From our non-news dept.

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As a writer for newspapers and magazines, I get tired of having to pitch stories that always have a newsy bit to peg them. Since this is MY blog, I am going to reserve the right to be hopelessly out-of-date from time to time.

Case in point, I finally made it to see the gardens at the de Young Museum in San Francisco the other week. UC Berkeley professor Walter Hood designed the gardens several years ago. 

I didn't like all the garden spaces, especially the overly-complicated and programmatic Garden of Enchantment out front. But I really enjoyed what I would unofficially call the Canyon Garden that cuts a deep ravine directly through the middle of the angular Herzog & de Meuron building. It is an abstracted jungle of only a few spare elements: tree ferns, a vivid groundcover of baby tears and a layer of shattered slate all of which sit on a slope from the ground level of the entrance down to the basement exhibition areas. The effect is cool and mysterious, made even more so by the fact that the garden can't be accessed and can only be viewed through plate glass windows—you can only see the bay breezes rustling the ferns. 

I had only seen installation photographs and the plants have grown in nicely.

The inaccessible glassed-in Canyon Garden (left) and the fully accessible outdoor Garden of Enchantment (right)

The line of slate starts at the entrance (left) and seems to continue out the other side of the building and burst onto a terrace planted with trees (right).

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