate for a Tequila bar!
And I have never seen this before - giant A. americana, underplanted with... impatients?

Or whatever they are - they looked like those generic bedding annuals you can buy flat of at the big box stores. I wonder what made them chose those, instead of rocks, or a plant that has similiar water needs?

Walking back up the street, there are more colorful containers (in front of the more affordable stores. Hmm...)
Cheaper stores = more colorful containers outside. I like the Aeonium arboreum in the bottom right picture - they look like alien eyes...
I wonder if there is some sort of research that supports the store type to container color ratio?

I did find another Agave on a side street, that I was tempted to steal some pups from.
All the tips were clipped off!
On that same side street, there was a public square, with a music stage and a (fake) grassy field. It had two pretty cool things - serveral planting beds with an explosion of color:

and this cool water feature that looked like the palm trees around it:
Or maybe it looks like a blue agave..
Another neat thing they did was use and protect the native oaks that were still in the area:
The wood planks on the right are not on the ground - I'm assuming to protect the roots?
Too bad no new ones will ever be able to grow there though... But it is good that they didn't cut them down when they built the place. And they're trying to protect the roots from being walked on.

I also found this container, that was supposed to look like an A. bracteosa growing out of the rock... with herbs?
This was another odd plant combo - and I don't know how they water them either.
And this cool water feature:
There was a red one on the other side of the pond. Cute!
Santana Row certainly has a lot of different-than-normal plants and plant combinations.  I liked the single plant in a large container look, and the impact really, really large containers can have. I'm still not sure whether impatients and Agaves really go together though!

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