Sunday, March 29, 2015

Many thanks to the Clean & Green Team

Clean & Green Team
I'm going to keep this brief and leave it to the photos! To get the garden ready for the upcoming 'Greater and Greener' Conference that will be visiting the garden, Julia from the San Francisco Parks Alliance arranged to have the Clean & Green Team come work with us. We had a great time and it made a huge difference to Pennsylvania Railroad Garden. Many thanks to everyone who helped!

Paul working hard to make
the pathway better
Julia making the pathway look good
Annie poses before getting
back to work
Despite injury Matt
did a ton of work and
was all smiles!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Two extra special chances to volunteer! March 28th & April 4th

Bentley is ready to help at the workdays
Extra special workdays you say?

We've been invited to participate in the Greater and Greener conference, which will feature our gardens as part of their bus tour. This is a big deal, as the "conference will bring 1,000 global park leaders, city planning and design professionals, and urban park advocates to San Francisco, to discover the power of parks in creating healthy, resilient, and sustainable cities." I think it's an honor that we've been asked to participate, and showcase how hopefully healthy, resilient and sustainable our gardens are!

To get the gardens looking extra special, we have added an additional workday on March 28th. At our usual first of the month workday (April 4th) we will make sure the gardens are in tip-top shape for the conference April 11th-14th, with the big tour being April 13th. You're welcome to attend both or either workdays, per usual meetup at 10am at Pennsylvania Garden. We provide all the necessary tools and training, just come ready to have fun and make your neighborhood look great!

If you have any questions you can contact me at:

For more information on the Greater and Greener Conference, please see:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lost treasures.

Last weekend Matt and I were at the garden eating our customary bagels from Hazel's and coffee from Farley's when we discovered a load of trash at the bench. Which really means a homeless person's stash of junk or the castoffs from a theft. Either way.

Among the pile was a lot of photographs dating from around the 1880s to the 1920s. I like that sort of thing so I brought them home, only to find some had names handwritten on them.

I started looking up the names online, and discovered two that led somewhere. One led me to the Find a Grave website and I was able to add the photograph to the grave image. Hopefully the relatives of Sgt Melvin Gardner Gross like the baby photo I added. He was born and died in Pennsylvania which is apropos, and it seems like he had a good life.

The next led me to the grandson of Edna Laing Bachman, who I found on LinkedIn. I contacted him to ask if he wanted the photo, and he was happy to have it.

"As it happens, we are burying the ashes of Howard Hosmer, husband to Edna Caroline Laing Hosmer at the family plot in Tranquility New Jersey on April 17th. The family will enjoy seeing the pictures."

So her photo will be with her daughter's husband and family. One person's trash is another person's treasure.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dog area reclaimed and other news

Bill, Michelle, Will and Leslie
get the dog area into shape
We had a super productive workday on Saturday, and I want to thank everyone who made it happen: Jackie, Bill, Nate, Will, Michelle, Connie, Leslie and Jean. This crew really got to it and reclaimed huge areas of the garden from weeds and did a lot of extra tasks too. I encourage everyone to make at least one volunteer workday, as we always have a lot of fun and it's a great feeling to look out over the garden and know you made something beautiful and green happen.

All clean! Jean, Jackie
and Nate posing in a now
picturesque dog area
As for the specifics, if you've been in the dog area lately you could not help but notice how much of a weed jungle it had become. As we started pulling out waist-high weeds I half expected to find a small dog living among them.

Even turning compost
can be fun, really!
As a crew we pulled on, digging when necessary, to reclaim the dog area from weeds. Meanwhile Jackie made the path along the cactus wall accessible, as it was almost entirely blocked by shrubbery. Nate also reclaimed a pathway by the beautiful (and getting ever larger!) Agave attenuata, making it a bit wider to accommodate the growing plant.

If you spend $5 on coffee
you can find a trash can!
jeez people 
Later on Alison removed the graffiti from the kiosk at Pennsylvania Railroad Garden with a little chemical solvent (yay for our anti-graffiti film!), and I walked up and down the garden removing a ton of trash. It's amazing how just removing trash makes the garden look way better, so I was glad to spend the time and energy on it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Jim made the garden awesome today; you can on Saturday!

Shed was broken into
 but nothing taken, whew!
Quick announcement that Saturday at 10am is our monthly volunteer workday. Meetup at Pennsylvania Garden, we'll rally, and disperse from there! Tons of things to get done this time of year, Spring is around the corner and we need your help to keep the gardens in good shape.

Fortunately we have some amazing neighbors around the garden, including Jim, who in addition to taking care of the doggie trash (which is a minor miracle to me, thank you Jim!) also keeps an eye on things. Jim noticed our shed was dismantled and pillaged and alerted Annie and I right away.

Jim making the shed whole again,
adding reinforcements too
After work I was able to go straight to the garden and met Jim, and we put the shed back together and sorted through the garden supplies that were strewn about. At first pass it looks like they didn't take anything of value, which is a big relief. We were able to put everything back together pretty quick, but it always feels a little violating when someone trashes the garden. After consulting with the crew at Center Hardware we added some reinforcements to the shed and it is now in better shape to withstand any future attacks.

Hope to see you all at the garden this weekend, there is a ton of good light work to be done so bring  a friend. Alison and I put up a few flyers around the neighborhood, so we are hoping to have a big crew. If you have questions about our workdays or how to get involved please send me an email at:

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