Blog

Category Archives: Community

Bromeliad & Orchid Display

Posted on by Surprise Highway

Recently we received a generous donation of orchids from UC Botanical Garden. We assembled an arrangement of  cotoneaster  and plum branches that were recently pruned from the garden. We then attached the orchids along with other tropical epiphytes such as, bromiliads, to the unique curved forms of the  branches and rocks.



San Francisco Garden Club at Blake

Posted on by Surprise Highway
Filed under: Flora & Fauna, Community
Twenty members of the San Francisco Garden Club visited the garden today for a tour and luncheon. Each year the San Francisco Garden Club generously sponsors a design competition within the UC Landscape Architecture And Environmental Planning Program. Students compete with a design scheme for a residential site for cash awards. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Members of the SFGC viewing the new wetland area."][/caption]

CED Party at Blake Garden

Posted on by Surprise Highway
Filed under: Community
On Sunday, September 26th, about 50 staff and faculty members from the College of Environmental Design held their annual "Summer" picnic at the garden hosted by Dean Jennifer Wolch. The sun was shining and the temperature hovered around 80 degrees but it was very pleasant in the shade. It turned out to be a laid back afternoon of communing, munching and touring the garden. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="CED Staff & Faculty relaxing on the event lawn."][/caption]

Redwood Removal

Posted on by Surprise Highway
Filed under: Sustainability, Community

During the week of May 10th we noticed a 30 foot redwood stump sprout seemed to be angling more over the drive into the garden. We investigated and found a crack at the base of the trunk. Because of its potentially dangerous location we had to remove it. With the assistance of UC arborists, Bill and Carlos and Blake garden volunteers, Peter and Miguel, we removed the tree, chipped up the small branches for mulch, stripped the bark and reserved 4 larger piece of redwood for future use in the garden.



Blackhawk Bloomers visit Blake

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

The Blackhawk Bloomers Garden Club from Danville visited the garden on a blustery  spring  afternoon in April. Gardener Dawn Kooyumjian along with volunteer & retired UC Berkeley Intergrative Biology Professor Rudy Schmid led the tours through the garden.



Lawn Project at Kroeber Hall (cont.)

Posted on by Surprise Highway
Filed under: Design, Build, Community

Friday, April 2nd we met on the Kroeber (former) lawn to continue with the turf replacement project, replacing the grass with native Californian, habitat friendly plants. Blake Garden staff, volunteers and workstudy students met with Theron Klos, Operations Manager at UC Berkeley Campus, a staff of gardeners, backhoe operators and irrigation crew in a four hour incredibly coordinated effort on rainy workday. Much was accomplished. Plants  supplied by Brian Gim from the UC Botanical Garden were all planted in  very clay soils.  Rocks from the site were re-sited. Pizza was provided by Theron Klos to this  hardworking crew.



Lawn Project at Kroeber Hall

Posted on by Surprise Highway
Filed under: Water, Sustainability, Community

Theron Klos, Operations Manager from UC Berkeley campus asked Blake Garden for assistance in replacing a thirsty lawn on campus near Kroeber Hall. Since we had experience with that kind of project here at the garden (see Lawn Project posting) we were happy to help. First we met with Theron for a mini charrette, a design workshop, to brainstorm about a new design for that area.  Attending were Blake staff, Landscape Architecture grad & undergrad students and UC campus grounds staff. After coming up with a design scheme, the real work began. Removal of the turf at the edges was done by UC campus grounds staff first.  The existing inefficient irrigation was then disassembled. The Blake crew,  made up of staff, volunteers, and work study students from the College of Environmental Design, came next.   Along with UC grounds staff we rolled out layers of cardboard over the grass to deprive it of sun and eventually  die out.  Next on top came a 1"  layer of compost, then 3" layer of mulch.  The new drip irrigation is ready to be installed and  finally  we will plant drought tolerant, mostly native, habitat friendly plants. A new path has been made and will be surfaced with permeable pavement- decomposed granite. It will be stable enough to hold up to  heavy foot traffic but will allow water to drain through capturing the water into the planting beds instead of running off and into the already taxed drainage system.



Feeding the Elephants

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

Students from Albany High School EDSET program ( Environmental Design, Science, Engineering and Technology)  are interning at the garden this semester and have been working on a  bank stabilization and invasive species control project.  Along with garden volunteer Peter Suchecki , we have been "shrubbing" the Acacia baileyana trees that have overtaken a lookout site in the garden and completely blocked our view of the Golden Gate. We intend to continue to  "shrub" the acacias, leaving them to grow as short shrubs but not allowing them to go to seed. We will also inter-plant with more drought tolerant plants such as  succulents which already exist there but have been suffering with the lack of light that the acacias were robbing from them. Drought tolerant native bunch grasses will also be included in the planting to help stabilize the bank. John Briggs, the Browse Keeper from the Oakland Zoo picked up our acacia cuttings to feed to their four elephants.



Landscape Supervisors Forum at Blake

Posted on by Surprise Highway
Filed under: Community

On March 11th, Blake Garden hosted the The Landscape Supervisors' Forum.  The educational organization is dedicated to the exchange of information related to landscape management and maintenance. They are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, membership is comprised of a diverse group of landscape professionals from the municipal, commercial and academic sectors, including parks and public works departments, transportation agencies, urban forestry programs, landscape maintenance and construction companies, tree care companies, landscape architecture firms, golf courses, irrigation supply companies, equipment and materials suppliers, and higher education institutes.   This months meeting topic was reclaimed/recycled water use in the landscape.