Saturday, March 30, 2013

New flower

Scilla peruviana just starting
Today Matt and I walked through PG with our coffees and noticed that the bulb I rescued in the nick of time from the 100 Texas lot (which was recently stripped bare and flattened - in preparation for...?) is flowering. What could it be?

Later, as we were setting up the hose to water the trees at PRG I saw Josh, who identified the flower as a Portuguese Squill (Scilla peruviana)

In full flower
You might notice that the common name refers to Portugal, and the Latin name to Peru. According to Wikipedia:

"The scientific name peruviana, "of Peru" results from confusion over the origin of the specimens from which the species was described by Carolus Linnaeus in 1753; he was given specimens imported from Spain aboard a ship named Peru, and was misled into thinking the specimens had come from that country. The rules of botanical naming do not allow a scientific name to be changed merely because it is potentially confusing."  Hah!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Green Benefit District

Our friends over at Progress Park are working to create a new funding source for improved maintenance of neighborhood parks, gardens, and green spaces called a Green Benefit District (GBD). The GBD could also support small capital improvements to enhance existing green spaces and add new ones, and they want your input as they move forward in the process! 

"The GBD Steering Committee will be hosting two workshops in the coming weeks to share information about the GBD process and to receive your feedback on our progress. Please join us to learn more about the GBD, help test and improve our community survey, review our current maps of green spaces in our neighborhoods, and envision the future.

Check for more information.

WORKSHOP: Saturday, March 30th, 2:00pm - 4:00pm held at The NABE, 953 DeHaro Street

ANOTHER WORKSHOP: Saturday, April 6th, 2:00pm - 4:00pm held at Rickshaw Bagworks, 904 22nd Street"

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fence Fixation

Vicious guard dogs
Blue and Bentley
Having just removed the graffiti from the fence the previous weekend, I felt pressure to properly seal off the entrance to the area behind the fence on the North end as soon as possible. We had done this previously for the South end with good results. Lucky for me, that while I do not enjoy building things, my fiance Ryan was practically born with a hammer in his hand and greatly enjoys projects. It was also a nice sunny day so our good friend and neighbor Bob and his dog Blue came along to help and hang out. Then, another friend and often volunteer at the garden, Nate, rode by on his bicycle and stopped to help. The adult count is now up to 4, and the dog count steady at 2.

Ryan at work
Ryan and crew made quick work of cutting the boards to length, setting the post properly, and screwing in the necessary brackets. A few well wishers stopped by, including volunteers Stephanie, Trevor and their family. Alison and Rick were kind enough to let us borrow their cordless drill when ours ran out of battery, so I got in a nice jog up and back from their house, and the project was finished well before dark. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Squid Stays

Jackie doesn't mess around
I'm generally in favor of public art, but when it comes to graffiti on our new fence I am not a fan. I try to follow the 24 hour rule - as in if it's removed within 24 hours, they are less likely to tag the fence again. Due to some unforeseen events I wasn't able to get an orbital sander to remove the graffiti myself. Jackie, graffiti remover extraordinaire, was able to bring her equipment over from the East Bay. Meanwhile my mom, Debbie, and I setup the water for the trees, picked up trash, and did a bit of weeding. Bentley the dog sniffed and laid about in the shade.

Debbie keeping
the garden clean
It's hard work being
a garden dog
Jackie had an even fancier and more powerful sander than the last time she removed graffiti from the fence, and she made quick work of the graffiti. It was still early in the day, so we worked as a team to paint over most of the graffiti on the backside of the fence. One particularly artistic panel was of a squid and said 'Creature' so it was spared. Today was more maintenance than gardening, but that's the way it is sometimes. There is always something to do!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Front border work

Agaves in the front border
After setting up the hose for the trees at PRG this morning, Matt and I went up to PG and found Emily had bought some variegated Tulbaghia violacea (Society garlic) for the garden's front border.  I went to plant them, and decided the one that's already planted there could be divided. So, instead of 1 large and 6 small, we now have 10 small plants.

I put them in groups, and Matt brought over an Agave lophantha and an Agave filifera too. I think we need a few more Tulbaghias and some more Limoniums and the area will be easier to deal with.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Triangle Garden and our expanding empire.

Before PHGC improved it.
You know what they say: the sun never sets on the British Empire. And now the sun sets just a few seconds later on the Pennsylvania Street Parks Empire with the welcoming of the Triangle Garden to our family.

I was approached by Anna of the Potrero Hill Garden Club at the weekend, when she and Mary were thankfully there to help at the more-hectic-than-predicted plant sale. Anna mentioned that their club's members are pretty busy people and can't stay on top of the weeding at the Triangle Garden.

This piece of land that runs along 18th St, its opposite side following the curve of Pennsylvania Garden, holds many of the same plants that we grow, as well as a line of lovely Bronze Loquats (Eriobotrya deflexa.)  The tip nearest the freeway exit is also routinely run over by lackadaisical drivers - three times in the last 4 years the metal guardrail has been mangled by maladroit motorists. And the 22 Fillmore bus stops by the garden, by the trash can. It gets some traffic.

Anyway, tonight I met Anna and Robert at the spot and they showed me what needed to be done. Happily, the Subjects of the PSG Empire are clever with a trowel and should enjoy the challenge. Hurrah!

Photo shows the Triangle Garden before PHGC made it pretty. More pics to come soon.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The calm after the storm

The view from the
middle front bed
Today we had no plant sale, no volunteers, no rushing around from the crack of dawn... just a nice, sunny day in the garden, mostly alone - relaxing!

I pruned the Fuchsia boliviana "Alba" as it wasn't done last year and it was starting to get very leggy. I also whacked back the Buddleja x weyeriana "Honeycomb" in the left bed, which, just like the other Buddlejas suffers from insect attack and always looks miserable. I might just yank it out...

I also thoroughly weeded the back half of the middle front bed, carefully removing that umbrella sedge weed (Cyperus involucratus) we have there. It's a soggy spot, which makes that weed really happy and the Leonotus leonorus in the same area miserable!

Got aphids? Get ladybugs!
I need to think about what plant would be happier there - who always looks miserable by late summer, desperate for a drink of water? The Brugmansia is one - we cut it to the ground but of course it popped right back up in the left bed.  And the Lycianthes rantonnetii (Blue Potato Bush) at the top of the steps is another shrub that's much happier in our wetter winters than in our dry summers. I think the latter might be the best choice.

Yesterday I rescued some plants from the vacant lot at 100 Texas Street. There used to be a garden store there years ago but they were kicked out when the owners wanted to build on the lot. No building happened, and whatever plants where left over started to enjoy the peace and grow. I noticed all sorts of bulbs and unusual things growing there each year, and yesterday, seeing a work crew in there, I walked over and asked them if I could rescue some plants before they were crushed in the chipper. (All the trees and shrubs got chipped - a real shame.)

Unknown bulb!
A small Agave americana "Medio Picta Alba" was saved, and the bulbs of two large clumps of Chasmanthe floribunda var. duckittii - the yellow cobra lily - as well. Sadly all the leaves and flowers were weed-whacked off, but I planted the Chasmanthe bulbs in two spots in the left bed, and Matt put the Agave in the cactus wall to recover from minor crushing. I found a large bulb with strappy leaves that was about to flower as well and put it in the brights bed - who knows what it is!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Two of a Good Thing: Plant Sale and Workday

Anushka and family
It was a very busy morning around the garden today! We had our usual first of the month volunteer workdays (always the first Saturday from 10am-12) and hosted a plant sale. Annie and Matt have been propagating quite a few plants on the back slope, and with Pennsylvania Railroad Garden finally in the ground, it was time to clear out the now 'extra' plants that had been propagated. They arrived early to get the plant sale underway, and I went to hook up the water for the trees at Pennsylvania Railroad Garden.

Carlin, Paloma, Jackie and Bob (?)
Initially I divided the volunteers up into groups, each tackling weeds in a different section of the garden. Anushka and her family weeded the dog area; and the back and front border was weeded by Carlin, Paloma, Laurel, BenPatrick, Nate, Connie, Jackie and one of our nicest volunteers who I think is named Bob! Each time I ran back from helping with the plant sale there was another big heap of weeds to be added to the compost pile. Later on Patrick swept the walkways, Jackie pruned back a Salvia leucantha in the left bed, and Laurel and Ben took on the monumental task of turning the compost. Everyone did a great job and a ton of work was done.
One section ready to go!

More and more new friendly faces and neighbors came to plant sale throughout the morning, and it was a big success. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the garden before they went back to plant out their own backyard gardens! Many thanks to everyone who came to help out, the garden is now looking even better.
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