Dozens of plants were in place and ready for planting when we arrived at the Panhandle Park on Saturday, December 12 for the monthly community workday. Sticky monkey flower, Coyote Brush, native strawberry, and others were provided by Rec and Park for planting.
This spot in the park, just between the restroom and the multi-use path, was rehabbed during the 2012 capital project, but some combination of drought, irrigation, and soil quality conspired to turn the mound dry and bare. To address the problem, Guillermo Vasquez, longtime Rec and Park gardener for the Panhandle, proposed a planting of drought-tolerant native plants to save on water, beautify the area, and keep the community engaged in planting and upkeep. Months ago, the department sheet-mulched the area to establish a fresh, healthier planting medium, and with planting season upon us, the time was right for the first plants to go in.
Our repeat volunteers turned out and were joined by some first-time volunteers to get the planting accomplished. It was helpful that - unlike some spots in the park - the soil was not that difficult to turn over. There were, however, spots where we found dry conditions just underground - reflecting that we had had less than 3 inches seasonal rainfall to date in San Francisco. Happily, the next day we had 3/4 inch rain!
Additional waves of planting by volunteers and by RPD staff will follow to make this area attractive and welcoming.