Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Fun & Stormy Workday

Monica's keeping the garden
clean and tidy!
Rain may have loomed in the afternoon, but on Saturday morning the weather was perfect for being at the garden getting work done! On account of the rain, one priority today was to plant two olive trees. These olive trees were part of a generous donation from the event we did with the UCSF Medical Center Lights On Celebration. First thing Annie and Matt set about finding a good spot for the trees and getting them in the ground, and I got things ready for our other volunteers.

Will and Riley clearing the pathways
Next on the scene was Wil, a brand new volunteer that was eager to help out. Will and I got started weeding the pathways, and were soon joined by Riley and Monica. We worked our way around the top part of the garden, clearing mountains of grass from the pathways and carefully weeding between the very spiky plants in the middle bed. Eliot arrived soon after, and my mom Debbie showed up too, and both joined in the weeding party, adding to the speed at which we cleared huge swatches of weeds.

One of the two new olive trees
planted today at PRG by Annie & Matt
Now, with so many volunteers on hand we were able to diversify; Riley swept the two paths leading into the garden and the steps, Debbie cleaning out the Agapanthus, and Monica went about picking up trash. Monica deserves a big kudos from everyone, because she has been coming regularly, on her own (!) to pickup trash to keep the gardens looking great. Next time you see her walking her dog at the garden, be sure to tell her thank you!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Our Garden Has Heart

We've always put a lot of heart and soul into the gardens (it really is a labor of love!) but at the moment the garden specifically has a heart someone made out of bricks. It's up in the dog area, slowly being overtaken by weeds enjoying our winter sunshine. Stop by and enjoy a moment of 'heart' in the garden. You can also join us at our workday, Saturday February 7th to keep the garden in good shape.

Go see it in person; stunning combo
of rosemary and Chasmanthes

There are always reasons to visit the garden, and right now a bunch of flowers are bursting onto the scene; our daffodil collection is just starting to get going, and many other bright and cherry blooms can be found. Every year when the rosemary covers itself in light blueish-purple flowers I think about what an awesome plant it is - drought tolerant, fragrant, edible, showy, structural - and why I don't see more of it as a landscaping plant!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Birthday project

It's my birthday today and Matt and I decided the perfect way to celebrate was hit the garden for a little project.

On the way up there we weeded PRG and pruned a few things. Then we set about our task. We've been noticing that the Euphorbia mellifera in the middle front bed always looks ratty in midsummer, as it really needs a bit more water than it gets where we planted it. This year it looked rattier than ever, and finally half of it died. Time to go.


I pulled it out while Matt cut off the lower leaves of Moby Dick, the Agave americana variegata in that bed whose leaves that were crushing other plants nearby.


Then I rescued the Aeonium nobile remnants from the middle back bed and pruned them to shape to plant where the E. mellifera was. That bed is fast becoming the Aeonium showcase!

I grabbed some cuttings from a nearby Senecio serpens (Blue Chalksticks) and ta-dah! All done. Lots of before (left) and after (right) pics above.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Volunteer day lite



Today Matt, Anna and I had one volunteer at the volunteer day, but she was magic! Emily (not the usual Emily) has gardened before, and set about weeding the steps of yarrow, oxalis and all the other annoying weeds very skillfully. Quite a feat, given that they mingle so closely with the 'good" plants there, but the area is transformed.



Anna weeded the Triangle Garden, and I turned the compost and noted that next workday we'll have a full bin or maybe two to dig out and spread around the garden. I had wanted to rent a wood chipper so we could reduce the big compost heap behind the bins down to something more manageable, as all the branches there take years to compost. I'm betting there's 3' of compost under all that, which has built up over the last 6 years (!) but we can't get to it. Sadly the rental company didn't get back to me yesterday. Next time...



After that I planted three Aloe maculata in the middle back bed near the spot Matt improved today by adding rocks where the twig border had given up the ghost. I think the rocks look great - we should get more for areas like that.

Matt also pruned one of the Prunus cerasifera (Cherry plum) trees which hasn't been done in a long time - lots of nice straight branches available now for twig borders.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Phormiums from Phoenix



Today Matt and I planted five or six nice big bunches of deep red Phormium at PRG, along the back edges and filling in gaps. 

These were recently donated by Phoenix and will do the usual Phormium thing: look a bit sad for a while, then bounce back to become fantastic, tough plants. 

I'll add some pics tomorrow. Thanks Phoenix!

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!
 
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