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.

Mission Pie Sidewalk Replanting

I just helped Mission Pie finish up the first phase of their sidewalk replanting at 25th and Mission in San Francisco.  I’ll post more photos soon but missionlocal.org has some here: http://missionlocal.org/2011/04/a-garden-grows-at-mission-pie/

Insanely low budget garden

This is one of the most creative and interesting gardens I have ever seen.  It’s a bunch of jade and aloe cuttings stuck into red painted plastic containers and aluminum cans.  The plants have a reddish hue and the combination against the blue is incredible.  Cheap, bold, compact, recycled, creative and on top of all that it’s all on a tiny plot covered with concrete.  Maybe not classy but definitely beautiful in its own way.  The dripping rust stains even work.