Archive for the ‘flora’ Category

Free Potting Soil from Golden Gate Park, If You’re Brash Enough to Just Come and Steal It

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

You can sort of make out the culprits on the other side of this mound:

Or maybe this sort of thing is cool, IDK.

Anyway, the soil looked extra loamy, so that must have been a bonus for the thieves.

Huge Multi-Ton Blue Gum Eucalyptus Tree Branch Falls in the Panhandle – “Environmental Weed” – Tasmanian Devil

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

This aint no bush, it’s part of a huge tree branch what just came crashing down in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle this AM.

See? It fell near Fell Street.

These Eucs are environmental weeds* don’t you know.

They Should All Be Destroyed

Of course she’s trying to kill us – clever girl:

Click to expand

*It was introduced to California in the mid-19th century, partly in response to the Southern Pacific Railroad’s need for timber to make railroad ties, and is prominent in many parks in San Francisco and throughout the state. Naturalists, ecologists, and the United States National Park Service consider it an invasive species due to its ability to quickly spread and displace native plant communities, while local authorities, especially many fire departments across California consider them to be a major fire hazard,[24][25][26] although the United States Department of Agriculture does not list it among its Invasive and Noxious plants list in California.[27] Due to such reasons, programs across the state of California have been taken to remove all eucalyptus growth and restore native biomes in some park areas, such as on Angel Islandin San Francisco Bay, and in the Hills of Oakland California, where Eucalyptus Trees helped fuel the 1991 Oakland Hills Firestorm.[24]

A Riot of Color in Foggy, Foggy Golden Gate Park: It’s August in the Dahlia Dell! – Big Flower Show Coming Aug. 17-18, 2013

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

As it looks this season:

All the deets:

August 17th & 18th, 2013, Dahlia Society of California, County Fair Building/Golden Gate Park, 9th & Lincoln Avenues, San Francisco

But whatever you do, don’t ask about the Walk of Shame at the next meeting! It’s just too shameful:

“Program: Deborah will present her interactive Walk of Shame where you learn which are major show sins and which are minor ones.”

Now check out the flowery language used to make the dahlia San Francisco’s official flower:

“The dahlia partakes essentially of the character of our beloved city, in birth, breeding, and habit, for it was originally Mexican, carried thence to Spain, to France and England in turn, being changed in the process from a simple daisylike wild flower to a cosmopolitan beauty.”

As seen just east of our Conservatory of Flowers:

Golden Gate Park has tons of dahlia now – check out the Yelp-approved Dahlia Dell when you have the chance.

An annual eardrum buzz in GGP:

Colour hidden in the park.

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See you there!

Well, As Expected, the $7 Fee at the Strybing Arboretum is Going to Become Permanent – A Little History

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Boy there’s a lot of overhead involved with the whole process of charging people $7 to walk through the former Strybing Arboretum, it sure looks like.

Anyway, here’s a little background on how we’ve gotten to this point:

LMA-BOS-Supporter Talking Points-6-4.21.13 Budget Hearing

Arboretum Contract Critique

And here’s a post from 2010:

“Not sure how many people were at last night’s “workshop” to discuss the idea of charging admission at San Francisco Botanical Garden (aka Strybing Arboretum) in Golden Gate Park ’cause I left before it ended. But the hand-count totaled 225 souls, so let’s call that a gentleman’s 250 altogether for the crowd.

Here’s the thing - people on both sides all seem to know each other and care deeply about The Garden. This conflict seems a kind of civil war (hence the Antietam name check, yes it rhymes exactly), a family squabble. It’s plant-loving Brother against plant-loving-but-other-stuff-too Brother. Get up to speed on this dispute here.

Now, once more into the breach, dear friends.

The mise-en-scene last night. It’s Recreation and Park Commission President Jim Lazarus taking individual questions from a hostile crowd, split up unnecessarily, it turned out, into three sections. This is what the bulk of the meeting looked like. Click to expand:

But let’s start at the beginning. Below, it’s the organized neighbors! They taped up hundreds of small signs to draw attention to the meeting. Did workers from DPW spend a lot of time taking down the unofficial notices? Apparently. Were any official notices put up, like last time? Not that I could see.

Inside, the fellow on the left, (didn’t get his name, someone called him The Kid) tried to get things started, but vocal members of the crowd didn’t like the agenda that was handed out, particularly they didn’t like being split up into three groups.

The guy with the ponytail went off, and the Eli in the Yale jacket on the right pleaded for calm. Thank Gaia for Yalies:

After a couple go-arounds like that, The Kid threatened to cancel the meeting. (Arboretum staff appears to view hosting public meetings like these as doing a favor to Arboretum visitors, and truth be told, if San Francisco officials are dead-set on allowing the charging of admission, they can do it regardless of what regular Arboretum visitors want.) Here’s a ten-minute video of the action.

But after a brief huddle, redolent of a friendly car salesperson taking your low-ball offer to the Big Guy…

…out comes lawyer Jim Lazarus calling an audible to change the meeting’s format. He seemed every bit the experienced pol he is.

The new agenda that got worked out with leadership elements from the masses: an uninterupted 10-15 minute “general presentation” of the plan. “Then you can decide how much you want to beat us up after that,” said Jimbo. “You can shoot us all when it’s over.”

This Lazarus Effect resuscitated the meeting. So, let’s hear The Proposal.

The Arboretum would set up pre-fab ticket kiosks at the Main Gate and the Friend Gate (near the Japanese Tea Garden) for $65K and then hire four part-time cashiers, a manager(?), and also a part-time accountant for $148K per year. San Francisco residents would enter for free after showing some sort of ID. Those useless freeloading parasites known as Everybody Else in the World would pay $7, or $4 (students and seniors), or $2 (kids) each time they go in. They’d have the option of getting a $75 annual pass that would also allow entry at the Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers – something like that.

The projected 100,000 in paid admissions would have a “blended average” of $5.50 per, resulting in a gross take of $550K. Take away $150K for expenses and you end up with an annual net of $400K, of which $100-150K would go into the Rec and Park kitty and the rest could go into whatever, like hiring more gardeners at $68K salary (plus 25% more in benefits).

The goal would be to eventually get up to a full complement of 16 gardeners, which will “never happen” without some new source of Arboretum-specific cashola.

That’s it.

“KEEP THE ARBORETUM FREE”

What about residents of neighboring counties in the Bay Area you say? It doesn’t matter, all auslanders gotta pay.

What about the rumoured $1.3 million cost of building the kiosks and other related expenses? That was just a “Cadillac proposal” dreamed up by somebody or other – the bare bones approach discussed last night would not be as nice, but it would get the job done.

This charismatic-messianic type got lots of applause for questioning the whole idea of charging anybody anything, regardless of the numbers:

Mr. Lazarus acknowledged the fear San Francisco residents have of being the next in line to be charged, the fear that admission prices would then increase after that. No promises on that front. Que sera sera.

But I’ll let the Keep the Arboretum Free people delve into these issues more. When I left, Lazarus was answering questions one by one, Phil Donahue-style.

“FREE means NO FEES, NO I.D.s”

Oh yes, the “next terrible meeting” promised by Jimbo will concern paid parking in Golden Gate Park. (Do people really plant their vehicle in the park for free and then run all over town all day? People do.)

Random observations:

The estimate of $148k annually to pay salaries for  the paid admission scheme sounds low. Way low, particularly in light of what cashiers at the Japanese Tea Garden get paid.

Park and Rec knows how to notice a public meeting but, for whatever reason, it appears to have done a bush-league job of noticing last night’s workshop.

Next up next month in June: the action will move over to City Hall and the Board of Supervisors. When will our civil war end?

Public Workshop – Botanical Garden

When: May 28, 2009 – Thursday 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Where: County Fair Building, 9th Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, San Francisco
What: In response to the feedback received on the proposed admission program at Botanical Garden, the Rec & Park Department decided there will not be a fee for residents. The revised proposal does include a $7. fee for nonresident visitors. Public workshop is to take feedback regarding revised proposed admission fee and will be seeking topics including:
Implementation of the new fee for non-San Francisco residents.
Amenities at the Garden.
Potential new revenue sources.

To Be Continued…

Your Moment of Zen: The Stunningly Blue Bamboo of Golden Gate Park

Friday, October 12th, 2012

You can get bamboo in blue these days.

See?

go8f6640a.jpg

Blue Himalayan Bamboo, Himilayacalamu S Hookerianus in Golden Gate Park*

What will they think of next?

*They charge admission to get into the area where this bamboo is. They didn’t used to. Remember to VOTE NO on Prop B come November 2012!

Presidential Polling Update: CHIA OBAMA: 69.6% vs. CHIA ROMNEY: 29.5% – Terrracotta Planters Don’t Lie

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Don’t ask about sales of Chia Ron Paul these days.

Anyway, that Chia company is based in San Francisco. Who knew?

Is this “Happy” Chia Obama or “Determined” Chia Obama? I can’t tell:

Click to expand

All the deets:

“Chia Obama Sales Are Leading Chia Romney Sales - CHIA OBAMA: 69.6% vs. CHIA ROMNEY: 29.5%

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 2, 2012 – Now there is a new kind of poll about the Presidential election – the “Chia Poll.”  While Romney and Obama are battling it out in the political polls, Chia versions of Romney and Obama are battling it out at K-mart stores and online. These percentages are compiled from internet sales and in-store sales at K-mart.

In the most recent sales data available from Joseph Enterprises, Inc. of San Francisco (the company that markets Chia Obama and Chia Romney), the reported sales figures since the start of the first airing of Joseph Enterprises’ TV commercial featuring both Chia Romney and Chia Obama (from September 17, 2012 – September 29, 2012) are as follows:

Chia Obama 69.6%  vs. Chia Romney 29.5%.

Additional sales for items in Joseph Enterprises’ “Freedom of Choice” collection during these same dates were for Chia Gingrich 0.3% and Chia Ron Paul 0.5%.

These results reflect the latest sales figures reported to Joseph Enterprises from K-mart and online retailers Amazon.com, Drugstore.com and www.Americanchia.com according to Joe Pedott, President of Joseph Enterprises.

Will the sales of the Chia versions of Obama and Romney reflect the actual outcome of the election? How will the sales figures vary from week to week? Will people buy one Chia version of the candidates or both? “If people buy both Chia versions of the candidates, they could do all sorts of creative things with them, says Pedott. They could make their own videos featuring Chia Romney and Chia Obama. They could stage their own debates. Who knows what people will do with their Chia versions of the candidates? I guess we’ll find out online,” says Pedott.

The political parties might even use them for fundraising purposes.

People can view the commercial online at www.Americanchia.com. Limited editions of the Chia versions of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are available at K-mart stores and online at Amazon.com, Drugstore.com and www.Americanchia.com.

SOURCE  Joseph Enterprises, Inc.

Video:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/chia-obama-sales-are-leading-chia-romney-sales-172207921.html
Joseph Enterprises, Inc.

Web Site: http://www.chia.com

Here’s the Reason Why the Cherry Blossoms You’re Seeing in the Late Winter of 2012 are NOT a Sign of Global Warming

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

So, yes, January is a very early time to see cherry trees start to blossom but what you’re actually seeing are plum trees.

Now both kinds of trees are pretty much the same thing, so no biggee, but plums come out earlier than cherries – global warming doesn’t have anything to do with that.

Oh, here’s what they look like, rather a bit more pink than cherry, in my experience.

Near Clay and Davis, Financial District:

And here’s a nice shot from Flickr:

Via Son/Jon

OMG, Now’s the Time to Join the Conservatory of Flowers – $29 for a One-Year Family Membership via Google Offers

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I think this deal from Google Offers San Francisco expires tomorrow, so act soon.

Click to expand.

Canon 85mm 1.2 Mark I, totally wide open 

See you there at the Conservatory of Flowers!

Here’s What the San Francisco Botanical Garden Looked Like Before They Started Charging $7 Per Day Admission

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

This is from before the time they put up the tollbooths. (I’ve stopped going there myself, a kind of boycott, I suppose.)

These days the place is a ghost town and all the docents are upset about the big change.

Oh well.

Attendance is “less than anticipated” but the people who did the anticipating knew they were lying so I don’t know how you score that one.

Oh well.

OMG, “Playland at the Conservatory” is Totally Awesome – Annual Garden Railway Show Has Beach Ephemera

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Get all the deets right here, and here at the Richmond District Blog, and below.

This show will run through April 15, 2012.

Check it, Playland at the Beach ephemera:

All photos by Nina Sazevich – click to expand

“Take a trip down memory lane as a bygone era of seaside amusement comes to miniature life in this season’s Conservatory of Flowers garden railway exhibition

November 18, 2011 ­ – April 15, 2012

Step right up for a ride back in time as the Conservatory of Flowers presents an all new garden railway display celebrating the legendary Playland at the Beach and a bygone era of seaside amusement that was located on San Francisco’s West End. In a dazzling display landscaped with hundreds of dwarf plants, model trains and trolleys wend their way past the famed Sutro Baths, zip around a replica of the Victorian-era Cliff House and whiz through a fantastic mini version of San Francisco’s beloved Playland at the Beach. 

Playland at the Conservatory, the conservatory’s 4th Annual Garden Railway, is an entirely new layout that resurrects the heyday of San Francisco’s west end, an area that flourished as a destination for fun and thrills after a new railroad built in 1884 made travel out to the ocean affordable. A dozen San Francisco landmarks, now mostly lost to time, are recreated in miniature and set in a landscape of hundreds of dwarf plants that bring the rocky cliffs and sandy shores of the area to life. Sutro Baths, the fantastical 7-pool swimming complex built in 1896 by eccentric mayor Adolph Sutro, nestles under Sutro’s other attraction, the Cliff House, which he transformed in that same year into a 7-story Victorian chateau. 

No doubt the recreated Playland at the Beach will be the star of the garden railway. Young and old alike will marvel at the sight of Playland’s most famous attractions in miniature, all in swirling motion and bright with twinkling carnival lights, while the sounds of the arcade and even Laffing Sal’s boisterous voice transport visitors right back to the midway. Wee rollercoaster cars climb the steep tracks of the Big Dipper, Playland’s biggest thrill ride from the 1920s to the 1950s, while a mini Airplane Ride spins and spins in circles. Other attractions include the treacherous Diving Bell, the Fun House and Playland¹s famed food arcade where hungry revelers could grab an enchilada at the Hot House or a sweet at the Candy Factory. 

As in past years, these replicas are all creatively crafted in miniature from recycled and repurposed materials. Playland’s historic 1906 carousel was created from a discarded light fixture, a slide carousel and a record player. The individual cages of the Rock-O-Plane are made from old pencil sharpeners. 

The exhibit also includes real memorabilia and photographs from Playland and beyond in a fascinating display that tells the story of San Francisco’s lost ocean-front treasures. Original wool bathing suits from Sutro Baths, the toothpick amusement park made by San Quentin inmate Jack Harrington that was displayed in the museum at the Baths, a Dodger bumper car, an original Playland sign and more provide visitors with an engaging way to experience and learn about San Francisco’s past. Period arcade games offer a hands-on history lesson with a chance to get your future from Zoltar, step into a vintage 1960s photo booth or goof around in the fun house mirrors, while a special scavenger hunt spinning wheel is a great, interactive way for young children to explore the exhibit. Portions of the popular documentary “Remembering Playland” will also be showing in the gallery.”

All right, see you there!