Which option would you pick...

...if you were me?

Option A:

San Francisco vegetable gardening guru Pam Peirce's Fall Vegetables & Herbs. Five Saturday mornings in a row, Sep-8 through Oct-13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Vegetable and plant families suitable for San Francisco fall gardening, organic IPM, best practices, lecture and lab. (To make your decision, consider that this is the last time I'll be able to take this class for the foreseeable future. Consider also that I've already taken Summer vegetables, and that if I take winter and spring, I'll have a whole year [but there is no guarantee that I will be able to take winter and spring]. Consider too that some people who take this class go on to start their own garden and/or vegetable growing businesses. But I doubt I'll ever do that.)


Option B:

Native Salvias With Native Plant Partners - selections for sweet success in a healthy garden. Sep-8, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. "Noted salvia expert, Betsy Clebsch, author of the New Book of Salvias, shows us a fresh approach for combining interesting salvia species with California native plants requiring similar conditions. The synergy from creative combinations is not only beautiful in all seasons, but a wonderful way to ensure a healthy garden and bountiful wildlife habitat. Slides and fresh plant material will be used."


Seed Saving Workshop
. Saturday 9/15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"Learn to gather your garden's bounty in this hands-on workshop for foolproof seed saving. San Francisco Botanical Garden's Horticultural Manager, Don Mahoney will share his wealth of experience as he takes the mystery out of this age-old practice. Learn how to recognize different types of seeds, determine the best time to collect, and how to properly harvest and store your seeds for successful germination."


Ecology of Point Reyes. "This is a one weekend field class, beginning Sep-29 and ending Sep-30. A mandatory orientation session meets on campus Thursday 9/20 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. No transportation is provided to field sites." Full details not yet available. (Consider that I would have to miss my Thursday night Plants and Animals of California class to attend the orientation.)


Option C:

Native Salvias from option B,


Ecology of San Francisco Bay. "This is a one weekend field class, beginning Sep-15 and ending Sep-16. A mandatory orientation session meets on campus Friday Sep-7 from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. No transportation is provided to field sites." Full details not yet available.


Option D:

Fall vegetables from Option A, but absent for one Saturday day to attend Ecology of Point Reyes from Option B.


Option E:

Fall vegetables from Option A, but absent for one day to attend Ecology of San Francisco Bay from Option C.


"With more submerged acreage than Minnesota, Texas has just 166 bodies of water commonly considered lakes. All but one of them, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, are artificial reservoirs, most created in the 1950s to fend off drought.

Now that one, Caddo Lake, a mystical preserve of centuries-old mossy cypress breaks, teeming fisheries and waterfowl habitats, is under siege by a fast-spreading, Velcro-like aquatic fern, Salvinia molesta, also known as Giant Salvinia."

Pictures at the link.
Go look at this.

Why am I in the closet?

Because I want to show you my garden library.


As you may know, we're doing a remodel. We decided halfway through to get new carpet upstairs (because when everything is already chaos, why not invite more, right?) Well, today we got new carpet installed, and here it is.


It feels nice under my bare feet.

Yesterday we moved everything out of upstairs, and today we're moving it all back in. Part of the remodel involved some redecorating, and that freed up this Ikea Billy. I'm putting it in my closet to contain my growing collection of garden reference material.


The rumors are true. I have a Barbie switchplate.


I got this at an arts festival in Charleston, South Carolina in 1997. I honestly have no idea why I have this. I'm not into Barbie. Even as a flaming little gayboy, I wasn't that in to dolls.

My ex-boyfriend who is from Canada (Newfoundland--"the Texas of Canada" in his words) gave me the moose. The Return of the Jedi cup I found in my grandmother's basement, and my dad made the box.


My dad likes to make pine boxes and I have a couple of them. I keep miscellaneous crap in this one.


This isn't staying here. It's just starting out here.

I think I promised you a bug-eyed vagina soft sculpture. Here you go.


It can hang on the wall, but I like it on the shelf.

Okay, so I want to show you my garden library.

My favorite books are specific to California.


This is the book for vegetable gardening in San Francisco. Honestly, I can't imagine how anyone would even begin to grow vegetables in weird, foggy San Francisco without this vital book (well, there is a newer edition but I have this one).


For my money, this is absolutely the porniest plant book I know of--put out by the East Bay Municipal Utility District if you can believe that.


Here on page 210 is one of its hottest shots. This garden really turns my crank. Pictures of it show up in numerous books and I would love to see it IRL.


As much as I like that book, this would be the book I'd take home to mother.


Author Glenn Keator is a California hort god among men (and women), and this is a very, very good book that just came out this year. You could build several different types of native gardens with this book. And he makes bold endorsements for plants one might not think of as strong garden material, like bladder pod. I like that.

Ah, my first love. This book came a few years ago and did a lot to excite and renew interest in growing natives. Four or five excellent books on that subject have come out in the last couple years. But this was the first, and it set the bar high.


I think this is a good book for home gardeners, but I think it's even better for designers and landscape professionals. It has a slight bias toward southern California (the authors are from southern parts) and it has a lot of big trees. Torrey Pines and Sequoias are going to be too big for most people, even with 3/4 acre lots in the 'burbs (says the guy with a buckeye in his 450 sq ft garden--okay, well, whatever.)

Ceanothus reads like scholarship. I haven't really bonded with it yet.


And I haven't even cracked this one.


Strybing has a class on native grasses and bulbs this fall (taught by Glenn Keator, in fact). I would take it, but I'm taking "Plants and Animals of California" at City College on the same night. If that class gets canceled, I'll take the Strybing class instead.

Nevin Smith rounds out the list of recently published books I have on gardening with CA natives. This guy heads up a division at Suncrest Nursery, a huge wholesale operation in Watsonville I visited last year with some folks from the Botanical Garden. Good information about propagation in this book.


Some luscious pocket porn.


Author Scott Medbury moved to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden a couple years ago.

This out-of-print book sometimes turns up on Amazon for lots of money, but you can find it for less with a little bit of effort. (And you can always ask me to look something up for you.)


Judith Larner Lowry (Larner Seeds) wrote California's answer to Henry Mitchell. This thrilling book gave me goose bumps the first time I read it.


I rarely consult this massive tome, although the Soils chapter is excellent.


I love this old Sunset! This is the 7th printing (1964) of the 2nd edition (1954). So interesting to read the old Sunsets. Here, for example, is where I learned one grafts plum scions on peach stock, but not the other way around.


I have two Cynthia Westcott books, one on diseases, and one on bugs. She gives thorough lifecycle information and identification tips. Don't read these books for remedies tho'. It's all about horrible chemicals that were banned long ago.


I have a few books on trees. This one is my favorite for identification.


Elizabeth McClintock was an excellent writer and California horticulturist; she wrote this book about the trees of Golden Gate Park.


I just got this yesterday when I took some books in for trade at the used bookstore a few blocks away.


And this one too. There's a lot of stuff in here about good trees for container gardening which is something I'm interested in right now.


(My dad gave me that card.)

I don't have every issue of Pacific Horticulture, but I'm working on it.


I tried building my own pond a couple years ago; it was horrible. But this is a very good book if you want to try doing that but be careful because it makes it all look so easy. It's not. I have a plan for a smaller, simpler water feature project for next year, so I'm keeping this book for awhile.


I have a few design books for small gardens. I enjoyed this one even though I don't live in the northwest.


I thought this was very good for small gardens.


What else...


Rudy Rucker...love him. After all these years, I've only kept two chemistry books, boranes and mechanisms. I haven't read that A.M. Homes book. I bought it because Los Angeles fascinates me. The Thief Lord I borrowed from my friend's 8-year-old. He said it was really good (and so did his mother), but I just can't get in to it.

My dad took this picture in Maine. I broke the glass and haven't gotten it fixed because Guy doesn't like the picture. He doesn't approve of hunting, so he doesn't want to see the hunting decoys hanging on the wall.


Don't get between a gay man and his dumbbells.


I saw Rufus Wainwright twice in 1999, the second time at the Fillmore. Which is an especially cool place to see a concert because they give out free posters after the show.


I bought this painting of Spike on EBay. Guy's parents think it's James Dean and they think I'm really into James Dean and they're always giving me James Dean stuff.


We have some games, but mostly we pay rummy.


My dad likes to play Stratego, and he's very good at it. Every once in awhile I beat him, but not very often. Dark Shadows is Guy's game from childhood, based on the soap opera (the game, not Guy's childhood). It's like one or two steps up from Candyland, but it's fun and we play it when his parents are here. I love Scrabble but can't find anyone good to play with. Who doesn't like Monopoly. And we have Mad Libs and Uno and Yahtzee and dominoes and backgammon. And Chinese checkers.

I bought this from an artist on Market Street hawking his wares to tourists. Of course, I paid way too much money for it. I used to like tacky art more than I do now.


Nowadays, I mostly just like to garden.


Friday Night Garden

I'm planting a small drift of echeveria in a small corner of the garden (inspired by something I saw last month at UC Davis). It will fill in eventually. In the meantime, it looks nice with Sisyrinchium bellum.




I thought I pulled out all the sweet pea. This was a nice little surprise coming up in the tomato.


I think tomatoes like this come from flowers like these.


New lemon blossoms--yay!


Next to it, Datura wrightii. I had to pull the one I showed you so many pictures of because it was getting out of line. This one should be fine here.


It hasn't flowered yet, but once it starts this will be a nice place to sit.


The other solanum?


Yeah, I'm going to let the brugmansia do whatever it wants this year. But next year, I prune.


I thought I might have to reconsider my shade plants when the neighbor nuked his yard a month ago. I had planted in consideration of the shade his forest cast over my garden.

But I know some plants that need shade inland will do fine in full sun on the coast. So, it's a question of exactly how coastal am I, here in south central San Francisco. I really don't know. I'm going to wait a while and see what happens. I don't want to move anything unless I have to.

So far, the only thing that had to go was some Clivia miniata that I could see was suffering. I potted them up and replaced them with these cymbidium I got from a friend last year. These are actually two of three divisions I took from a single plant.


Now I think Cymbidium is a better choice than Clivia all around.


I added some Stachys byzantina from a clump that wants to swallow the path at the bottom of the stairs.


Here, by the way, is the neighbor's yard. It's no surprise some of those bamboo shoots are already taller than I am. In another year or two, I'll have his bamboo on my side of the fence. Sigh.


Back to my garden, this is Mimulus cardinalis; it will take sun or shade. This one's in shade.




I'm trying to grow some cuttings.

I planted a buckeye this year. Aesculus californica. Here it is.


I'll have to prune this every year, or it will become an enormous tree and destroy the garden. It can take a lot of pruning tho, and I will be happy to do it. I love this tree and I have no concerns at all about its quick, sudden summer dormancy that turns the whole thing brown for a month in the middle of the summer. No problem.

I picked a fabulous specimen. Look at the branching!


Okay, gotta go. More later.