Monthly Archives: 04/2011

EPS 50 geology class visits Blake

Posted on by Surprise Highway
Filed under: Education, Video, Geology
On Saturday April 9th, UC Berkeley Professor Chi Wang brought his EPS 50 geology class to the garden as part of a tour of Bay area geology. He met with his students at  the 30' blue schist outcropping in the lower part of the garden, where he gave a short talk about the nature of this special rock outcropping which contains the rare mineral lawsonite: [media id=27 width=480 height=360]

Bench Construction

Posted on by Surprise Highway
Filed under: Design, Build

UC Masters of Landscape Architecture Students, Rebecca Ewing, Katherine Jensen, Jenika Johnson, Robin Kim, and Lauren Knight, in the LA 121 Detail and Materials in Landscape Construction Class, instructed by Bruce Jett and GSI Darryl Jones are a team working on the project that is using the stone pine that recently came down in the garden. Several of the students are removing the bark with a spoke shave, squaring up the log and then  hand hewing with a broad axe. Another group of students are processing the materials off site for the legs of the bench.

New Formal Garden Planting

Posted on by Surprise Highway

We are restoring one of the planting beds in front of the house. Over time perennial plants & shrubs have died out and other plants from the garden (self-starters) with the help of birds,etc had moved in. It is time for an update and a chance to recharge the soil with nutrients. Dawn Kooyumjian, one of our staff gardeners led the  group with a new design and newly purchased plants from the nursery. But first we removed all the plants to loosen the soil and remove old roots, etc. Then we mixed our own compost that we make on site from garden debris with a manure charged amendment, and added this mixture to the reworked beds. Next, the plants were laid out according to the planting design sketch. The plants were then planted by our crew of workstudy students & volunteers and watered in.

Sheet mulching

Posted on by Surprise Highway

The EDSET crew (Education in Design, Science Environmental Technology) from Albany High School are sheet mulching with our huge supply of stone pine mulch. (See  posts of stone pine removal) We first cut the unwanted grasses & weeds to the ground, then covered over the site with rolls of cardboard that were pinned in place.  Three to four inches of mulch was added on top. This process is used to smother the weedy species with the cardboard & mulch. Over time these will rot and add nutrients to the soil.  In the future, holes will be cut into the cardboard and riparian species of plants will be planted into the ground by the creek.

Stone Pine Removal & Cleanup

Posted on by Surprise Highway
Filed under: Flora & Fauna, Community

After several weeks of cleanup that involved our crew of staff,volunteers & workstudy students, the campus arborist crew, and finally professional arborists to do the crane work, the removal of the failed Italian stone pines  is complete. The materials that we gleaned from the process provided logs for hewing into garden structures, mountains of great mulch for the planting beds and some "pizzas" for the Create-With-Nature-Zone.

Creek Restoration Update

Posted on by Surprise Highway
Filed under: Education, Restoration

Two of the UC Berkeley Rivers & Creek students, Catherine Sheridan and Karuna Greenberg came to the garden to go over the master plan for restoration for the upper part of the tributary of Cerrito creek that runs through the Blake Garden. We are ready to move forward to meet with the people from campus to go over the plan and start the  restoration work. Download the master plan PDF (4.5mb): blake_creek_paper_LA227.pdf