Archive for the ‘garden’ Tag

Flowers in San Francisco   Leave a comment

These are some of the interesting flowers that have never bloomed and others that have bloomed twice this year in my backyard. The weather is changing, I can see it in my San Francisco, Mission District back yard.



Fall in the front yard garden   Leave a comment

I love the changing of the season for this neighborhood tree and the newly planted ginko losing its bright yellow leaves, across the street. The mums growing low to the earth, propped up with a repurposed stake, by an unknown Urban Farmer, seem to bloom until the dark gray weather of winter arrives. Winter hasn’t arrived and it’s unseasonably and unreasonably warm weather for San Francisco, California, even for the ‘Sunny Mission’. The bench top shows and still the homemade trellis’.

One of the winter squash seeds I planted, this is the first year from seed for my neighborhood, is poking up through the soil.  I feel like the farmer that goes out to pull the corns ears to make them grow faster, but for me, the Urban Front Yard Garden Farmer, “it’s making sure the plants are alive, showing signs of growing and feeling the responsibility of feeding others.” The neighbors are asking questions, seeds they muse, obviously doubting, so it’s important to me that it not fail.

Front Yard Garden Food, revisited   2 comments

peas on the east side of the tree

peas first planting of the season

Here are the possible choices of food plants offered to me by a friend, from her Bay area seasonal eating wheel:  squash, bok choy, green beans, lettuce, beets, carrots, onions, mustard greens and peas. I chose peas, as they were easy to get.

Squash is a must, for the blossoms and the fruit, then to peak some interest, educate and feed the soil, green beans. I am also considering bok choy, if there is room in the front yard garden.

Rain   Leave a comment

It’s raining, almost meaningfully. I use to love the rain.  I still do mostly, it really cleans up the streets and waters my front and back yard gardens.  The rain does what I do, but so much better.

Friends say it has rained a lot this year, I don’t seem to recall.  I wonder if I have blocked this information out, because of the Fukushima radiation that falls to the ground when it rains in San Francisco?  “We share the weather patterns ‘with’ Japan’; maybe I should say, ‘our radiation’, rather than, ‘Fukushima’s’ radiation, as it is ‘our’ radiation.

Here are some things to Do, if you must be out and in the rain, keep your head covered, wash your rain clothes often and take your shoes off before coming inside your house. If you have a garden and eat food from it, rinse it really well.

I hope it’s a nice steady rain.

a good turn   Leave a comment

I went out ‘early’ this morning to water the front yard garden and discovered someone had done the front yard garden a good turn.

The tomatoes had been laying on themselves, as they do for lazy gardeners and some Good Person, lifted them up, attached them by a string hanging from the tree, to the tree, in the garden plot. They also propped the flowers with a stake and hung some Art, a sweet, little, square, plastic, hot pink, earring from the string that is holding up the tomatoes.

Such a lovely thing to do for the tomatoes, flowers and my urban neighbors and hood.

Golden Gate Park   1 comment

Because ‘my time has not been my own’, I have luckily been in Golden Gate Park many times in the last few weeks, driving. I use to think of the park as my back yard when I lived in the Richmond district.  When I have a need to be in that area, as I do now,  I always find a way to use the park as part of my route.

Today I’ll take you on my drive through Golden Gate Park, entering on the Haight side. My landmark to the entrance of the park is the tree that has the lights on it during the December holidays, but stands majestically and cannot be missed even without it lights.  It looks fabulous! This is JFK Drive.

Ahead, on the south side before the Conservatory is the Rhododendron Dell. It’s old.  Just a bit further and to the north, is the Conservatory.  Below it, where the ponds use to be, flowers and succulents are planted.  There is a working clock buried in one of the plantings, it was 9:18 am when I passed by this morning.

After the ponds were gone, but before the renovation of the conservatory and its current bright whiteness; the doors were always open , it was free, the windows were broken or missing and there were lush, giant, plants, trees and moss growing everywhere. It was quite a romantic place when not alone and a bit spooky when you were alone. I went often, it was ‘my back yard’.

Moving along JFK Drive, to the south is the museum area.  You can’t miss the buildings, with their parking garage, they are huge. Moving along JFK on the south side and up the hill is Stowe Lake, with its paddle and row boat rentals.

Further along and on the north side is the Rose Garden, some blooms still left, but most have spent their flowers.  After we pass Marx Meadow we come to the  buffaloes.  Many of them were out and laying in their paddock. You use to be able to feed them. It makes sense to not let humans  feed them, not everyone feeds them organic apples.  On the same side as the buffaloes, but further west is Sprekels Lake, where a friend of mine, Susan RIP has a bench. This morning there are many old men playing chess or dominoes and sailing their motorized boats.

This is where I exit the park, just after the lake.  I hope you will go and find your own favorite walk or drive through the manicured, wilderness of Golden Gate Park.

I share my front yard   Leave a comment

I share my front yard with my next door neighbor and her next door neighbor, the Senora. Our neighborhood is urban.
I love all of my neighbors, but especially the two families that let Me garden their open spots in the concrete sidewalk. Not long ago, three houses on our block took out concrete and added new dirt and plants.
The plants were controversial for a while because people take sides. This is normal or average I think, for humans to take sides. There was the car side and the plant side. Some people think the car rules and if the car has to be more careful there should be no plants and some people or me think, we should have plants and open dirt with no plants and trees or bushes and food plants, of course, anywhere and everywhere and benches too.
You can see how plants could become an issue for our side of the block, but  instead we three really talked; the senora wanted something beautiful and doubted from my earlier plantings that it would ever be beautiful and I explained, that even if it was ugly it was alive. She understood me, I saw it and I understood her, she saw it. I planted a beautiful pink rose tree on the Senora’s side where mild opposition to the ugly plants has dissolved and we are real friends and neighbors. The rose trees seems to always be in bloom, it’s beautiful. My next door neighbor and my friend agreed to open her sidewalk, as long as I promised to take care of the garden. Can you believe it? I walk out my front door and get to farm in her dirt. I am so lucky. Her and my yards are blended or I would have planted it with food, but instead put a rock, large enough to sit on, another rose tree, that is so cute, right now in bloom. Herbs that grow low we planted in the corners allowing people to cut the corners, garbage can to runs over them, dogs to pee on them and still they thrvive.

On the side I share with no one, I plant food. I grow seasonally and organically. I planted squash last season, the blossoms were such a hit. I planted organic golden cherry tomatoes, but the weather was very weird this year and they have been slow to produce, but have produced. I had yerba buena/mint for many years, but it was took to much water from the tree so I took it out and am leaving it fallow.  I think the next plant will have to be a companion plant to the tree, something that will support my washington thorn. The sparrows love the fallow dirt.  If anyone knows about why the birds wallow in the dirt making little dirt holes, I would love to hear and the same goes for if you know a good companion food plant for my tree.

It’s interesting when you plant food on the street. It is not always clear to folks that it is free for the picking. Food is rarely free, even if it should be. I’ve seen people pause and wonder if it is for them. If it seems right, I yell down to the street and tell them to pick them if they want. I was so thrilled the other day when I hollered down to a youngish woman to go ahead and pick them.  She had paused to look at the tomatoes, I had hollered and she picked them all immediately.
Sometimes kids and even grown men in my neighborhood, who I know, have never seen a squash grow or a tomato bloom. That kills me. When I encounter such a person, there are many and they look all ways; I always explain how it grows and where to look for it at picking time and when picking time might be. I try and pick them something.
That man, that hadn’t seen food grow, that I shared with, is my neighbor, he’s part of my community and now I am part of his, just because we shared food. One of the Oldest of the Senora’s, my neighbor, has picked food, sat on the bench with me under the tree, etc. and just because of that her kids invited me to her Surprise Birthday Party. What an honor to get an invitation. I am so lucky, I really am. These are just some of the reasons I plant and work on the street level, it creates a sharing  community; people getting to know each other. It’s nice.


Posted August 22, 2011 by sarahdorrance in front yard garden, Thinking

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