EDIBLES AROUND THE STATE

Maguire vineyard with mid-century Quincy Jones house.

First season vineyard planted in the provencal tradition on one stake with no wire with jute erosion blanket for erosion control.

Winter cut back.

Maguire Cabernet Vineyard

Fourth season: the vineyard now has been transitioned to wire.

HILLSIDE VINEYARD IN BEL-AIR

The homeowner was a self proclaimed francophile who wanted to have his own boutique vineyard, planted and operated in the classic Provençal manner. This approach meant being highly conscientious of the soil conditions, starting the vines from bare rootstock, not training them along any wires, and being meticulous about the biodynamic approach to nurturing the vines.

The clients wanted a boutique vineyard of cabernet sauvignon, but the journey started far before the grapes. At the start of this project, Campion Walker Landscapes interviewed many vintners, selecting one out of the bay area who specialized in French rootstock. We also did extensive soil analysis to determine the mineral content, percolation rate, and condition of the earth that the grapes would be planted in, which influenced the particular genetic rootstock we ended up selecting. CWL designed the layout of the vineyard based on topography, drainage, and sun and wind exposure, and we laid it out, with the help of the vintner and a survey team, down to the exact inch. There was no room for error. We planted the grapes in the winter season, when they are dormant, and proceeded with pruning, nurturing, fertilizing.

An organic, biodynamic vineyard was the goal, so we set the challenge early on that they be no synthetics used on the vines. We used a fish emulsion fertilizer, root developers, full organic protocol, and drip line feeders to nourish the grapes. The health of the vineyard was of utmost importance, not just in the plants maturing healthfully in order to produce grapes, but to prevent fungus, diseases or pests that would endanger the vineyard.

The Homalodisca vitripennis, or Glassy Winged Sharpshooter, is a common vector in the area, and a swarm can destroy a vineyard in less than 2 weeks. There was a winery down the road that was decimated by these insects, but as a testament to the health of the plants and the soil they were planted in, this vineyard remained safe and unscathed. We credit the optimal drainage, which was painstakingly designed prior to planting, and the biodynamically-appropriate soil for this success.

Because we designed, installed, and maintained the vineyard, we were fortunate enough to be involved on all sides of this beautiful project. There was no detail we weren’t passionate about, down to the swiss Felco pruners we insisted on using. I believe that it’s the attention to detail, health, and nature that grew this vineyard into a success.

One of the tenants of Campion Walker Landscapes’ design practice is to uphold sustainability and stewardship of the land. We believe in planting symbiotic plant communities that are made up of complementary plants that put vitality back into the soil. We designed one such installation to be part of the vineyard: a mass meadow planting as the vineyard’s underplanting. We partnered with Greenlee & Associates, one of the foremost experts on grass ecology, to plant the largest private installation of native grasses they had ever done. The biochemistry of plants in this meadow enriched the soil of the property enough to significantly impact the health of the vines’ rootstock.

The vines produced grapes about three and a half years in, and the homeowners were able to bottle the first batch in the fourth year. They worked with a group of grape collectors, who handled everything from the harvest to the bottling. For three more years, the homeowners grew and harvested their own wine.

But, like nature, everything changes and evolves. The family eventually sold the property, and the new owner, a major player in the entertainment industry, prioritized privacy and decided to redesign the hillside into a tree grove, making the biodynamic success story of the vineyard a tale of the past.

I feel so fortunate and blessed to have worked on such a beautiful testament to sustainable, nature-first design.

CWL and John Greenlee collaborated in planting native grasses, sedges, and bulbs as an underplanting for the vineyard to create compatible plant communities and enriching the bio-dynamic quality of soil.

Close-up of the plant communities under the vineyard stock. Photos courtesy of Campion Walker Landscapes.

 

A JUICING GARDEN IN CARLSBAD

My client is a busy executive who wants a healthy lifestyle but does not have much time for cooking. She does however love to have fresh juice everyday so we came up with the idea of a “Juicing Garden”.

I have planted many vegetables, greens and herbs that will provide ample nutrients for a morning glass of juice.

This garden boasts 4 beautiful custom redwood raised beds with copper bands to prevent snails from attacking the edibles. The boxes are in full sun which is ideal for growing vegetables and herbs.

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Photos courtesy of Jackie and the Beanstalk.

 

ONE ACRE OF EDIBLES IN FAIRBANKS RANCH

This 1 acre property has edibles tucked in every corner. It is the perfect example of growing vegetables and herbs in raised beds and in the traditional landscape as well. There is always something to harvest.

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Photos courtesy of Jackie and the Beanstalk.

 

TERRACED FAMILY GARDEN IN CARLSBAD

This project was a full house and landscape renovation. We were brought in as the landscape designer and contractor to blend the proposed farmhouse style of the architecture with the landscape. A few ways we did this was through our hard and soft material choices. Brick, decomposed granite, board-formed concrete, and hints of wood created a soft/natural palate that contrasted with the rich foliage surrounding it. By terracing the slope, we maximized our planter area within this small side yard. To encourage the farm-to-table feel we brought the veggie boxes right up into the dining area to ensure that they will be maintained and to create a unique dining experience.

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Photos courtesy of Falling Waters Landscape Inc.

 

Also by Ryan Prange

EDIBLE FRONT YARD IN ENCINITAS

This project is an interesting development of highly customizable estate homes. The idea is that each home-site will have a 'Mainhouse' and then an ancillary unit for family, office, pool-house, in-law suite, etc. Past clients purchased a home and brought FWLI in to renovate the front yard landscape. We created a series of manageable vegetable boxes set between a flagstone patio and a gently sloping orchard filled with grapes, apples, plums and other assorted espaliered fruit trees.

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Photos courtesy of Falling Waters Landscape Inc.

 

MODERN FARMHOUSE IN HUNTINGTON

These lovely clients wanted a clean and modern farmhouse style garden to be cohesive with the architecture of their home. They were also looking for edibles and an additional seating area with a fire pit.

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Photos courtesy of Living Gardens Landscape Design.