Saturday, March 31, 2012

April showers bring May flowers

April showers definitely bring May flowers, and there is a ridiculous array of blooms at the garden right now. Everything from Anemone to Yucca (is there a Z-flower?) is showing its' stuff at the garden. The first pic gives you an overview of what to expect; you can see purples, oranges, yellows, pinks and reds.

The second is a shot looking down the path from the dog area towards the bench. Daffodils, Ranunculus, California Poppies, Anemone, Yucca, Aeonium, and Glaucium.

Rain and sun also favor weeds, so don't look too closely! There is a volunteer day this weekend, and I was out last week for a few hours pulling weeds, so we should be able to manage the weeds going forward. Be sure to get out to the garden and check out the flowers!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Free compost this weekend

Who can pass up free gardening stuff! This weekend is "The Great Compost Giveaway" - see pic for details, and get your free ticket by clicking here

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hummingbird captured

For those who can't get to the garden often, here's a short clip of a hummingbird enjoying the Echium fastuosum "Pride of Madera" up in the dog area last week.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Aeoniums being stolen

Aeoniums, hacked off...
I've noticed this week that a lot of the Aeonium "Zwartkop" - the really cool almost black one - have been stolen. 14 heads from one plant, half a dozen from another, all cut off. If you notice anyone with a whole load of these in their back garden recently, or selling them at a flea market, let me know! :(

Today Matt and I went to the garden to plant some more of the cactus wall/terrace base. We planted the following:

1 Agave americana  "Xanthoria" (har har)
1 Agave filiera
3 Echinopsis pachanoi (San Pedro cactus)
1 Opuntia subulata
2 Yucca aloifolia (Spanish Dagger)
1 Yucca variegated, white-edged type whose name I can't remember...
1 Yucca "Silver Star"

Bottom of terraces - looking good.
That was a bit of hard digging work, so after the planting, some weeding and trimming, we went home for lunch.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Plant profile: Berberis linearifolia

Latin name: Berberis linearifolia ("BER-ber-iss lin-ee-are-ee-FOLE-ee-ah")
Common name: Berberis
Originally from: Chile
Blooms: Spring brings clusters of light orange flowers all over the plant, like tiny grape bunches.
Light: Full sun to part shade
Water: Rain is plenty. No summer water!
Height x width: 4-6' x 4-6'
Zones: 4a-8b
Where to find in P. Garden: A tall specimen stands on the right side of the brights bed.

This Chilean evergreen is a nice tough, woody shrub. I got this plant as a somewhat weedy little specimen from the San Francisco Botanical Garden sale in March 2009. I wanted something tough, prickly (to deter people from crashing through the beds) and drought tolerant, and that's what I got.

The color of the flowers on our one is a bit unusual - a lighter orange, yet not peach - but not unpleasant. They are often more of a reddinsh-orange. The plant makes a nice tall accent but you can prune them into a hedge or any other shape you like too.

According to some sources you shouldn't eat the berries it produces in the fall - you'll get a mildly upset stomach. Other sources say they're packed with vitamin C and make a sour but interesting jelly with enough sugar added. I recommend leaving them for the birds to enjoy. Berberis microphylla or the similar Berberis heterophylla (both known as Calafate), and Berberis darwinii (Michay) are two species found in Patagonia in Argentina and Chile. Their edible purple fruits are used for jams and infusions; anyone who tries a berry is said to be certain to return to Patagonia.  Zereshk is the Persian name for the dried fruit of Berberis vulgaris, which are widely cultivated in Iran.

UPDATE December 2015:
After 6 years in the ground and 4 years of drought, this plant grew to 10' tall but is currently about 3/4 brown, dead branches. I'm going to cut it back this winter and see if it comes back. 

UPDATE June 2016:
It survived! What a tough plant.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Take action: stop parking meters in front of P. Garden

As you may have heard MTA plans to blanket Potrero Hill in parking meters, without having done much in the way of studies to see if they're needed (well of course they "need" the revenue but do we "need" to pay it?)

Please email this, or your version, out today - let's flood mailboxes! Be sure to use the BCC field of your email and not the TO field to help avoid spam filters. Thank you!

MTABoard@sfmta. com, Edwin.Lee@sfgov. org, MayorEdwinLee@,steve.kawa@sfgov. org, Ed.Reiskin@sfmta. com, Megan.Hamilton@, Jay.Primus@sfmta. com, Timothy.papandreou@,Allen.Greenberg@, Bond.Yee@sfmta. com, Sonali.Bose@,Yvette.torres@, Susan.Exline@, Mathew.synder@, Jane.Kim@sfgov. org, david.campos@, Malia.Cohen@, Eric.L.Mar@sfgov. org, Mark.Farrell@,David.Chiu@sfgov. org, Carmen.Chu@sfgov. org, Christina.Olague@, Sean.Elsbernd@, Scott.Wiener@,John.Avalos@, sustainable. streets@sfmta. com

To Whom It May Concern:
I would like to make you aware of a couple of the financial facts behind SFPark, the SFMTA, and the new metering program they are rolling out, especially during this sensitive time period of budget planning.

The SFMTA's current budget contains a $28 million deficit, and next fiscal year (2013-2014) will run a $19.6 million deficit. Meanwhile the SFMTA is projected to spend $60 million in overtime this year, leading all other city agencies. This is $28.6 million over the budget for overtime, an amount equal to the year's entire deficit. Additionally the agency spends over $9 million on enforcement but gets none of the revenue from parking tickets.

SFMTA needs better solutions to its budget problems.

500-1000 new meters will generate only $500,000 to $1 million a year and be a disproportionate burden on residents in the eastern neighborhoods.

"Fixing" parking will not fix MUNI.

Finding better ways to manage parking and traffic in our neighborhoods can't be done with a "one-size fits all" approach to parking management. The SFMTA meter plan will negatively impact residential and non-retail commercial properties that do not want and do not need meters. PDR and other businesses are threatening to leave the city because they rely on street parking for business vehicles and employees.

Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF) asks that SFPark and Jay Primus LISTEN TO WHAT THE NEIGHBORHOODS ARE SAYING AND WORK WITH US to develop better solutions.

Your Name
Eastern Neighborhoods United Front, representing 2000+ individuals and businesses

cc: MTA Board, Mayor Ed Lee, Steve Kawa, Ed Reiskin, Megan Hamilton, Jay Primus, Timothy Papandreou, Allen Greenberg, Bond Yee, Sonali Bose, Yvette Torres, Sue Exline, Mathew Synder, Jane Kim, David Campos, Malia Cohen, Eric Mar, Mark Farrell, David Chiu, Carmen Chu, Christina Olague, Sean Elsbernd, Scott Wiener, John Avalos

2013-2014 SFMTA Operating Budget
http://www.sfgate. com/cgi-bin/ article.cgi? f=%2Fc%2Fa% 2F2012%2F03% 2F07%2FBAEI1NH06 7.DTL
http://www.sfgate. com/cgi-bin/ article.cgi? f=%2Fc%2Fa% 2F2012%2F03% 2F10%2FBA771NIMN I.DTL&tsp= 1

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Recipe for the week:

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)
Apply 2" of rain in a steady drizzle with occasional glugs.
Whip lightly with moderate, persistent winds.
Allow to soak...

That was the recipe through today, and as you may have heard we went from 1/3 of our seasonal rainfall to date, to almost 2/3 of it, in one week. Good news for the garden, bad news for people who enjoy a dry winter, and we'll have more rain next week so hang on to your (rain) hats.

Today I went out to see what'd been blown down, and how much the weeds have been enjoying the rain. Answer: "not many things," and "greatly." I also planted a few things Matt and I picked up at the Sloat Garden Center in Marin today. They included:

Lithodora diffusa
2 Lithodora diffusa - these went in between the California fuchsias (Epilobium canum) along the little wall by the bench, as suggested by our friend Corinne who visited the garden last week all the way from Wales.
1 Yucca gloriosa variegata - saving this for later.

1 Lewisia cotyledon (Cliff Maids) which is a sort of succulenty, pink-flowered California native. Saved this one for later too.

Santolina "Lemon Fizz"
I weeded the steps a little bit, and planted a couple more plants that have been waiting patiently for a while now: 2 Santolina "Lemon Fizz" and one Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian sage) directly opposite the bench where there's a bare patch of dirt that has been awaiting some inspiration for quite some time.

It's worth noting that the top step under the arch is rotted away. Matt came and chose a piece of wood to replace it - this time we're going to varnish it to hopefully prevent it rotting again so fast. In the meantime, watch your step there! You can see the missing top step in the second picture, above, as well as one of the new Santolinas at the bottom right.

Then I went down to the terrace bottom and planted a few spiky things. 3 Yuccas, 1 Opuntia ficus-indica, a large Agave scabra (probably), an Agave angustifolia and a Crassula ovata (Jade plant.)  There are still loads of plants to put in there, but it's coming along gradually.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Turning lemons into lemonade

On Friday night someone dumped 10 full contractor bags on the 100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. I was pretty irritated until I stopped to take a picture of it to tweet to DPW @311* and saw that the bags were full of red bark mulch.

Being a recycler, and somewhat of a cheapo to boot, I had an idea. Tonight Matt and I hauled 8 of the bags up to the Mariposa Center Garden and spread them there as weed barrier. There are still a couple bags and a trash can full of mulch there but we got what we needed and I'll ask DPW to get the rest.

 Irritation: diminished. The mulch is a rather gaudy color but it'll do the trick!

Now who is this landscaper who keeps dumping stuff on our block?

*Yep: tweet @311 and they'll respond to illegal dumping and the like within 24 hours.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

You call this winter?

Willa trims plants
After the 1/4" of rain we had on Wednesday, today's warm sunny weather and damp ground made gardening really pleasant.

I was joined in the garden by Willa, Carlin, Emily, Debbie, Nate and Tania. We took care of a few tasks and had a good time.

Willa deadheaded the daffodils, and then helped me prune the Salvia elegans. After that we were joined by Carlin, Nate and Tania in moving all the potted plants from the old shed area, as well as all the old bricks, and weeding the pots. Then we started placing the pots back in the cleared area as artfully as possible. When we're happy with the arrangement, we'll plant them.

Carlin's always cheerful
In the meantime Emily and Debbie went down and re-potted 4 of the many yuccas stashed in the Regent's Cab parking lot. All but one are rooted and growing fast.

They came back up to the garden and did a lot of weeding, while Carlin pruned the rest of the Salvia leucantha (Mexican Sage) plants back, as well as sundry other garden tasks, in between being interrupted by me. We bundled up a lot of trash to be sorted into recycling at my house.
Jes gave us these ice plants

Lastly, Matt busied himself fixing the lids of the compost bins and turning the compost over. I think the first load is almost ready to use!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Plant profile: Dendromecon rigida

Latin name: Dendromecon rigida (pronounced "den-dro-ME-con RIJ-id-ah")
Common name: Bush Poppy, Tree Poppy
Originally from: the foothills of the California Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada, and the chaparral and woodlands of southern California and northern Baja California Peninsula
Blooms: Bright yellow flowers cover the plant in spring but it flowers almost all year round.
Light: Full sun.
Water: Drought tolerant - rain is plenty.
Where to find in P. Garden: On the Mariposa Center Garden, actually.

Ah bush poppy. Evergreen, ever flowering and ever annoyingly hard to transplant. We've bought several for the Mariposa Center Garden and all but one has perished. It's the one that succeeded that makes me buy more...

Normally such a delicate little thing would be left to die and brushed under the rug, but the remaining shrub is a standout. A California native that's almost always in bloom, with a thick, tidy form, nice waxy foliage and no desire for water, it's the perfect plant for your xeric garden. You just can't move them. Ever. Or water them in the summer. Got it?

This plant is considered a "fire follower" in that it only germinates after a fire. If you want to try sowing some seeds, they say the best thing to do is burn them first! The plant is a bit short-lived: up to 10 years. but the seeds will survive in the soil for 5 to 10 times as long as the average plant lives.
page counter
Free Hit Counter