Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Plans for more condos

As Emily mentioned to me recently, Socket Site reports Plans For Condos To Replace Prized Potrero Hill Hardware Store are in the works, and as you can read a "contemporary five-story building with 65 dwelling units over a ground floor of residential/commercial flex space" are slated to replace Center Hardware at some point in the probably not distant future.

Sad face.

The furore of comments aside, one thing was nice to see:
"The Planning Department questions the amenity and quality of the rear yard facing I-280 freeway and believes this compromises the exposure to the units facing onto it with a foreground of concrete, noise, and pollution…. The existing Pennsylvania Garden to the south presents an opportunity and amenity that the project should embrace."
 We will certainly miss Center Hardware - they have supported the gardens for many years and we needed them on countless occasions for supplies. A sad day.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Donation!

Aloe ferox in bloom
I got an email from Phoenix last week about some Phormiums and Dietes he needed to be rid of, and not only that but would dig up and deliver to the garden (bless you!) so naturally I said yes.

Today around 4pm I was feeling very sleepy from a long weekend but determined to get them in the ground before the next rain storm, drank a quick cup of coffee and dragged Matt out to the garden.

The Dietes turned out to be variegated! Score. We planted 4 big clumps in the front border, one in the left bed and one in the brights bed. Then we put the Phormiums (loads of the deep red/brown kind) in pots for next week - we'll plant those at PRG.

Too dark for photos - sorry! But above is something inspiring from this year :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Post rain weedorama

Matt and I hit the garden for the volunteer day and kicked out some serious weeding. 



I turned the hot, steaming compost piles (reignited after being rained on this week) and removed piles of nasturtiums and horsetails from the front bed. When that was cleaned up, I rearranged some society garlics, and Matt rescued an Agave filifera and arranged the pups near it. 



Matt staked the recently planted Phormiums, then dug up a big Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island date palm) volunteer and potted it for planting tomorrow. Volunteer Emily cut back the Salvia elegans (Pineapple Sage) by the bench, and Anna and Mary planted loads of Agapanthus in the triangle garden. 

Good times. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Divide and conquer

In 2011 we planted a lovely red Phormium "Guardsman" behind the wrong way sign, following a year later with another nearby. I'd always planned to add more but never got around to it. 

With the recent incident involving a car plowing through the wrong way sign and knocking the first Phormium around, the time seemed right to dig it up and divide it, replanting sections in the same area. 

Surprisingly in just 2 hours we had it out of the ground and divided in four. Each section was tied up using a Phormium leaf (aka New Zealand Flax - tough and fibrous!) and planted with some freshly dug compost. 

Now all we need is rain (any minute) and some stakes to hold them upright (ummm)...


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Rain!

With Thanksgiving over, and a rain storm on the way, Matt and I decided to get out and move some plants at PRG so they'd get watered in automatically.

We took out some dead plants at the top (victims of copious dog pee judging by the smell - dog owners please don't let your pets pee on the plants!) and replaced them with Puyas. Or Dyckias. Can't tell the difference anymore, but they are spiky and hopefully will resist being killed by dogs.



We also moved about a dozen Nasaella tenuissima (Feather Grass), some Stachys byzantina (Lambs Ears) and some Euphorbia characias around to better groupings, and weeded a lot too. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bill's Big Blue begone!

Matt has conquered Bill
Another fine day in the neighborhood, and since it's planting time in the Bay area, that also means plant moving time at PG. In other words, enough wetness has fallen from the sky to allow plants to be moved to better places in the garden.

We do this pretty often it seems. Usually there are a few causes.
  1. A plant we bought as a 4" baby just grew as big as the label, nursery specialist or Google said it would, but at some point between garden center and hole in the ground we had decided to disregard fact and plant it too close to something else. Reality check!
  2. A volunteer sprang up, seeding itself from who-knows-where, and we waited for it to disappear until finally accepting the fact that it had dug its' roots in needed to move. See yesterday's palmstravaganza post.
  3. The plant was the right size, right water, right amount of sun, and spaced just so.  But then the plant next to it went rogue and grew so large it started spoiling the conditions for the first plant, causing it to pout and look sickly.
  4. Some plants just need to be kept on their toes and a change of scenery is good to keep them from getting too cocky. Not feeling so smart with half your roots missing now, are you? Ha!
Finished!
Plants that got moved today were:
  1. A yellow striped Phormium that went from being shaded out by the bench to a sunnier spot in the middle front bed. Hope it makes it.
  2. An Impatiens from the left bed that went behind the bench. Seems a bit floppy, but they are a cheap thrill so if it dies no biggie.
  3. Agave gypsophila from behind the wrong way sign to the middle back bed - we completely obliterated Bill's Big Blue, the obnoxious aster, to do this and I am not sorry. Bill was a jerk.
  4. 8 Dyckias of unknown species, deep reddish color, liberated from pots on the terraces at last to frame the aforementioned Agave.
  5. 4 Echeveria secunda which moved from the Triangle Garden to near the bench where they'll be much happier.
We also tied the Phormium that got run over again, turned the compost, weeded a ton at PRG, picked up two bags full of trash, and planted the final Canary Island Palm (Phoenix canariensis) there too.



Saturday, November 22, 2014

Palmstravaganza

Today Matt and I went out to do one task, and we achieved that! We decided to move a Canary Island Palm (Phoenix canariensis) volunteer to the middle front bed - a bed normal plagued with weeds and sogginess.

We found that the one palm seedling we wanted to move from where it had grown was actually three palms. So out they came. 



We weeded the spot they were to go into and planted two, taking one home to grow on. 



Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rickshaw Bagworks + Our Garden

Rickshaw Bagworks in Dogpatch has made two very special messenger bags for Pennsylvania Street Gardens!

Here are the details:
For $100 you get a Medium Zero Messenger bag and the satisfaction of supporting the gardens.
One bag has navy trim with a light blue lining, and the other bag has green trim with a bright lining. I prefer the blue, another volunteer Nate prefers the green. Choices!

Nate's preferred bag; I prefer the blue
shown above with the heart 
If you'd like to purchase a bag you can send me an email at emily@psgsf.org or stop by the Garden Pop-Up at Rickshaw Bagworks (902 Tennessee) this Saturday November 8th from 11-4pm.

I'll have the bags on display and a community garden in Potrero Hill, the Connecticut Friendship Garden, will have lots of other goodies like Potrero Hill honey and flower bouquets to benefit their community garden. Full disclosure, I'm the elected garden coordinator there ; )

Hope to see you all Saturday!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Many smiles and much work done

It was a bit chilly today, but the sun was out and the garden received a lot of TLC! I made it to the workday early to setup for our volunteers and had a nice chat with a neighbor and her lovely dog Moose. Throughout the workday other well-wishers would come by, including regular volunteers Nate and Tanya with their brand new baby Malcom, John taking a stroll on his way into work at UCSF and Tony Kelly taking a break from campaigning. Many dogs were snuggled, including Nox, volunteer Heather's little pup who was the mascot for the workday.

Matt finding a new home
 for this Agave

Annie and Matt first set to replanting the area by the stairs where the newest cactus went in and also cleaned up the front border. Heather and I weeded along the pathways, taking out some of the more invasive stuff that was growing into the beds, and digging out some Euphorbia to donate to the Arkansas Friendship Garden. We were joined in these endeavors by Justine who also did a great job clearing weeds from the dog area. I was surprised to see Eliot, gloves in hand, relieved of his baby watching duties and ready for gardening! He set about to pruning back a Salvia on he way to the bench and later joined Annie and Matt to cut back a truly massive Salvia in the dog area. 
Annie dismantling the massive Salvia
 into manageable pieces
Nox & Heather pre-gardening snuggle
Justine is all smiles
trimming back the mint
After two hours of chatting and working it was time to wrap up for the day, with the garden looking much better but still plenty to do! We welcome all volunteers to come keep the gardens looking good, so if you have any questions about how to get involved please do not hesitate to send me a note; emily@psgsf.org

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Volunteer Workday this Saturday 10-12

Everyone can lend a paw
Our monthly workday is coming up this Saturday, November 1st from 10am-12; it’s a great way to get out and about in the sunshine after Halloween! We will meetup at Pennsylvania Garden (251 Pennsylvania Avenue) and disperse from there. We have the necessary tools and gloves to make it happen, and any will provide needed training too. New or returning volunteers, green or black thumbs, all are welcome!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mind the sign and the cactus!

SFMTA should be
 fixing this soon!

Just a quick garden update, SFMTA has been called and they are still within their 5-day window (!) for fixing the 'Do Not Enter' sign that was run-over on Sunday. Annie and Matt zipped over to the garden to cleanup debris, but we'll have to wait for SFMTA to get their act together. For now, please use the arch entrance to the garden.

3 columns of our new
silvery, fluffy and spikey cactus
In other news, I turned the compost today and readjusted the heap (it's getting a bit out of hand back there!) and removed a mountain of trash from around the bench. The highlight was getting a rejuvenating snuggle from a lovely pup, Molly, who came over to say with her 'hoomin. I can't guarantee such a cute dog will be there when you visit, but there is a beautiful brand-new cactus at the bottom of the steps; it was purchased because of funding from the UCSF Medical Center, so thanks to them for enabling us to make the special purchase and to Annie and/or Matt for installing such a spikey and beautiful specimen.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fun at the Potrero Hill Festival

Many thanks to all of the lovely folks who stopped by our booth at the Potrero Hill Festival today! Your kind words of support and your generosity towards the gardens really go a long way.

We had dozens of people sign up to volunteer at the garden (!) and many went home with a delicious jar of honey from Connecticut Friendship Garden and SF Bee Case. Other park stewards were on hand too, with Friends of Jackson Park, the NABE, and many others either at our booth or one next door. We made up the 'green belt' at the festival, and it was a lot of fun.

 I look forward to seeing everyone at our next workday on Saturday November 1st from 10am-12. It really is a community effort and it takes many hands to keep both gardens looking great, hope to see you all again soon!
 
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