Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A surprise at the big box...

As you may remember, when traveling I like to drop in the orange big box store (or similar) to take the gardening pulse of the area. To find out what the average (non-nursery and plant crazed), home owner might see and decide to take home. Last September, while in Oakland, I had a little time to kill before picking Andrew up (from a bookstore of course) and remembered seeing a Home Depot near the freeway. What I wasn't expecting was to find more of this...

The work of Mark Bulwinkle, the artist I mentioned yesterday in my post about The Dry Garden.

Of course I then needed to spend a little time online, finding out more about this guy and what his artwork is doing in a Home Depot parking lot. I spent a lot of time on his website, and found this page with pictures of the artwork at the plaza, seems I missed a few!

I also missed the dedication plaque which reads "In 1992 the American artist, Mark Bulwinkle, created the steel sculptures you see here and throughout the parking lots of The East Bay Bridge Shopping Center. To all the children who lived on his block in Oakland, Mr. Bulwinkle dedicated these sculptures. Peace and Happiness."

If you followed the link above you may have also ended up on the page with the artists comments on the shopping center project, worth the read, I think.

So eventually I made it over to the big box store...

Where I saw "#1 Backyard Cactus Asstd"...I wonder why it has to go in the backyard?

Agave celsii, not nearly as sexy as yesterday's Agave celsii var. albicans...

I kind of liked the branding.

Yes these Echinocactus grusonii were also only $5.98. Damn.

Furcraea gigantea 'Striata'

I can't find a whole lot of information backing up that name, but I bought one.

Agave vilmoriniana. I almost bought one of these too, but as usual with the big box plants they looked pretty roughed up.

Of course there were these. It was fall after all. Don't people demand them?

This garden (the garden of snakes) was nearby, I wonder if anyone has driven by it and then felt the need to buy several of these?

Crinum x 'purple dream' - I had two, last winter wasn't nice to them.

When finished with the plants I walked to the end of the parking lot to photograph the rest of these.

Before I go I'll share one more link: Flowerland, a little story cut from steel it's fun.

The End.

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

34 comments:

  1. When I had only seen one or two of these cartoony sculptures, I wasn't sure about them. Seeing the series though, just wonderful! I'd need to have at least three in my garden for them to make sense I think.

    I have never seen an Agave at our local big box stores, except in the houseplant section (indoors). Similarly cactus, bamboo, and other cool plants that those in other parts of the country see regularly at these places. :(

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    1. I can't recall seeing any of those (agave, cactus, bamboo) at ours either - other than in the houseplant area. Probably for the best though, at least the agave and cactus. Wouldn't want people planting them out thinking they're hardy only to have them die.

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  2. Regionally Approrpriate Plants - makes perfect sense! Not a bad selection, did you buy anything?

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  3. Golden Barrel Cactus for $5.98!!!
    And I thought I got a steal last August for $16 at Portland Nursery.
    Sigh.

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    1. If I had been there in the spring I probably would have grabbed a couple and planted them out just for fun...

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  4. The plant selection at the Home Depot you visited is very similar to what we have around here. The succulents are never exotic enough for me, though :-).

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  5. It seems as if there is much more offer than in the same kind of stores in Madrid...and in Lima. The metal work of that artist is great!!!

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  6. What a nice surprise to find both more Bulwinkle sculptures and those inexpensive and cool plants at Home Depot! Thanks for the links!

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  7. The sculptures look a lot like the Cistus logo...any connection?

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    1. Yes, sorry, I covered that in yesterday's post but could have reiterated it here. It's the same artist.

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  8. We all can expect even better succulent plant offerings at the Big Orange now that horticulturist Kelly Griffin is working for Altmans, which is the company supplying all these cacti and succulents across the country. Kelly has done some spectacular introductions and hybrids with Aloes and Agaves, Agave 'Blue Glow' is one of his, and many more new and interesting hybrids are sure to come online.

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    1. Ah, that should be very interesting. We even get some of the Altman's selection up here in Portland (although it's all indoor) I'll keep an eye on it.

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  9. Bulwinkle's autobiography is as interesting as his art.

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  10. Love the series! Like Alan, I think I would need to have at least a few of them for it to make sense. Very creative. I also like your idea of checking out the local big box store when traveling. Sometimes we assume they'll all be the same, but obviously that isn't always the case.

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    1. No it's actually pretty interesting to see the different selections across the country.

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  11. Whew Loree, I opened this and got a sick feeling that you were about to tell us that Mark B. was actually selling his art at Home Cheapo..I feel better now.

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  12. Such fun sculptures. And those golden barrels were a bargain!

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    1. Indeed. I shoulda grabbed a couple.

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  13. Smaller pieces in ceramic and metal and postcards by Mark Bulwinkle are available for sale at the Dry Garden Nursery too. I always seem to bump into Mark when I drop in on Richard Ward at the nursery.

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    1. I almost bought a couple of the post cards when I was there.

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  14. Too bad our orange big boxes don't post that "Smart Planet" sign, then back up. I wonder what combo of smart, proactive management and demographic is the reason?

    Some nice spike selections, and I like the jab at the bedding plants. But why choose between the book store *and* the garden area? Both!

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    1. Well, it is a pretty plant-savvy market in the Bay Area. Maybe that has something to do with it? They've had to up their game?

      And I do usually check out the bookstores too, it just takes me a fraction of the time he can spend there.

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  15. Your plant nursery looks far more interesting than mine at the moment - we are daffodils and hellebores at the moment, so yours look wonderfully exotic!

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  16. omg wonderful garden art (and parking lot art?) !! Such fun!

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  17. Actually, that particular Home Depot in Emeryville is not one of the more sophisticated for selection, and neither is the other one closest to Berkeley in El Cerrito. The one to hit for unusual/rarities is the HD over in San Rafael, the nursery manager there has created the best selection and most volume sold in the entire state. It's where I go if I don't have the time to drive 2~3 hours to the wholesale growers in Santa Rosa or Watsonville.

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  18. show me a gardener who doesn't pass by the big box store hoping for something special. If I'm not mistaken I even saw Scott Ogden in there one day. I sure hope our store gets some of those bargain cactus. I don't hesitate.

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  19. Ye gods, I LOVE Mark Bulwinkle's fantastic art. Thanks for the links to more! (Your post reminded me that he created a great piece for my favorite dog rescue group, Bad Rap -- you can see it here.)

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  20. Well, it just goes to show you never know what you'll find, even at HD. That art is really cool, and I guess I'll always think of Cistus when I see it, although I remember a piece in Marcia Donahue's garden too. I'm kind of tickled at the idea of you trolling through out-of-town HD's to see what you'll find. (My mom does that with grocery stores.) I'm relieved, actually, to know that there are any regional variations at all. Sometimes I feel that every HD sells the exact same 50 plants everywhere in the country.

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