And we’re back!

It’s been about 6 months since the last time I posted any pictures … partly because it’s been a crazy summer and fall full of gardening.  And partly because I really don’t like writing 🙂

So I’ve enlisted my friend (and founder of the amazing Phyteclub) Katie Renz to take my thoughts and turn them into something readable.  You’ll love her!


Why, yes, that is a weed wacker on my bike…

It’s kind of amazing what kind of garden maintenance you can do with just a bike.  For instance, I can do very (very) small lawns with a 3 lb weed wacker that easily attaches to the bike.  A little crazy but it works – sometimes people have just a tiny patch of grass and a full mower would be overkill.

On a side note – I’ve been timing trips around San Francisco because I’ll be buying a truck soon for mulching and installations.  So far, because of the parking difficulties, the door-to-door bike vs car timing is either equal or the bike is faster – even for getting from the mission to the sunset.  I’ll keep timing but my guess is that even with a truck ready to go I may end up relying on the bike for routine maintenance.  

If a sidewalk garden is too much, consider weeds

Knotweed (Polygonum capitatum) is considered a weed in San Francisco because it’ll take over a garden.   I wouldn’t advise planting it in a yard but look how great it looks when it grows in cracks in the sidewalk:

It’s invasive in natural areas but it seems like it couldn’t spread far if it’s surrounded by concrete.  I’d hesitate to plant it but probably wouldn’t rip it out if I found a situation like this one.

Good plants for under street trees . . .

. . . do not include Echium.  Or any other woody shrub.   Kids, there’s a reason these trees are so unhappy:

Big tree in a tiny pot

In the Mission on 22nd St.  The owner said there’s concrete under the pot.  Hmmm . . .

California wildflowers in full bloom

Spring hits at the California native garden in the SF botanical garden . . .

Tidy Tips flowing down a dry creek bed

There must be close to a million irises in bloom


It’s definitely not a small garden but the same planting scheme can be used in a smaller – but still sunny – space.  My neighbors planted a mostly CA native meadow along their strip of sidewalk that looks great every spring.

“Stone” wall

This is a concrete wall in the SF Botanical Garden made to look like ancient layers of stone by lining the inside of a form with tinfoil and pouring multiple layers of concrete, each with a different texture and color.

Very cool way to add interest to what otherwise could have been a boring garden wall.