1/01/2007

Buena Vista Park

in the Haight-Ashbury. If these trees could talk, the stories they would tell. I lived in this neighborhood for a year in the early 1990s (1990, in fact--I was 20 and 21 years old then), but I don't recall ever visiting.

37 acres (and, hey, 37 years), and all I know about the place is what I've heard from other people and read in books. How different I am now!

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For one thing, I can identify most of the plants growing here! Quite a few are Bay Area natives, including these three:

Garrya elliptica (Garryaceae), the coast silktassel bush. Those long, white catkins start growing in Nov-Dec, and put on quite a show in Jan and Feb. The whole tree becomes festooned with white tassels. Then it looks pretty ratty when the catkins die, so time to prune. This one needs at least another two weeks before it's ready for prime time.

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Another good one for winter interest: Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum. Currant, in the Grossulariaceae. Semi-deciduous shrub. I have three Ribes in my garden. This one could use some thinning. Clusters of pink flowers hang from mostly leafless stems. By Feb-Mar, the whole thing is covered in bloom. Hummers sip the nectar, and then finches eat the berries. (The building in the background used to be a hospital, but now it's condominiums. It's on the National Register of Historic Places for some reason.)

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Ceanothus (Rhamnaceae). I can only ID a few species of Ceanothus and I'm not going to take a shot at this one. They all look alike to me except for a few that have very distinct leaves or growth habits.

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Mostly mansions ring the park, and I've always wondered about that because I think of it as a seedy park. Probably San Francisco's seediest. (And by seedy, I mean, you know, rundown, disreputable...not full of garden seeds. Although, I'm sure there are a lot of seeds here too.)

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We're on a hilltop--so nice views.

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This is also San Francisco's oldest park (established in 1867), and some of the trees are believed to be original, but I wouldn't know which ones.

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Believe it or not, WPA workers built these drainages with marble from tombstones when San Francisco's cemeteries were moved to Colma!

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File that under things that would never happen today.

3 comments:

Internet Ronin said...

Believe it or not, I've been there even though I've never lived in The City.

As for the ceanothus, I think you're right, but don't quote me: I told people my specialty was Round-up when I played Master Gardener ;-)

I wonder - are those the tombstones removed when the Fireman's Fund building was built? (Have no idea what they call it now.) IIRC, it was some time in the '50's and they dug up an entire cemetary, Chinese I think. If so, that might explain the mass quantities of marble available.

chuck b. said...

I'm pretty sure these stones went down in the 30s. I don't know about the Fireman's Fund bldg, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear about the Chinese cemetery stones being "recycled"...I'm curious tho', and I know just the person to ask...

Internet Ronin said...

Let me know - I'm curious, too. (I thought I posted this comment last night, but I guess I only hit preview