Welcome to my virtual garden!

For the past several years I have worked as a maintenance gardener in the San Francisco Bay Area, primarily specializing in taking care of rose gardens. Although I no longer work full-time in the Landscaping / Gardening business, I still get calls every year to help winter-prune people's roses, as well as occasionally help out in rose gardens at other times of the year. I totally LOVE roses, especially the fragrant, voluptuous kinds! And, the rumors about town re my reputation are all true: I am often reduced to behaving like a complete idiot when near any of my favorites of these thorny group of plants, stumbling and staggering around city sidewalks while inhaling a rose-bloom attached to my nose, acting like an over-grown schoolboy who's giddy about going out on his first Prom Night with the sweetheart of his dreams.

The picture of me above was taken in Guadalupe Park's Heritage Rose Garden, in San Jose, CA, by my wonderful friend Lily. I think she did a great job of capturing the essence of my feelings towards roses, don't you?

This web site will serve many purposes, including: 1) a resource of information (especially re. roses); 2) some helpful gardening ideas; 3) provide an opportunity for me to thank many people in my life -- friends, relatives, clients, and former bosses alike! The photo on the left, by the way, is of the beautiful (& healthy!) single-petalled Hybrid Musk rose, Climbing Sally Holmes. To view this rose in greater detail, please click on the image to enlarge.
At the bottom of this page, you'll find specific topics and/or galleries you can click on. Unless otherwise noted, all photos were taken by me. Also, the majority of the shots on this website are from clients' private gardens that I maintain. To ensure their privacy, I give out no addresses. However, anybody who's ever climbed the steep hill to my brother & sister-in-law's house will probably recognize these stunning blue blooms of Echium candicans (AKA "Pride of Madeira")!
In many municipal rose gardens across the U.S., roses are often presented in lawn-surrounded rectangles of coffin-size beds -- plants banished to a life of isolation! Not so with the cottage-style gardens on the other side of "The Pond". On the Rose Basics page, and also the Rose Companions page, I talk more on this topic. A client who especially loves pinks & mauves, for example, likes the effect of Cineraria & Forget-Me-Nots with her deliciously fragrant pink Gertrude Jekyll rose.
Whether you like the classic English garden look; or gravitate towards a more modern, or in this case, tropical look... Northern California provides opportunities for both! In this photo, hybridizer David Austin's English rose "Golden Celebration" (not to be confused with the rose "Golden Showers"!) is being trained along the fence & up the palm tree. More details on specific rose cultivars can be found on the Gallery of Roses page...
When I first moved to California from Illinois in 1977, I couldn't believe all the exotic plants growing out in the open -- they were right out of Alice in Wonderland or Dr. Suess! Take this beautiful Fuchsia boliviana, for example, introduced to me by my friend -- as well as former boss -- landscaper Chip Lima. One of the many varieties now available that are resistant to the fuchsia gall mite, it is seen here growing near a splashy patch of Cineraria.
Designing rose gardens with companion plants can be as simple as just planting a lot of Foxglove nearby. With its dramatic vertical stalks, this variety of Digitalis, "Sutton's Apricot", adds contrast and interest to the round shape of the rose flowers. I learned a lot of design ideas like these from Ed Kaenel, a fabulous landscape architect I also worked for!
Thanks to Allen Jones, my first gardening boss, -- the Head Gardener of a private nursing home that hired me in '92 -- I got my first serious exposure to pruning & training roses. I remember the first time I stared at the tangle of thorny winter rose canes needing attention, wondering how anyone could prune all 100+ of them. And to think that now, every year, I fearlessly prune easily double that! I also enjoy bending any flexible long canes horizontally, getting the result you see in this picture...
In my "Gallery of Roses" page are photos & descriptions of roses I have gotten familiar with over the years. Many thanks to Chip Lima, Ed Kaenel, Allen Jones, and Gregg Lowery (owner of Vintage Gardens rose nursery in Sebastopol) -- to name just a few I have learned a lot from! After many years of professional gardening experience, plus gardening as a hobby beforehand, I can attest that Perdita here, for example, is not only beautiful & fragrant; but also gets Black Spot!
What's this cool garden gate all about? Local metal artist Amy Blackstone made this, as well as other metal gates & sculptures you'll see on this website. This particular one is made of painted metal & glass; but no two of her works are alike! My website is also an opportunity to give exposure to other artists I know that I feel contribute something special to a garden, or whose work is otherwise garden-related.
WOW! What a view! But, what does "Mother Nature" have to do with gardening? Well, I say: "everything!" This pic was taken in the hills West of Ukiah, just a short hike from my friend Alan's "Roost". I can't claim any credit for its beauty (no, I don't even prune the redwoods there!); but on my page about the Climate of Northern California, I explain how to work with our natural climate, rather than against it!
What's this? Does Ken surf? No (although brother Bruce does)! This pic was taken at the park near the surfing museum in Santa Cruz and is an example of plants that do well along the coast. Since this website is an on-going project, and I am always collecting new digital photos of garden and park scenes, I predict that my Gallery of Northern California Plants page will get a lot fuller than it is at present!
I also want this website to be a place of free advertising for little-known places like the Castro district's Pink Triangle Park & Memorial -- and also for Vintage Gardens, my favorite rose nursery, which donated all the wonderful rose plants to the park! On the page about Rose Basics, I have more pictures and info on both of these. In the meantime, here's a nice shot of some of PTPM's roses blooming their fool heads off!
My friend Lily, who took the pic of me up at the top of this page, also takes AWESOME garden & flower photos! Just click on the image for an enlargement (which you can also do on all the other images on this page that I took) of her potted English rose, Tamora.
Last, but not least, I want to thank all my wonderful clients, who not only let me photograph their gardens; but also have allowed me an amazing amount of artistic freedom in their yards. It's painful to think how many people on the planet hate their jobs, when I go to work loving it! And now you are free to pick & choose where you want to go from here... Have fun surfing in my virtual garden!

A very grateful PS - A special thanks to my sister-in-law, Rosemary, who gave me my first computer for a 50th birthday present... uh, I-I-I mean: 21st birthday! Whoever thought that somebody as computer-stupid as me would someday have his own website, --- let alone even a USEFUL one!

I hope you have enjoyed
viewing these scenes
from northern California!

For more information, contact me:

Since this website is an on-going work-in-progress,
additional pages will evolve over time and show
up accordingly. To go to the next page you'd
like to visit, please click on any of the
following topics listed below...

[ Rose Basics ]
[ Gallery of Roses ]
[ Rose Companions ]
[ Climate of Northern California ]
[ Gallery of Northern California Plants ]
[ Garden Color ]
[ Links ]