While the drought continues to take its toll, the gardens on either side of Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher’s 148-step ceramic-tile mosaic on the Hidden Garden Steps are thriving thanks to the love and attention they are receiving from Steps volunteers and donors.
Volunteers continue to meet for planting and maintenance on the second Saturday of each month from 1 – 3 pm onsite (16th Avenue, between Kirkham and Lawton streets in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset District)—the next gathering, open to new and returning volunteers, will take place on September 13, 2014. And when we convene this month, we’ll have plenty to celebrate, and plenty to do.
A large donation of succulents, arranged by project volunteer Barbara Meli, helped plug several gaps in the gardens earlier this week, and more plants from the same neighborhood donor are on the way.
Equally exciting is the continuing expansion of our Steps garden donor base through collaborations with volunteers in other parts of San Francisco. Former garden-shop owner Bill DiFrancisco, for example, has provided more than a dozen succulents taken from a site he helps maintain along the Harry Street Stairs, located between Laidley and Beacon in San Francisco’s Glen Park neighborhood. This donation came about when a couple of us involved with the Hidden Garden Steps met Bill on the Harry Steps recently and ended up comparing notes about plantings in these urban public settings. His need to thin some of his plants was a perfect match for the need for additional drought-tolerant plants on the Hidden Garden Steps site, so several bags of succulents made their way across town this morning for planting on Saturday.
To join the Friends of the Hidden Garden Steps’ gardening efforts or for more information about the Hidden Garden Steps and the Friends of the Hidden Garden Steps, please visit the project website at http://hiddengardensteps.org and the Friends blog at https://hiddengardensteps.wordpress.com.
San Francisco Department of Public Works colleague Mike Jason was onsite this morning as part of the final effort to clear long-plugged drains at the bottom of the Hidden Garden Steps, on 16th Avenue between Kirkham and Lawton streets in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset District.
What should have been an easy project—removing dirt and leaves that accumulated over decades within the two drains at the bottom of the Steps—became unexpectedly complicated earlier this year when DPW and Public Utilities Commission employees discovered an additional impediment: concrete wedged into pipes so that water could not flow from the drains into the nearby sewer system. Initial responses from PUC hinted that an entire wall might have to be removed and entirely new connecting pipes installed to connect the onsite drains to the mid-street sewer system.
Coordinating their efforts, however, led to a different, less-complex solution. PUC and DPW staff recently managed to remove the hard-to-access concrete blockage. Mike and other DPW colleagues are now completing the final part of the effort—removing the remaining tree roots and other debris that have accumulated in the pipes. Completion of that effort should prevent further overflows of water during the rainy season and paves the way for adding colorful hand-made tiles to the wall at the foot of the Steps to spell out the name “Hidden Garden Steps.”