Debra Prinzing

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A low-water planting recipe

June 1st, 2010

A dreamy landscape in the sky, designed by Lauren Schneider

If you pick up the June issue of Sunset magazine – the one with skewers of salmon on a cobalt blue plate on the cover – turn to pages 51 and 52.

There, you will see a short (and I mean short!) story by moi. It started out much longer, but is now not much more than the length of a photo caption.

As these things go, I can’t complain. Thanks to the way we communicate these days, full-length magazine articles now read like Cliff Notes versions of themselves. The photo tells most of the story and then a few captions and call-outs do the rest of the heavy lifting.

In this case, the story called “Lush Look, Low Water” was inspired by a rooftop garden owned by Mike McDonald and Jill Martenson, a visionary young couple who built Margarido House, the first LEED-H Platinum home in Northern California.

The “green” home and its eco-friendly landscape have received a lot of press, but the Sunset story really gives readers the specifics on designer Lauren Schneider’s approach to the roof garden. A special thank you goes to Sunset’s Julie Chai for shepherding this story from our initial conversation to the final publication.

Check out the attractive clumps of Libertia periginans, a New Zealand iris relative valued for its bronzy-orange blades and vibrant color.

Surprisingly dreamy, soft and fluid, despite its exposure to the harshest of elements (wind, sun, saltwater, for example), Lauren Schneider’s design can be replicated in similar rooftop or in-ground conditions. The photos you see here are mine. I included the original full-length story in my articles section.

Eight hardworking native and Mediterranean plants create the central elements of Lauren’s design:

Echinocactus grusonii, Golden barrel cactus

Lewisia cotyledon ‘Sunset Strain’

Nassella tenuissima, Mexican feather grass

Sedum spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’

Lavandula multifida, Fernleaf lavender

Libertia perigrinans

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’

Sedum spurium ‘Voodoo’

2 Responses to “A low-water planting recipe”

  1. compostinmyshoe Says:

    Cool look for a rooftop garden. I imagine the grass movement is pretty fantastic. Great colors in the space.
    .-= compostinmyshoe´s last blog ..White Perfume =-.

  2. sharon Lovejoy Says:

    HEY, what’s with the word cut??? Don’t we writers count too??

    Love what I’ve read. You’re one busy lady.



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