A little bit of Bernal Heights





On disturbed land near a road and sewer construction project that took five years to complete: wildflowers and weeds.

wildflowers and weeds

I'm at the community garden on Bernal Hill where I gave up my plot two years ago. Here is Calif. native pink-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) that I grew from a cutting that I took from a volunteer that was removed from the South Africa section of the SF Botanical Garden in 2006. I planted it here in 2007, and it's flowering now after receiving, I'm sure, total neglect from the community gardeners. This is the end of its bloom season; R. sanguineum flowers in winter. Meanwhile, the Ribes in my home garden hasn't flowered, ever.

Ribes sanguineum

On Bernal Hill today...

Bernal Hill

a low lupine


Ranunculus californicus

ranunculus californicus

Native Viola pedunculata.


Too early for Clarkia; must be Sidalcea...?


With such a long wand?


And this South African geophyte Sparaxis tricolor does not belong here. Odd! Someone must have planted it.

This Does Not Belong Here.

Tattooed hepcat having Zen moment on Bernal Hill on March 30, 2009?



Bernal Heights


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Echium fastuosum

Echium fastuosum, Pride of Madeira. Native plant people hate on this plant, but I like it--at least for a month or two when it's flowering.

Echium fastuosum





Lilium 'Stargazer' in the Philipinio market on Cortland at Ellsworth. This is a good place to get a substantial sandwich for $4. Also, shish-kabobs, lumpia, etc, etc. 'Stargazer' was bred in California by famed lily hybridizer Leslie Woodriff. It's among the most widely sold cut flowers in the history of American horticulture. See Amy Stewart's book Flower Confidential for details.


Climb California

Yesterday, I felt very moved watching the funeral for the four Oakland policemen killed in the line of duty last week. As I was feeling moved, watching the news, they ran a story on this morning's 3rd Annual Bank of America Climb California stair climb event to benefit the American Lung Association. I knew I had to do it. I had to do it for the OPD!

(And a blog post, of course.)

At 52 stories, the 555 California Street building is San Francisco's second tallest building, and the USA's 51st tallest building, coming in at 779 ft (237.4 m). Total number of stairs: 1,197.

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I got out of bed at 7:30 a.m. and hauled my skinny, lazy ass downtown. I got registered...


Stretched a bit...


And I took the stairs to the top!

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When I got there, I was on top of the world.


Well, on top of the San Francisco world.






Remember a few months ago when we went to Nob Hill and I couldn't back up far enough to get a picture of Grace Cathedral? Here you go.


Washington Square Park in North Beach.


Twin Peaks on the horizon on the left. We went there too.


Fisherman's Wharf. We were there recently.

Fisherman's Wharf area

And of course you know Bernal Hill. Can you see it through the morning mist?


How long did that take? Was it horrible? Are you sore? I didn't check my time, so I don't know how long it took, but I would be surprised if it was much more than 20 minutes. It all happened very fast. And it was not at all horrible. It was fun! I sort of jogged up to the 6th floor, at which point it became a walk. I think I took most of it two steps at a time because my legs are so long and the steps were small. There were five different water & rest stations scattered on the way up. I grabbed a shot of water at four of them, but I never stopped to rest. The last 10 stories felt like the easiest. Right now, two hours later, I am not sore or tired, but we'll see how I feel tomorrow! All I basically feel is the euphoria of a really good workout.

At the top, besides the views, climbers were greeted by a hallway full of people ringing cowbells and noisemakers. That was fun.

There was food and drink...


There was wine...of course there was wine.


And there was a band...and not some sissy emo band, these guys rocked it out! Five A.M. is their name and they were perfect for the occasion.


I had just arrived on the top and was taking in the views, high on endorphins, and the guy was singing "What have I done, what have I done, Someone raise the sun".

It was a perfect moment. And I got a free CD.

ADDED: Chronicle story about it here.