Friday, July 21, 2017

Street Parks Workshop: my plant recommendations

On Saturday July 22nd I'm speaking at the Parks Alliance's Street Parks Workshop on the topic of water wise planting. Join us if you're interested in learning how to make your own street park!

The plants I'll be recommending that are tough as nails in this area are:
  • Achillea millefolium - Yarrow
  • Aeoniums 
  • Agapanthus  
  • Agaves 
  • Aloes  
  • Artemisia 
  • Bromeliads - Puyas and Dyckias  
  • Calandrinia spectabilis – Rock Purslane 
  • Chasmanthe  
  • Cordylines 
  • Cortaderia – Pampas Grass  
  • Cotyledon orbiculata 
  • Cynara cardunculus - Cardoon  
  • Dudleya 
  • Echiums  
  • Euphorbias
  • Ice Plants
  • Leonotis leonurus – Wild Dagga   
  • Limonium perezii – Sea Lavender
  • Natives 
  • Opuntias
  • Phlomis
  • Romneya coulteri - Matilija Poppy
  • Salvias
  • Santolinas
  • Stachys byzantina - Lamb's Ears
  • Stipa tenuissima - Feather Grass 
  • Yuccas 

Of course there are lots more, but these are some of my easy to grow, zero water favorites. Read the Plant Profiles of many of these plants by clicking here to learn more about them.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Neighborly Business

Marcus + cardoon
I wasn't expecting a big workday due to Impending American Holiday on the 4th, but the day was sunny and warm so I trundled over to the garden expecting to work alone. Then, funnily enough, the first person to show up at the garden was a Brit - Marcus who lives in the building next to our place on 17th.

He got down to work on the Annual Weeding of the Bottom of the Steps, which is a treacherous undertaking due to brambles, cacti, Agaves and other spiky stuff lying in wait on a steep slope. usually it involved getting a bit scratched up, and minorly inconveniencing the brambles who are impossible to kill. but we do need to stop them getting too cocky on a regular basis.

Achillea (Yarrow)
We were soon joined by Amanda and she got down to some Chasmathe cutting-back and clearing dead leaves off the Amaryllis belladonna bulbs - watch out for the bit pink flowers popping out of those soon. I didn't get a pic of Amanda but here's the Achillea she was weeding around so neatly.

I noted again that the compost bins are beyond overflowing. It's time for a debris box so we can start over with turning the compost every single workday otherwise compost doesn't break down quickly enough and we end up with just heaps of weeds.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Genentech Gives Back to Pennsylvania Garden

What an amazing crew turned out for the 2017 Genentech Gives Back event at Pennsylvania Garden! We had over a dozen rough and ready folks turn out to get the garden into shape. It was a warm and lovely day, perfect for a  for a solid three hour workday in the morning. Chris and I were on-hand to lead them through the day's activities.


  • Weeding the dog area, seating area, and cactus wall pathway
  • Mulching the seating area
  • Trimming back the overgrowth on numerous pathways
  • Having a good time!!
The three hours went by quickly and we had a mountain of debris to show for all of our hard work. Thanks to Genentech for coming out to the gardens (for 4 years now?), and you are always welcome back.

Monday, June 5, 2017

All sorts of improvements

Leslie
Saturday's volunteer day was great - we had a dedicated and skilled crew on hand so a lot of wonderful things were accomplished.

Leslie is a stalwart regular and she worked on the middle pathways and beds, ably removing all sorts of weeds, of which we have a surprising number, unfortunately. 

I weeded as much as possible too - we have a good sized pile now  and with a bit of luck can get a debris box for an upcoming workday in order to remove that AND the contents of the compost bins to start afresh.

Hilary
Hilary is new but I could tell right away by her botanical garden tee she was a pro! She got stuck in cutting back Chasmanthe and Euphorbias, as well as the large and somewhat wilty looking Salvia gesneriiflora "Tequila"in the brights bed.

That Salvia looked pretty dead after the Big Drought, but it came back with a vengeance. Of course looking wilted in early June isn't a great sign, but being cut back means it might conserve some energy and make it through.

Chris
Chris loves ripping things apart so I was able to direct his energy towards the now-defunct Euphorbia lambii (victim of too many windy nights) and an overly-enthusiastic Echium madrerense, both of which are now gone and the garden is much better for it.

I think he had a good time with that. You can see him here posing with an ex-Echium.

In the meantime, Matt closed off one side of the bottom paths with stones etc. Our HUGE Agave attenuata at the front just past the arch is sure to bloom soon, and it's really in the way of that path. Si closing that for now will prevent the Agave being dinged up, leaving another path and the sidewalk as two ways to get to the top of the garden.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Small but Intense May Workdays

Realized I'm behind in posting about our workdays  - and there have been many! - so here is the brief wrap up.
  • Many thanks to Annie, Matt and Aditi for our regular Saturday first of the month May workday. So much weeding and maintenance of the gardens was done, and it was sorely needed!
  • Also thanks to Chris, my partner in crime, for our every week Thursday workdays from 2-4pm. Slowly but surely we are making a dent in the chores to free up more fun projects for Saturday crews. 
  • Everyone is welcome to join us either on Thursdays from 2-4pm or our regular first Saturdays 10-12!

Annie and Aditi getting the
dog area ready for more mulch

Friday, May 5, 2017

Prepwork

Chris and I met up to get some prep work at PRG before the garden workday this Saturday. Heaps of weeds and fennel were removed as best we could. Hope to see you all Saturday!


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursdays are a Win

 

Many thanks to Robert, Chris, Brynn and Debbie for coming out on Thursday to spiff up the gardens! Everyone set out to tackle a special project, and a ton of work was done in a short time. Robert weeded and fixed the irrigation at the triangle garden. Chris reinforced the wooden archway, hopefully giving it a few more years of life. Debbie and Brynn weeded the dog area. I chose to tackle the pathway along the cactus wall, which had become impassable due to the sheer abundance of weeds/shrubs and a leaning tree in the way.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Successful Weed-A-Thon and More!

Sarah, Amanda and I cleared
weeds from the Triangle Garden
Many thanks to Annie, Matt, Josh, Chris, Amanda and Sarah for coming out and making the gardens look so much better! Even Nate stopped by for a bit just to say hello after the Mission Bay Easter Egg hunt. So many projects were undertaken, it's hard to keep track of them all, but the gardens are looking so much better and a mountain of weeds were cleared.

Beautiful plants were revealed
 once the weeds were removed
We were also fortunate to get a visit from Crima's horticulture class from City College of San Francisco. Crima has been bringing students by to learn about the gardens for years, Annie did the tour and lecture this year, which is always a special event. Previously, we have even hosted interns from CCSF, which was a lot of fun for me to teach and come up with special projects. Many thanks to Crima and CCSF for visiting and supporting the gardens!

Hope to see you all at our regular workday on Saturday May 6th from 10-12.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Weedathon starts tomorrow!



Join us at Pennsylvania Railroad Garden (100 block of Pennsylvania Ave) for an Easter Weekend Weedathon!

We need your help with this to do a real spring clean of the area, so we start at 10am and go till 3pm.

Join for an hour, or all day!

Def stop by at noon for some pizza though - we'll be taking a break and seeing how far we got :)

Hope to see you tomorrow!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

April Fool's day - for weeds!

We had a lovely sunny volunteer day on Saturday and the weeds at Pennsylvania Railroad garden couldn't take a joke! So we pulled them out.

Last weekend Matt and I stripped all the weeds off an area at the bottom of PRG, and this week, cheerfully joined by hardworking Aditi, Chris and Carrie, we expanded that weed-free zone significantly.

How great that feels! There are TONS more weeds though - please join us on April 15th for an Easter Weedathon! We will start at 10am and go to 3pm, with pizza for everyone at midday. Come for the whole day, or even just for an hour, and help us get this weed situation under control!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Leadership Public Schools Digs In

Many thanks to Shyanna, who brought her class all the way from Hayward, where they attend Leadership Public School, to volunteer with us in San Francisco!

A group of nearly 20 high school students descended on the garden, and after getting a brief tour and introduction to the day's work, they really did dig in. The dog area was the initial focus for the group, and once everyone was settled in I started special projects teams in different areas of the garden that weeded or pruned things into shape.

We also took a small group over to the triangle garden, and did our best to clear out the grass that has quickly taken over the area. We didn't have enough time to finish the job, but the students were hard working and we made a big dent in the weeds.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Rain showers means weeds

Agave gypsophylla flower
Last weekend's volunteer workday was light on volunteers (me, Matt and Chris) but we eradicated tons of weeds. Pennsylvania Garden is looking great thanks to regular weeding sessions almost every week recently, but Pennsylvania Railroad garden down the street is a weedy mess.

Chris worked away in the left bed while I got into the midst of the top bed and many weeds met their fate.


Agave salmiana (?) flower
Matt set to work removing weeds from the rain garden at the bottom and 6-7 giant tubtrugs of weeds were whisked away, as well as lots of trash. But there's SO much more... I think it might be time for a weekend weedathon!

A couple of Agaves are flowering right now - check them out. They will flower for about 6-12 months, then die. Exciting, but also sad!
 
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