Short Summary

Garber Park is a 13-acre wildland park owned by the City of Oakland located behind the Claremont Hotel in Claremont Canyon. Garber Park is home to significant stands of big-leaf maple, California buckeyes and regenerating coast live oak woodland and forest. The Garber Park Stewards vision is to safeguard the native wildland resources of Garber Park while reducing the risk of wildfire and improving the trail system.

Monday, December 19, 2011



Below trail planting between last year's flourishing beds.

Except for the absence of drenching rains that facilitated last February’s initial planting session on Garber’s entrance hillside, this December’s encore efforts went forward without a hitch.  Once again, under the guidance and instruction of Botanist, Lech Naumovich, of Golden Hour Restoration Institute, the Garber Park Stewards with a cohort of volunteers from the neighborhood and beyond, planted more than 200 native grasses and shrubs provided by the local native nurseries.  This year the plantings were free-form efforts to fill in the gaps between the four original beds—two above the trail and two below—so that both erosion and invasion might be limited and controlled. 

Bromus waiting to be planted.
Among the many ideas that went into the first planting, prominent were these:  that restoration of native plants that are actually growing in Garber Park is appropriate for a steep hillside previously buried under dumped trash for perhaps 30 years; that a range of local natives would be planted in small communities in defined beds where the seedbed of invasives had been scraped away to encourage native growth; and that the relative success of the natives within the beds would be a clear indication of which native species preferred the microclimate of the hillside and therefore which native species had the best chance of populating the hillside without further attention.

Lech demonstrating planting techniques
While nothing that we planted in February had failed (a remarkable outcome in itself), some plants were more successful than others.  Toward the end of summer, one could see that the grasses had taken hold and even reseeded. In addition, native ferns that preferred rocky soil had succeeded as well as native strawberries and gooseberries.  For this second planting, the effort focused on placing the more successful natives in the spaces between the marked beds in the hope that native restoration would gain sufficient momentum to prevail on its own against inevitable exotic invasion.

Upper bed planting
The Stewards are pleased to note as well that on a day when many other well-advertised native restoration sessions were being conducted in the East Bay, seventeen volunteers attended the Garber Park event and enabled us to plant more than 200 natives before noon!!  
John Hadsell remembers Boy Scout
picnics at the stone fireplace.
We were also honored by the impromptu visit of long-time Evergreen Lane resident, John Hadsell, now 90+, whose lifelong experience in Garber Park includes Boy Scout picnics at the stone fireplace nearly 80 years ago.  He stood at the metal barrier and enjoyed what he saw.  His visit reminded us that native restoration accomplishes more than preservation of biodiversity—it reaches across time binding the past to the present, it insures the integrity of experience in a shared ecosystem.

Visit for Lech's pictures and perspective on this most successful day.  It is here you will find a copy of the Hand-Out given to all participants that includes important information on: What we learned from the first restoration project last year as well as TIPS FOR PLANTING NATIVES IN WILDLAND AREAS