The CCSF Native Plant Blog Blossoms Again!

It may have been almost two years since the previous posting, but our CCSF Native Plant Garden is still growing strong!  Each semester two students get together to assist on the maintenance and host workdays at the garden on the east side of the science building.  This Spring Semester we welcome Michael Case and Emily Fryer to the team.

A highlight of spring is when the Douglas iris (Iris douglasiana pictured above) are in bloom.  Though drought tolerant, the foliage does have a tendency to look shabby and brown during the summer, but the wait pays off with this intricate inflorescence.

I'm sure you're asking: "What kind of exciting activities do they have planned?"

Weeding and cleaning! Some pesky weeds have made their way into the beds, along with a lot of cigarette butts.  With the help of some biology students we were able to perform some routine maintenance to keep the beds looking fresh. 

Stay Tuned for volunteer opportunities and plant info!


Seep Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus)

Its officially spring in the garden and we are beginning to get our wildflower show. The month of March brought us some much needed rain and the plants at our garden are sure happier for it. One outstanding wildflower that is blooming right now is the Seep Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus) which has bright yellow flowers with red freckles and resembles a monkey's face. This Monkeyflower can be found in all across the state in wet places like seasonal springs, bogs or even roadside ditches. In San Francisco a few places it can be found are the ditch that leads to Fort Point in the Presidio, along the northern section of mountain lake, and in Lobos Creek. This plant is great for wet places and does well under garden conditions with regular water. If you have a leaky faucet or a bird bath that gets regular visits place this Monkey Flower underneath and watch as it takes off with its rhizomes spreading as far as the water will let it. Seep Monkey Flower is a wonderful plant for a bee or hummingbird garden because it is produces numerous flowers and has a long flowering period. If pruned periodically it may flower into the fall but goes dormant in the winter beginning to show its colors again in April.

Seep Monkey Flower at a glance

Sun: Full-Part Shade
Water: The wetter the better
Soil: Tolerates clay, serpentine, sand and seasonal flooding
Wildlife: Bees and Hummingbirds
Pair with: Common Rush, Sedges, Fringe Cup and other stream side plants.

Sights on Site: City College of San Francisco Native Plant Garden


Workday coming up!

Our second round of planting in the new Historical Garden bed will be going on. 
Kaya & Lawrence went out and got 30 plants with the money raised during our donation drive, most coming from San Bruno Mountain, the last refuge of the Franciscan floristic provence. 

When: 11 AM - 1PM Wednesday, February 16th
What: Planting, weeding, picking up trash

Gloves, snacks and tools provided.

Hope to see you out there!


Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis)

Beach Strawberry is a perennial member of the Rose family. It reproduces by sending out runners forming a dense mat, which is good for filling in between rocks or on the borders of your garden. Of our two native strawberry species this one is more aggressive and hardier. It grows along the coast and can be found in the Coastal Strand, and North Coastal Scrub. During the spring and summer it has white flowers that give way to tiny edible strawberries. It has adapted to life on the coast by forming a thick waxy coating on the tops of its 3 serrated, oval shaped leaves. This adaptation limits evaporation making the Beach Strawberry a very drought tolerant ground cover. Another way it is adapted to life on the beach can be observed when the plant is buried by shifting sands. When this happens it sends a runner shoot up out of the sand to form a new colony. In San Francisco it can be found in the dunes of Ft. Funston, along Ocean Beach all the way up to Baker Beach and around to Crissy Field. When the Army operated at Ft. Funston (and other coastal sandy sites) they could have chosen Beach Strawberry as one of the plants to stabilize the dunes instead of introducing the invasive, bluff busting ice plant.

Beach Strawberry at a glance

Sun: Full
Water: None or very little
Soil: Requires good drainage
Wildlife: Butterflies, Bees, Birds, and Small Mammals
Pair with: Seaside Daisy, Beach Sagewort, Prostrate Coyote Brush, Coast Buckwheat, Pacific Gum Plant, Dune tansy


Whos Says it Never Snows in SF?

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus in bloom on campus

While the east coast is bathed in blankets of school-stopping snow, here in the cool coastal climate, wintertime means bloom time for species such as the wild lilac, "Snow Flurry,"  (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus).

You can also see the little blue blooms of the coast blue blossom around campus (walking from the bungalows to the back side of the library, for one example) and the bay area. 


City Currents Article

City Currents, CCSF's faculty and community weekly newsletter, ran a piece about the return of the native plant garden.

Go here to read it: California Native Plant Garden Replanted