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October 04, 2022

Salesforce Park Revisited (Transbay Terminal)


Just south of Market Street in San Francisco a five block long bus and rail station has a public park on the roof in the forest of skyscrapers.   A friend and I decided to ride our bikes downtown to wander around this park after work.  

Skylight for the bus level of this multi-modal transit center.  This is where the high-speed train to LA will terminate in downtown San Francisco. 

Above is a good view of the skin of this massive building running 5 blocks just south of Market Street.  I love this building and think the garden is holding up since my last visit in 2019.   

Below is a kinetic art installation.  It a linear fountain that is set off by the busses moving on the deck below.   I think it is fun.


Lots of palms here set off the tall curtains of glass.   Set in this canyon of tall buildings the wind can make for a blusterous micro-climate.   Palms are generally good for this situation. 

No mow Fescue lawn. 

For the Hill Street Garden, Mimulus aurantiacus.

Not to forget, we are downtown San Francisco sitting on top of the largest bus and rail station west of NYC. 

Looks like Acacia ‘Cousin It’ and a willow?

The next corner I call the Flora Grubb Corner.   These two vignettes are side by side in the garden but impossible to get in one angle. An interesting use of contrasting textures and colors of muted pastels. 

Skylight to the levels below to the street level. 

We’re circumnavigating the park and this section is a series of interesting plants from another mediterranean climate.  Which one?  Grevillieas. 


Brachychiton rupestris

Grevillea ‘Peaches and Cream' maybe?

Jeannine looking down into the main atrium and passenger hall sitting in the middle of this bamboo forest.

Cork bark Oak 

This one stumped us.  I think is most resembles and Wolllemi pine but the best specimen ever.  Maybe it a podocarpus? 

Dramatic end of the park.  San Francisco Skyline surrounds entirely. 

July 27, 2022

Growing Milkweeds in SF for The Monarch Butterfly

Today many people are concerned about our butterfly populations and particularly the western Monarch.   Overwhelming use of herbicides has decimated the milkweed, the Monarch butterfly sole food source.  Once in the millions, now down in the thousands.  

I was asked to plant some milkweed in my Noe Valley garden to help support the Monarch butterfly.  I recalled reading that some species of milkweed are not appropriate to plant in our area.  So I had to do some research and here's what I found.  I was looking for milkweeds that grow here and are easily available from local nurseries.

Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Weed), two cultivars available at Digging Dog Nursery in Mendocino

Going by its common name, this plant likes moisture.  Something that is not readily available in our California climate.  Only for the very few moist areas in San Francisco.

July 15, 2022

Tour of English Gardens with Mike & Frank 2022

So here it is.  I've been queried about my trip to England for the past three weeks and what are my main take aways from the trip.  What did I learn and make me inspired to try something new?   One of the reasons I love these trips is the introduction to new ideas, styles and plants.  But the one thing that I really like about the English and is another reason I travel there.  They appreciate, as a nation and culture, their love of nature.  Where that intersects the individual Brits own garden space is wonderful to experience.  I love how they have made gardening an art form.  

The list below is our itinerary and a short description or thought about my visit.  Click on the titles or photo to see more photos of that location:

Chelsea flower Show - London

Five hours walking around Chelsea looking at show gardens, tools, products and lots of design ideas.   What stuck with me, those small planting areas with pollinator friendly annuals and perennials.  Here’s a couple of the more natural displays. 

Burgundy lysmachia and apricot geum was the most interesting color combination for me.

June 14, 2022


Paul, Alex, sabrina juniper, carob, wild rosemary, pine, short mountain laurels?, beach Salinas, San Miguel, large pine, red oleanders, topped italian cypress, beaches, road side food, sun bleached wood, Claudia, jacaranda, avocado, red clay, no cattle, goats or sheep, few chickens, vodka and lemon sorbet, 900 yo pine?, couple types of palms, throbbing disco music, bougainvillea, outdoor church, 

June 13, 2022

Great Dixter

 Great Dixter, nursery, Cephalaria alpina J sidewalk, grass roof tops, 15thc timber frame hall house, Lutyens 1912, fergus, sounds of school girls, tractors, workmanship, gardeners, roof, hedges and topiaries, orchids, exotic garden, giant fennel, roofer, experiment, colorful long border, Briza maximum, path guards,high garden, narrow paths, sambucus trained as small tree.

June 11, 2022

Scotney Castle

 Scotney Castle, picturesque, Kalmia, green winged orchid, sandstone, agapanthus Gayles Lilac, wire support, 

queen’s inn - Hawkhurst:  good room and food. 

June 10, 2022


Delos garden Dan Pearson, Dianthus cortunsian or cruentus?, Phlomis, white garden artemisia, absinthium, Allium moly, Luzula nivea, astrantia, evening primrose, 

June 06, 2022


 Royal Botanical Garden Kew, giant sequoia, find prostanthera

June 05, 2022

Sheffield Park

 Sheffield Park, Montezumae Pine, Kalmia latifolia, very large rhododendrons, root system of felled tree, large beech with bluebells, old yews, Giant Sequoia, 125 year old maple, Bodant rhododendron, scenes for painting, chamaecypris nana, Cirsium atropurpureum, 


Wollemia nobilis, sequoia, orchids, Cedrus lobebii, kornus and handerchief, Craspedia globosa, phyllocladus glauca, leptosperum?, curry plant, ixia?, pittosporum alchemillia, geranium, burgundy alliums, dark rutabeckia, verbena, eryiron, Catalpa, pink and yellow, cornus kousa Satomi, orange and purple, rose garden, columns of Queen of Sweden, rosa white pet, delphinium and euphorbia, 

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