Monday, April 30, 2018

Cuttings and weedings and ponderings

Yesterday I went to PG to do some weeding. On arrival I saw a deserted encampment down in the back area, and dolefully set about moving all the trash/bedding to the curb. I used the 311 app to schedule a pickup right away, as these can take time to be done.

Then I saw a man heading purposefully to the back of the garden - to the camp. He came back a few minutes later and asked if I had seen a backpack - I showed him where it was, and told him this is not a good place to camp... he had uprooted and broken up several of the yucca branches planted back there to make his camp, and as usual there will be piles of trash, used needles, vomit and crap to clean up...

I called police non-emergency - as is our policy - in order to underscore that this is not a place to camp, and went back to weeding, very sadly, thinking that there is no winner here, and feeling helpless, frustrated, unsafe, and annoyed.

Sorry - I wish it was all flowers and butterflies, but  unfortunately in the last year, this garden has become as impacted as the rest of the city by homeless issues, and the poor decisions of the governments of yesteryear...

On the plus side, I was happy to see Aditi, who dropped off two pots of cuttings she has been nurturing for several weeks. And they're rooted! I brought them home and I'll publish a post about how to root cuttings soon.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Weed Profile: Dove's Foot Cranesbill (Geranium molle)

Tiny, blurry flowers
This is the second in our weed ID series. I've noticed this weed is very common at PG this year, and while it has some redeeming qualities, it's still competing with other plants for light and food, so it needs to go.

Latin name: Geranium molle ("jer-AY-nee-um" and "MOLL-ay")
Common name: Dove's Foot Cranesbill, Dovefoot Geranium
Originally from: Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean areas
Blooms: Flowers bloom all the time. They are small, pink/purple, and about 1/4" - 1/2" in diameter.  
Worst feature: It is everywhere!

Best feature: Cute leaves, tiny flowers, easy to weed out.
Height x width: 6"-14" x 6"-14"

The whole thing
How best to weed: Just pull it up by the roots - in damp soil they come out easily if you grab the whole base of them.
Don't mistake it for:  The fancier geraniums!

This annual plant grows quickly and seeds quickly too - like most annuals. But it can also survive over winter and become a short-lived perennial. It has pretty little leaves, and tiny purple flowers. Throw in somewhat hairy reddish stems and overall it's not ugly! But at the same time, it's not really a superb ground cover or fascinating specimen plant, like some of it's relatives (Pelargoniums etc) so by dint of being a bit dowdy, it's a weed. OK, now I feel a bit guilty.

Red stems and rounded leaves
It is native to the Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean areas, and has naturalized in other parts of Europe, in southwestern and central Asia and in North Africa. It's not a threat to native ecosystems, however, so no cause for panic.

So it's not evil - but could it be useful? In 1652 Nicholas Culpeper  suggested a variety of uses for G. molle, including the treatment of internal and external injuries. Apparently the bruised leaf healed external injuries faster, and a boiled concentration in wine was said to relieve gout and other joint pains. But then, who has gout these days? If you do, please help yourself to this weed - take as many as you want!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Weed-A-Thon results!

Our volunteer workday annual Weed-A-Thon was a blast!

We were joined by May from SFPA and Paul and his crew from the SFPA’s Clean and Green Team. They set about emptying our compost bins so we can move the bins to a better spot.

When that was done, they removed the new homeless encampment that had sprung up at the back of the garden too. After moving all the trash and green waste to the street, a full 12 bags of waste, they moved down to PRG where the weed situation is intense.

Half the crew picked up trash and made a huge pile, the other half weeded the pathways. End result after 3 hours? 10 more bags of trash and green waste, and a huge pile of street closure signs that PG&E left on the street months ago.

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew was up at PG weeding away like maniacs.

Matt, Hilary, Aditi, Chris, Gretchen and Katsura diligently pulled weeds from the soft, rain-damp soil and accumulated another dozen bags of weeds. They also spread loads of wood ships on the pathways, and widened the main path up the garden significantly.

Now, let’s not kid ourselves – there’s a LOT more to do, but in 5 hours this crew removed a HUGE amount of weeds and trash, and made a HUGE difference to the garden – thank you so much for your help!

We had a nice break for pizza at noon, and finished up at 3pm completely exhausted, but utterly satisfied with all the effort. What a rewarding day in the glorious sunshine after the storm. I am going to sleep for a week.

Thanks Kunaal for the photos - check out our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more pics!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Annual Weed-A-Thon is coming up!

Mark your calendars - our annual Weed-A-Thon is coming up on Saturday April 7th and we want YOU to come help us weed at PG and PRG - in exchange for pizza, and also prizes for the volunteers who fill the most tubs of weeds!


We will be weeding from 10am-3pm, and taking a pizza break midday. Come for an hour, come for the whole day - every little bit helps! Tools, gloves etc provided, of course.

Please join us!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Another day, another encampment

Chris let me know another encampment was growing at PG, so Matt and I stet out to sort it out. On arrival the camp was empty so I removed everything and called in a 311 to get it picked up.

After that, we weeded. Two of the compost bins are FULL now - good thing we have a volunteer day coming up to help shift that! I weeded around the Agaves by the wrong way sign, and also the Agave bed opposite that where the lovely blue Echiums are flowering by the bench.

Brody gave us two Agaves, and I planted those in the new top bed as well.

Lastly, Matt finished installing the two dog poop stations. One at PG, one down the street at PRG. They look great! No excuses dog owners - you have got to pick up your dogs poop!
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