Category: Garden - AM Musings
 
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Reedley Peaches at Bi-Rite Market
Bi-Rite Market on 18th Street carries organic peaches from Reedley - my hometown.  I don't miss the heat of the San Joaquin Valley summers, but I do miss the tree ripened fruit hanging in our backyard garden, the fresh corn and the vine ripened tomatoes that my parents grew.  Every summer my parents would can vine ripened tomatoes and bring them up to San Francisco for us to enjoy.  They formed the basis of simple pasta sauces throughout the winter and needed no more than a little olive oil and herbs as they were so sweet and flavorful. 

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The Reedley garden - now gone
The garden is gone now, supplanted by a new home, just the memories triggered by visits to the local farmer's market and markets like Bi-Rite linger.  I smell the fruit and compare them to my memories of the ones sitting on the trees and vines in the 100 degree heat.  In Reedley you can still drive down a country road to an unattended fruit stand, bag your own fruit, and leave money in a slotted box.  

Impossible to find the same fruit here, but I'll take the best I can find - which is pretty darn good!  We're entering the peak of the harvest season for peaches and tomatoes.  Enjoy our bounty while you can. 

 
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Vivande Restorante 670 Golden Gate Avenue - San Francisco
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Sacro Bosco - Bomarzo, Italy
This doorway at Opera Plaza near San Francisco's Civic Center at 670 Golden Gate Avenue is left over from the former Vivande Restorante.  It appears to be inspired by the post-renaissance garden Sacro Basco in Bomarzo, Italy and called Dante's "Gates of Hell".  Here fantastic figures abound in this example of the mannerist movement dating from the 16th Century.  It makes a memorable doorway for an Italian restaurant, but now it is a doorway to a mortgage company. 

You may feel a little queasy going in to sign your life away.  Totally out of character for its current use and out of character for the entire building, I've always wondered why it is still there.  It makes for an interesting doorway at any rate.
   

 
 
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Peonies at Trader Joe's - San Francisco
Getting my lunch at Trader Joe's, I saw the first peonies this year. Their gracious colors and ruffled and multiple petal count are pleasing to the eye. It's nice when something is only available for a short period of time. You appreciate it more when you anticipate them and then remember them after they are gone.  Or, perhaps they're a pleasant surprise when they appear.

Chris has tried to grow peonies in our Pine Street garden, but the conditions aren't quite right and they don't bloom.  She said she will try again one day as someone told her the "secret" to making peonies grow in San Francisco is to "trick" them into thinking there is a freezing winter here.  You trick them by putting ice around the base of the plant during our "winter".   SFGate also had an article about growing peonies in the Bay Area.  Check this out here.    If I chill, perhaps I too will bloom.


 
 
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Chris paints with a fine eye and hand.  There are pieces of her work all around in stacks and piles and its easy to take them for granted.  Some of her finest are ones done a few years back when she did a series of water colors of Asian vegetables.  To a bit of my dismay, some have gone away to grace someone else's home.   

This one is of radishes that are eaten in China, Korea, and Japan and most commonly known by the Japanese name, "daikon".  Daikon in Japanese means large root and that is exactly what it is.  The muddy brown wash on the white body of the daikon shows its origin in the earth and the nutrient seeking tendrils at the end are fine details painted with finesse.   
 
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Acanthus Leaf
 

The acanthus plant in our lush garden on Pine Street has bright green leaves.  A symbol of re-birth, it has inspired architects and artists since ancient Greece.  It adorns the top of the Corinthian column. 
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The Corinthian Column



History and theory play an important part of becoming an architect.  Without it the 1980's Post Modernism  would not have happened.  Post Modernism was a recall of historical styles and response to the spare minimalist International Style in vogue the previous 50 years.  In the International Style, beauty was found in form and function -  stripped of ornamentation.  Beneath the unadorned building planes, however,  Greek ideals of columns and proportions still resonate.  I remember working in the office of David H. Horn FAIA in Fresno as a summer intern. I overheard him discussing the Greek ideas of expressing a column when he was designing the Fresno Federal Building  (now the Fresno Superior Court) in the "modern style".

Today, we have "rediscovered" mid-20th century design.  All things continually evolve.  Of course some never lost their love of ornamentation.   The Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns are known as the classic order and  the Corinthian column is the most decorative of the three orders with acanthus leaves adorning the top.  

The Greek column went on to influence Roman, European, and world architecture.  Walk down any main street in American and you will see its continuing  influence.  I took this photo (above right) while walking on Sacramento Street where a charming, simplified and stylized depiction of the acanthus leaf adorned the top of a pilaster.