Thursday, July 31, 2014

Volunteer Workday This Saturday

You're invited to join us this Saturday at our volunteer workday. We'll meetup at 10am at Pennsylvania Garden and then get down to work, making the gardens even more beautiful.

Any questions? email

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Echeveria rescue

Front border looking lush
Another warm sunny day at PG, and Matt and I went out for an hour to plant more tough, xeric stunners. Actually the trip to the garden ended up being closer to two hours, but we got lots done.

I turned the compost heap again (seems like the only exercise I get!) and added straw, then Matt added some water. Compost needs to be damp for optimum decomposition, and we have two bins full that are just a couple of weeks from being ready to spread.

Little Puyas in the front
Matt planted two clumps of Puyas of two different unknown species. This tough family of bromeliads comes from the Andes and Chile and is pretty drought tolerant. With a bit of luck we'll find out what species these ones are soon, but basically one went in as a low clump of grass-like edging along the middle back border, while another group went at the top of the terraces.

Echeveria secunda before and after
I planted a whole flat of Echeveria secundas near the bench. I rescued them from the Triangle Garden up the block. These lovely blue-green succulents do much better with a little dampness and shade, and were frying to death in full, blazing sun at TG. You can see from the photo how much happier they'll be in a few weeks.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Now's the time of year for planting succulents

Crocosmia "Lucifer"
My favorite time of year: the best time to put Agaves, Yuccas, Aloes, various cacti and other succulents in the ground because they don't need to be watered in.

With that in mind, Matt and I popped up to the garden and spent a happy 4 hours cleaning up the terraces, planting as many plants from there as possible, and taking care of the compost bins.

Kniphofia "Pineapple Popsicle"
I turned one of the bins into an empty bin, layering in straw to help speed up the composting process. Pretty good workout right there! In the meantime Matt was pulling all the potted plants from the terraces, weeding and sorting through them to get them planted.

A list of plants released "into the wild" to grow out of pots today (and yesterday too) includes:

1 Agave colorata
1 Agave desmettiana - variegated
3 Agave lophantha
5 Agave parryii
4 Agave shawii
1 Agave sisiliana
1 Agave weberi "Arizona Star"
4 Aloe maculata
8 Bromeliad sp.
8 Echeveria secunda 
1 variegated Furcraea sp.
1 Furcraea longaeva
6 Gasteria sp.
1 Mangave "Macho Mocha"
6 Puya sp.
6 Sempervivum sp. 
2 Yucca aloifolia 
1 Yucca sp.

Yucca aloifolioa var. gets a haircut.
I'm sure I'm forgetting some but that's about 60 plants in the ground: not bad at all! I also moved an Aeonium, cut back some Euphorbias, swept the terrace steps and organized a bunch of pots behind the shed. Phew!

The thanks is to you!

Many thanks to everyone that
has made the gardens special!
Without getting too sentimental, let me start off by saying thank you to Paintsource, Inc., formerly Fregosi & Co. Paints, which is right across from Pennsylvania Railroad Garden. Over the years they have always been friendly, helpful, and  also generously provided paint related supplies. Back when we were doing outreach for the new garden they graciously provided meeting space. An absolutely huge benefit has been the access to water for our street trees, which really made the addition of the 23 trees to the block possible. Wrangling water to the site by other means would have been a nightmare of cost and permitting. Hmm, this is a long list of great things they've done for us! It makes me feel like I should take an ad out in the Potrero View thanking all of the individual neighbors and businesses that have participated in creating or keeping the gardens beautiful.

It was heartwarming to see their 'thank you' at the bottom of their advertisement. Annie and I may have been named in ad, but there are dozens of people that we have relied on in big and little ways over the years that make the gardens possible. Many heartfelt thanks to everyone that has made the gardens special!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

4th of July Weekend Workday

Berkeley, beaming excited little dog-ness, goes to snuggle Eliot
Today we were able to get to some less frequently tended to tasks around the gardens. Annie and Matt picked through the plants along the back slope, selecting some nice ones, and spent the workday planting down at Pennsylvania Railroad Garden (PRG). Annie also picked up a mountain of trash at PRG, so I am sure it is looking much improved down there (yay!). Nate and I stayed at Pennsylvania Garden, making use of the recently turned compost by digging some in around the Dahlia imperialis (tree Dahlia), Fuchsia, the Lilium (species unknown to me) in the brights bed. We also put a lot of compost around the newly planted bed in the dog area, with the aim of improving the soil. Next, we went to the back slope and cut back/dug out as much of the fennel that we could and heard the booming voice of Eliot, trying to find us to join in for the workday!

Completely surrounded by spiky plants
 and still smiling, it's Nate!
After the fennel was all chopped into bits and put into the compost the three of us we weeded the pathways and the back middle bed. It was a great time to not be hidden in the back of the garden, as quite a few dogs and their humans came by to say hello. Many a dog was snuggled and I think a good time had by all! What a lovely day to be out and about, hopefully you'll get to stop by the gardens too and enjoy the sunshine.
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