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.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Bob's Place, once covered with an 8ft.
tall hillside of Himalayan
blackberry is recovering nicely.

False Solomon's Seal
(smilacina Stellata) from Planting
Bed 3
August's Tuesday  work session was full of subtle indications that seasonal change is once again at our doorstep. We continued the clearing at Bob's Place, but also took advantage of the beautiful summer light to document our hillside restoration beds at the Evergreen entrance.  We noticed among the litter, the first brown and crumpled leaves from the Big Leaf Maples up the hill.  We also noticed that a very few of our plantings apparently did not survive this period of dessication.  But the outstanding feature of all the beds was the health and vigor of every native grass that we planted and the abundance of seeds that each of these plants has produced.  From Bed 3, just above the beginning of the loop trail, we even found one lingering ripe red berry on the False Solomon's Seal which is doing well in the upper corner. 
Silhouette of grasses above
Fireplace Plaza
Bed 4 which lies just below the Loop Trail is perhaps the easiest to observe, so it is especially obliging this time of year in the amount of native grasses and grass seed that it has nourished. At planting time the hope was that by planting clumps or little communities of different native grasses, proximity might encourage their growth.  Bed 4 appears to have benefited from this practice; all the communities are strong and established.   The seed is plentiful and hopefully headed beyond the boundaries of the bed.  Bed 5 below did not have the same predominance of grasses, but what was put there is healthy and strong. 
Toward the end of our work session, we looked up and noticed that this time of year the only spot of bright sunlight on the hillside fortuitously falls on our "control" bed, the area which we scraped clean in February, and then hoped to see what would naturally grow there.  The control bed is carpeted with invasive Ehrharta grass, forgetmenots, rebounding Himalayan blackberry, and appears to contain no native plant. Compared to our native beds, the control bed is a riot of weeds.  
     It will be interesting to see what the return of the rains produces on the Evergreen Entrance hillside.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


My Blog Post last week summarized the flurry of restoration activities in Garber throughout July, but
the dedicated crew restoring Bob's Place along Harwood Creek just wouldn't let July end without ONE MORE IMPROMPTU WORKDAY!  Today's surprise - exposing a large two-foot diameter metal pipe in the middle of the creek.  Kathleen, excited to find out if she could get to the bottom of the pipe, grabbed a shovel and began digging in the mud. What was the original purpose of the pipe? Our best guess is that it was used as a watering hole for livestock back when John Garber owned the land. Discovering the pipe is turning out to be one more in a long list of intriguing mysteries to solve in Garber.