1/6/08

After the deluge

Guy said some trees are down at the community garden, so I thought I'd have a look.

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A Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) is down

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And so is the Coast Silk-Tassel (Garrya elliptica) next to the garden gate.

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And the garden gate.

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And a garden bench.

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These were not stunning specimens, so no big deal. The silk-tassel will stump sprout if the City leaves the stump when they take away the fallen trunk. Some stump sprouting would actually rejuvenate that tired plant.

I don't have anything particularly interesting in my community garden plot right now.

An Erica I stuck up here is blooming.

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Feijoa sellowiana is doing fine. Maybe a little windblown.

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A little walk? On the public land surrounding the community garden, this Aloe ferox is stunning. Notice how the fleshy leaves catch the light. I love that about aloes and agaves.

Aloe ferox?  I think so.

And Chasmanthe is pretty in large drifts.

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Ceanothus.

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Fennel and blackberry bramble--excellent habitat plants for urban wildlife.

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I don't know birds. Is this the Red Breasted Robin, or American Robin? Turdus migratorius?

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Iochroma cyaneum.

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This plant is ever-blooming in San Francisco.

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But left to its own devices, it's kind of a mess.

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I guess we're calling this red-flowering tree Corymbia ficifolia now, not Eucalyptus ficifolia. (The palm continues to be Phoenix canariensis as far as I know.)

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229 Coleridge is for sale and the asking price $779k. From the MLS listing: "Prime Bernal Heights! Best Location Walk to Everything! Vacant On Lockbox! 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Living Room, Formal Dining Room, 1 Car Parking and Storage, Excellent Block. Open House Sunday 12/30: 2:00-4:00PM. Offers to be at Laurel Realty at Anytime!"

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Emmy's Spaghetti Shack is a cute restaurant, but they play music too loud. We asked them to turn it down once and they said, "No, people know we play loud music here." We were the only people there! Too funny. That was a couple years ago and we never went back.

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This is the corner of Mission and Valencia. That apartment building is new. There used to be a Taco Bell there. Then it was an abandoned Taco Bell. Several years ago, I was on a jury that found a guy guilty of possession with intent to sell 50 grams of crack cocaine at the abandoned Taco Bell. The cops nabbed him on a tip. Have I already told you this? Anyway, it's apartments now.

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I walked all the way down here to buy work boots.

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I resume my volunteer duties at the Botanical Garden tomorrow, and I don't have anything to wear. My last pair of boots went totally kaput several months ago. I don't know anything about work boots. Caterpillar's supposed to be a good brand, right? What's most important to me is that they be water-proof, or close to it. I hate to have wet feet. Someone at REI once told me to buy boots that have as few seams as possible for maximum water-proofness. Okay.

How about these?

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Does the price seem reasonable to you? These are steel-toed, which is also good for landscape work. I have no idea about prices. Or shopping. I rarely shop. I spend very little money on anything, ever. Cat toys and garden seeds, that's about it. I could get in my car and drive to a mall or big box store and shop around. But then I would have to get in my car. And drive. To a mall. Or a big box store. And shop around.

No thank you.

I nearly always walk instead of drive if I can help it. But I don't take the bus or use public transportation anymore. People are just too rude, and I am not so easy-going in my old age.

They have jeans, but I think I can get by with some old jeans I already own. Or I can buy used jeans at the Salvation Army or something.

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And I have a light rain coat.

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I take fewer pictures on the way home because I'm carrying a package now.

This house was on the market five years ago and I mentioned it on an old blog I've long since deleted. The sellers had completely restored the inside to its original Victorian splendor--if you want to call it splendor. That kind of restoration used to happen a lot more than it does nowadays. Anyhoo, it's always worthwhile to stop by the open house when a Victorian goes on the market. You might see somethings you'd never see anywhere else--for free. (There are some landmark Victorians in the city you can tour, but you have to pay $ for admission.)

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I'm reading this book right now and when I saw this house today it reminded me of something I read last night.

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Part of the attraction window gardening had for the Victorians was that before the nineteenth century, gardening indoors was pretty much an impossibility. In most homes small windows with thick, uneven glass conspired to limit indoor light severely, while primitive heating systems sent rooms from freezing to boiling during the course of a single day. As late as 1864, Edward Sprague Rand, Jr., had to warn the readers of his book, Flowers for the Parlor and Garden, to "choose a room where the temperature at night never falls below forty to forty-five degrees." In most new homes today, even garages or basements never come close to such cold, but Victorian gardeners had to live with such climate extremes indoors on a regular basis.

Oh, it's true! Those Victorian houses are cold and drafty like you would not believe. Once upon a time, it was very common for newcomers to San Francisco to find cheap flats to rent in old Victorians. As you would expect, the cheapest rent was always in the least renovated, least maintained buildings. It would be as if noone had done a thing since the earthquake in 1906. You could get your bohemian on in San Francisco for very little money, and it was quite the lifestyle. I've lived in several Victorians over the years, all over town. I remember the last one was so cold during the winter, it was like being outdoors. Anyway, I have a house now, and I'm not very bohemian anymore. Arty, maybe. Maybe.

But, anyway, that Victorian above looks especially cold to me with nothing on either side of the top floor to conserve heat.

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I think this is another tree that had a name change recently. Lophostemon conferta, formerly Tristania conferta. Otherwise I can't remember why I took this picture.

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The common name is Brisbane Box. This has become a very popular large tree for San Francisco. No significant leaf drop, and not a lot of sidewalk damage. I like it because the bark exfoliates, and that's one of my favorite botanical features.

I freaked out a little bit when I saw this sign in a restaurant we eat at frequently (but not recently).

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Then I read the fine print.

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Excellently news! Restaurants come and go in San Francisco. Sometimes that's good, and sometimes it sucks when a place you like goes away. This is just a little Italian restaurant you wouldn't drive across town to eat at, but it's a keeper for the neighborhood. Guy likes the Eggplant Parmesan, but I'll eat anything here. Before it was Valentina, it was the Hungarian Sausage Restaurant or something like that, and it was sad when that closed. They had large tables you sat at with other people, and live folk music. I don't remember the food.

I guess I'll end with this mural.

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It's getting to the point where some maintenance is in order. I wonder who's in charge of that.

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(I have to think someone did that because she's wearing a Dodgers cap.)

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That weed is Parietaria judaica, a nettle.

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"Ling, what happened to your face?"

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Every time I look at this woman, I think, "Faith, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

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11 comments:

weeder1 said...

I have been reading your blog for a few months now and decided its time I told you how much I enjoy it! You are informative,FUN, and your pictures are great. What a wonderful way for me to tour SF without having to BE there..not that there's anything WRONG with being there, I just don't like traffic and the thought of the numbers of people living there just gives me claustrophobia. Or humanophobia. Interesting thing about the houses all crammed together..they all have something interesting to add to the view whereas all the crammed together houses being built today all look exactly alike. Ugh and phooey!
Thanks again for a great blog!
Weeder1

chuck b. said...

You're welcome, and thank you.

JvA said...

1. Is most of the SF Ceanothus in bloom right now? No such luck in Seattle.

2. Do they serve hard alcohol at your neighborhood restaurants? Last time I was down there, it was weird that lots of resturants had wine margaritas and weird-ass shit like that. I heard that there's a finite number of liquor licenses in SF, and in order to open a restaurant with liquor, you have to buy out someone else's license first. Crazy. The martini glass on Emmy's sign would lead me to believe that they DO serve alcohol. I heard that's why you see so many martini glass images in restaurant windows, on door handles, and the like in SF -- it's the SF/alcohol equivalent of red/yellow/green decor of hash coffeeshops in Amsterdam.

3. Have you seen Atonement? There's some pretty gorgeous plantage in that film. I think you'd dig the outdoor scenes at the start of the movie.

chuck b. said...

1. That's the only Ceanothus I've seen in full bloom so far this season. Remarkable isn't it? It's in *full* bloom. Mine look like they still have a month to go, at least.

2. I'm pretty sure they do not serve hard liquor at my neighborhood restaurants. I've never heard about that situation with the liquor licenses, which seems odd (that I've never heard about it), but I can't say that I've ever wanted hard liquor with dinner. Usually, we go out for drinks, and then go somewhere else for dinner. That just seems normal to me. Emmy's has a full bar as I recall. I've never heard about the martini iconography semiotics, but I will be very alert to it henceforth.

3. I'll put Atonement in my queue.

Frances said...

Thanks for a wonderful tour. Glad to see your environment seems to have survived the storms. As you say, sometimes trees need to be rejuvenated, nature gets carried away with her pruning shears on occasion however.

Sherry said...

Wow! Loved the tour! Especially the bird.

Christopher C. NC said...

The Walking Man does another great tour. I am going to be looking into the Heaths, Erica species and Heathers, Calluna's for my garden's sunny hillside.

Your red breasted bird looks like a Finch of some sort.

chuck b. said...

Heathers and heaths are incredible.

Go overboard.

lisa said...

I think the bird is a Purple Finch, or maybe a House Finch...as you can see, they look remarkably similar. Fun walk, as always!

mmw said...

Weeder1, Chuck's neighborhood IS claustrophobic.

JVA, most major cities have a finite number of liquor licenses, even in the west, at least in theory. But the main issue is that they cost a SHITLOAD of money and take forever to negotiate with the city and the state. So most neighborhood places don't serve the hard stuff.

Faith is going to be pissed that you think she looks like a hippie chick!

I LOVE Aloe ferox, but no one seems to plant it over here. It's all A. arborescens, which has nice flowers but is kind of a mess. Or A. striata.

Rusty Scalf said...

The bird is a House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus. In California Purple Finch is very much a woodlands bird.

Boy you've done an excellent job of capturing your neighborhood. I can almost feel the marine air on my face as I look at these photos.

Per Corymbia/Eucalyptus:
Apparently genus Corymbia (113 species) has opposite leaves while genus Eucalyptus (734 species) has alternate leaves. They are closely related and combine for staggering diversity.

List of Eucalyptus species:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Eucalyptus_species

Rusty Scalf
Berkeley