Bernalwood* Floristic Province

I am almost done with spring quarter. All I have to do is finish writing this paper that I have been working on 10 hours a day since last Friday. Right now I am so sick of it I want to throw up just thinking about it. But I am determined to finish today and wake up tomorrow unencumbered by this unpleasant weight. To clear my head for the difficult task ahead, I enjoyed my coffee on Bernal Hill this morning.


The whole Bay Area has been uncharacteristically shrouded in rain and low clouds for the last several days. Mostly chained to my desk, I have not minded this one bit.


Nor would I say have the spring bulbs.


I mean, does this flower look unhappy to you?


Or this one?


How about the whole north slope of Bernal Hill?


At one point I would have ID'd these bulbs with confidence as Brodiaea elegans, but I now cede those declarations to those who can keep up with the taxonomic progress of California's many geophytes. Besides, that's what blog comments are for.


Brodiaeas (you can say "bro-DAY-uh") are commonly available at native plant nurseries throughout California. A similar bulb, Triteleia laxa, is even more commonly available in nurseries of all kinds, sold in bags of a dozen. Books say gophers are a problem, but here they are growing with abandon on Bernal.






I think you get the idea.


Maybe just a couple more..?



So nice to see native plants holding their own amongst the crush of newcomers, like this red valerian (Centranthus ruber). This European immigrant escaped from our gardens and incorporated itself in our open space.


What are you gonna do.


Also blooming now near the small parking lot at the top of Folsom Street, a nice stand of seep monkeyflower (Mimulus gutattus). This plant lasts only as long as there is water in the ground. Like the bulbs, it will die back completely with the arrival of summer.


You can sometimes find this one in nurseries too. I know San Francisco Botanical Garden sells it seasonally. The plant looks abominable in the nursery pot, but if you have a spot with poor drainage in your garden, you might want to give it a whirl. Look at the flower.


Another native Bernal Hill has a fair amount of, hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea).


Took me awhile to get this one established in my own garden, but it now taking off and I'll probably have to start removing it in places. Gardener problems!

The big, old blue elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) has flowers now too. I have not tasted its berries.


It should be noted that Benal's native flora do not grow entirely without assistance. Several people tend these acres regularly to help preserve the balance. I for one am grateful.


Meanwhile, life goes on. (Note: That is something you can always say in a blog post when you are ready to transition to different content.)




There is nothing sadder than a lost cat. (Well, maybe a lost child.)

Dear kitty, please find your way home.








The small native garden at the top of Gates Street makes a great transition from Bernal Hill the open space to Bernal Heights the neighborhood.


What a great place to let Romneya coulteri run wild.


Even more remarkable, there is a wooly blue curls here (Trichostemma lanatum). Enjoy it now, because it might not last. Many people find this one difficult to keep alive, although this dry rocky slope is the perfect place to give it a shot.


The flowers are lovely, but get a whiff of the foliage. It smells like blueberries.


If you're looking for a daytrip, the Pinnacles National Monument is a good place to see this plant locally. Sort of locally. Not really locally. A daytrip. Maybe you'll want to spend the night.


Alas, I need to go home. I have a paper to write.


This has to end.





*Finally, after many years of mine being the only Bernal blog I knew about, another Bernal Heights blog arrived on the scene last year. Its name, aptly enough, is Bernalwood. When Guy and I moved in in 2004, it very much occurred to me that Bernal Heights, with its scenic views and cosy neighborhood vibe, would be a fine setting for a movie or TV drama series. Someone should tell Hollywood.


Nancy said...

Great pictures! Hope your paper gets done tonight. I so know the feeling.

Town Mouse said...

Great pictures! Well, especially the triteleia or whatever that is, I find it so hard to get that blue to look blue.

So sorry about all the troubles with school. Well soon, hopefully, you'll have just as many troubles but you'll get paid...

Denise said...

What fun playing hooky with you. Hope your liberation from that paper comes soon. What a ball-and-chain that stuff is.

ZZ said...

Hope your paper is done by now.

I enjoyed the rain out here myself. I'm kind of closer to Oakland than San Francisco, but I think the rain got most of the Bay Area.

I was in the middle of moving, so I enjoyed the rain. It helped me out alot, because I was not able to water my garden while in the middle of moving.

Thanks for the pictures. There is another bay area blog that I like to keep tabs on, along with this one. Just to see what other Californians are looking at in their neck of the woods.

Thanks again!

Matt said...

I've been away too long. Miss your walkabout blogs. Great pics and good writing. Thanks for posting.

Gregory Dore said...


I run the two gardens on Gates street and loved your pictures. Please could you send them to me so that I can post them on the Gates street gardens facebook page (or you can post them yourself). Funny that you called the garden 'small' -it's deceptively large actualy and is as far as I know the largest all native garden in San Francisco. We have over 120 different natives in the garden and the only non-natives are the rosemary which the city planted and the bees love so we leave it. Next time you're there feel free to explore the hidden parts of the garden on either side where you'll find all kinds of rare and beautiful natives.

Wooly Blue curls has actually been thriving there for two seasons now as have many other natives that are supposed to hate the clay.......
Thanks for including us on your blog.