17. St Francis of the Guns Garden

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March 23, 2017 by missionazul

We have been planting the garden at the entrance to City College of San Francisco for the past two years or so.  Thank you to Steve Petersen the landscape supervisor for his permission and blessing, to Steven Brown for supporting us in this endeavor with the students, and to Robert Broucaret for his hard work with his construction class setting up the infrastructure.  It started with a landscape plan by Danielle Coulter that was chosen as a winner by the Portola Neighborhood Association.


We took Danielle’s ideas and design structure and ran with it very loosely.  That is to say, we were constrained by plants available, by the plants grown by students, by the site’s particularly windy exposure, by the weedy and hard soil, and by human power and laboratory time.  Nevertheless, we tried our best to emulate and follow through with Danielle’s drought resistent palette, the gentle undulating waves of perennials snaking back and forth, and great sparks of masses and colors here and there.  We substituted some aeonium for rosemary, and a few agaves for arctostaphylos.  We added a handful of species to her plant list.



IMG_5630.jpgAbout five classes have worked out there so far.  That is to say, each semester, students worked out there for one to two lab periods weeding, planting, and mulching.  Being that one of the classes runs at night, we were out there with St Francis in the moonlight on a couple of occasions.  And as always – Safety first!  Put the shovels and picks in a safe place, not laying around.  Make sure wheelbarrows are not blocking the way for student pedestrians.  Be very careful hopping up and down on the retaining walls and hand rails.  Here are the students that have helped make the garden bloom:






Well, enough of the posed shots for the camera.  These are the action shots of people working together, creating something beautiful and natural.





This is the list of plants we have gathered so far.  They are plants from all over the world.  The plants seem to reflect our student body – diverse, healthy people with a myriad of interesting experiences and life stories.

Botanical name                Family                  From

Aeonium species             Crassulaceae      Africa
Agapanthus praecox      Amaryllidaceae  Africa
Agave attenuata              Agavaceae           North America
Agave species                  Agavaceae            North and Central America
Aloe species                     Asphodelaceae   Africa
Amaryllis belladonna   Amaryllidaceae  Africa
Arctotheca calendula   Asteraceae           Africa
Aster chilensis               Asteraceae            North America
Bulbine fruitescens       Asphodelaceae   Africa
Calandrinia spectabilis Portulacaceae    Chile
Cistus albidus                 Cistaceae              Mediterranean
Cotyledon orbiculata    Crassulaceae       Africa
Crassula species            Crassulaceae        Africa
Dierama pulcherrimum Iridaceae            Africa
Echeveria imbricata      Crassulaceae      South America
Erigeron glauca              Asteraceae          North America – California
Eriocephalus africanus Asteraceae         Africa
Festuca ovina                 Poaceae                Europe and Asia
Fucraea longaeva          Agavaceae           North and Central America
Gazania rigens              Asteraceae           Africa
Grindelia stricta           Asteraceae           North America – California
Iris douglasiana           Iridaceae               North America – California
Kalanchoe species       Crassulaceae       Africa
Lavandula stoechas    Lamiaceae           Mediterranean
Linum usitatissimum Linaceae              Europe, Asia
Ornithogalum species Asparagaceae    Europe, Africa
Oscularia deltoides      Aizoaceae            Africa
Pelargonium cordifolium Geraniaceae Africa
Phlomis species           Lamiaceae           Mediterranean
Plantago lanceolata   Plantaginaceae    Eurasia
Plectranthus amboinicus Lamiaceae    Africa
Plectranthus argentatus Lamiaceae     Australia
Plectranthus barbatus Lamiaceae         Africa, Asia
Plectranthus neochilus Lamiaceae       Africa
Salvia leucophylla      Lamiaceae            North America – California
Salvia mellifera          Lamiaceae            North America
Sedum species           Crassulaceae        Worldwide
Senecio cineraria      Asteraceae            Mediterranean
Sisyrinchium bellum Iridaceae             North America – California

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