Jun 18, 2011

The Stone Pine near Stanyan

Google Street View shows you what was recently there

Earlier this week I found the stump and a few leftover branches of a tree in the Panhandle, near Oak Street just east of Stanyan. Google Street view (screen grab above) shows that this was an Italian Stone Pine (pinus pinea) a tree originating in the Mediterranean region.
I count 21 rings
The form of a typical juvenile Stone Pine is described as a "bushy globe" and this tree fit that description. The rings in the stump indicated that it wasn't very old. Some older Stone Pines are found at other parks in San Francisco (the best known being at Washington Square Park), but overall, Stone Pines are not that common in San Francisco, and I believe this one was the only Stone Pine in the Panhandle. McClintock's 1964 booklet does not list any Stone Pines in the Panhandle. The loss of this tree suggests some interesting questions: Should we consider replanting a Stone Pine, given that it's relatively uncommon and has some precedent in the Panhandle? Or would it be better to look farther back in our history and put a higher priority on planting trees that were present but are no longer in the Panhandle?

Jun 15, 2011

June Work Day wrap-up

Our June work day in the Panhandle brought together a group of neighbors who planted dozens of small plants from Rec and Park's plant nursery: lots of lavendars, daisies, and yarrow.

Guillermo told us about the organic methods he's been using to care for the Panhandle. No pesticides, no synthetic fertilizers.

To expand an existing bed along the north path between Lyon and Central, we laid cardboard on grass, and situated our plants.

Some of the park regulars stopped by to watch us cut holes in the cardboard and dig holes for the new plants. The soil in the Panhandle is really compacted, and this took a lot of work. 

Besides the flower bed in this picture, we also filled in beds on both sides of the Panhandle at Lyon. Here we are showing off our work at the end of the day.

Jun 8, 2011

Saturday workday reminder; McKinley Monument clean-up happening today

Our next Panhandle workday is coming up quickly - this Saturday, June 11. Rec and Park staff are organizing a bunch of projects and need the extra energy and enthusiasm of community volunteers to get them done. Besides spreading some fines and much, we might even get to put a few more new plants in the ground. Come out to join us at 9 am. Late arrivals are also welcome.

recent writing on the Monument

There's also big news at the park this afternoon! Work at the McKinley Monument is getting underway this afternoon and continues tomorrow morning. A team of four workers are out with brushes and solvents to tackle  graffiti, and then re-apply a protective sealant over the stone. The workers were sent by the San Francisco Arts Commission, which is responsible for upkeep of the Monument. Besides the graffiti problem, the Monument also needs other maintenance, which one of the workers pointed out to me, such as the open joints between the stones that are letting water penetrate into the structure. Those problems aren't being addressed this week, but they're on the SFAC's radar and plans are under development. Thanks to the SFAC and everyone who wrote or called SF 311 to report the problems at the Monument (which was last cleaned by the SFAC a little over a year ago).

Jun 6, 2011

Next work day coming up this Saturday

It’s time for another workday in just a few days, this Saturday June 11. Please join us as we kick off the summer season of park stewardship with a bunch of activities to make the Panhandle a better place for the neighborhood. The work day runs from 9am – 11:30am and we gather at the Bulletin Board near the playground.