Blossoming Trees Are Lovely, But Maybe Not Quite In The Way You Think

It's spring time! Cherry blossoms in February.




If you’ve set foot on just about any Bernal Heights street during the last few days, you’ve probably noticed the spectacular pink blossoms that are peaking around the neighborhood.

They look like cherry blossoms, but Bernalwood sources say they’re not. Sakura happens later in the year, so our sources tell us the pink trees we see now are actually Ume (plum blossoms).

Armchair arborists are welcome to weigh in on this, but in the meantime, everyone is encouraged to partake of the blooming while it’s booming.

PHOTOS: From top, Spieri_SF, Telstar Logistics, Erin Archuleta, and Leslie Jonath

UPDATED: Large Tree Validates Newtonian Physics on Virginia Street

It probably wasn’t intended as a science experiment, but a big tree fell on the 300 block of Virginia during the wee hours of this morning, taking out a fence along the way. Neighbor Blair reports:

Apparently this tree fell at around 4:00 a.m. Thursday. According to neighbor, probably from lack of care, rather than due to storm.

UPDATE: The City sent a DPW crew to eat the fallen tree, and our local broadcast media decided that a fallen tree is so newsworthy that it warrants sending two satellite trucks to the scene:

“Reporting live from Virginia Street, this is Bernalwood Action News.”

UPDATE 2: KGO-TV identifies City budget cuts, rather than Newtonian physics, as the cause of the tree’s collapse:

Owner Patricia Mahoric wasn’t injured and her house sustained only minimal damage. Nonetheless, she believes the incident could have been avoided if the city had responded to her repeated calls about the tree.

She says she noticed the tree was in bad shape and appeared to be dying back in May. Since then, she says she has been calling to get the city to come out and take care of it.

A Department of Public Works spokeswoman says Mahoric is right. She says Mahoric did everything correctly but because of severe budget cuts, the city has reduced the pruning cycle and there are now only three tree inspectors for the entire city.

PHOTOS: Neighbor Blair

Neighbor Chuck Captures “Everyday Sights in Bernal Heights”





Neighbor Chuck B went for one of his occasional walks around Bernal Heights recently. (Bernalwood covered his last one, back in March.)

Equipped with a camera and his deep knowledge of our local flora, Neighbor Chuck captured a terrific series of snapshots that shows our neighborhood in its full seasonal glory. The result was another one of his wonderful “Everyday Sights in Bernal Heights” blog posts:

Ugh. I worked all day yesterday. Saturday! Today I went for a walk (and worked some more when I got home). It was summer-like, and got hotter as the day wore on.




There’s lots more where all this came from, so do check it all out over at Chuck B’s blog, My Back 40 (Feet).

PHOTOS: Chuck B.

Colorful Bougainvillea-Geranium Explosion Halts Traffic on Cortland

I noticed this colorful explosion of foliage while driving past the intersection of Cortland and Nebraska last week, and it was so stunning I stopped to admire it. I’m more of a gearhead than a green thumb, so I fired off an email to Neighbor Chuck, an expert on our local flora, to learn what kinds of plants these are. He replied:

Yeah, I’ve taken that picture many times myself. It’s a bougainvillea/geranium mashup.

The geraniums are technically pelargoniums, but only a hardcore plant person would bother to make the distinction.

What he said. All I know is that when I saw this, I had to pull over and say, “Wow!”

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Do You Live on Precita? Want a Sidewalk Garden? Attend the Informational Meeting TONIGHT.

Our green-thumbed friends from Friends of the Urban Forest are planning to do a sidewalk garden planting in a few weeks, and they’re looking for homes along Precita Avenue to participate. Want a garden in front of your home? Cheep? There’s an informational meeting happening tonight. Ms. Fiona from FUF tells Bernalwood:

The Community Meeting will be held on Tuesday October 16th from 6:30-7:30pm at 274 Precita Ave.

I’ll be giving a short presentation setting out full details on how to participate in our upcoming sidewalk garden planting on Precita Avenue, scheduled for December 1st 2012. Interested property owners will need to submit two forms and a $160 payment to me – all of which I’ll explain at the meeting.

I’ll aim to answer any and all questions, and will leave everyone with the relevant paperwork.

PHOTO: Friends of the Urban Forest

Bernal Heights Considered as Refuge for Endangered Plant

We have a credo here in the Dominion of Bernalwood: “Give me your rare, your beleaguered, your endangered plant life yearning to grow free.”

In that spirit, the SF Appeal brought news last week that Bernal Heights is being considered as a refuge for Franciscan manzanita, a native shrub in need of a good home:

Federal authorities on [Sept. 4] announced that a rare shrub has been listed as an endangered species and proposed to establish areas in San Francisco as a critical habitat for the plant.

The Franciscan manzanita, an evergreen ground cover shrub, was thought to be extinct until one was discovered in 2009 during a road renovation project. The plant has been moved into the Presidio for protection.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which announced the listing of the plant as endangered, is working with conservation groups to help the plant recover as a species.

As part of the efforts, the agency has proposed setting aside about 318 acres at 11 sites around in San Francisco for the plant, including at Fort Point, Immigrant Point and Inspiration Point in the Presidio.

Other sites include Twin Peaks, Mt. Davidson, Bernal Heights and Diamond Heights, according to the agency.

Here’s a little more backstory from the Wikipedia:

A. h. franciscana – Franciscan manzanita – native to the city of San Francisco and thought to be extinct in the wild until one specimen was discovered in 2009. Less than a month later, Caltrans transplanted this specimen to make way for the Doyle Drive Replacement Project. As of September 4, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to designate Franciscan manzanita as an endangered species.

Fellow citizens, if asked, are we not ready to provide shelter and succor to the struggling Franciscan manzanita?

PHOTO: Franciscan manzanita, California Academy of Sciences

Swarm of Hungry Goats Invades College Hill Reservoir

Citizens of Bernalwood, reports are streaming in to our newsroom this morning about a massive Goat Invasion on Bernal Hill. These sightings have been confirmed by Bernalwood’s team of livestock analysts.

At the present time the flock of goats is clustered around the the College Hill Reservoir near Holly Park. Our sources tell us the goats are part of San Francisco’s 415th Hircine Landscaping Battalion, and that they have been deployed to trim the grass in the reservoir area.

Neighbor Walker writes:

My girlfriend and I just moved to the neighborhood, and we’re thrilled to be here.  Our backyard borders Holly Reservoir, which we thought was uninhabited. Apparently not! After a bit of research, it seems this guy is a member of SF Water’s brush clearance project [which recently devoured the tall grasses of the Portola District].

Here’s more on-the-scene reportage from the scene of the goat invasion:

PHOTOS, from top, Neighbor Walker. Below, Neighbor Sarah, and Neighbor Matt