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, October 15, 2012

October Workday Surprises

Berberis Pinnata (Mahonia) an exciting discovery, growing
just below Fire Place Plaza
October's Saturday workday saw a group of Garber's good friends working hard in the area adjacent to Fireplace Plaza where a flight of old stone stairs has just been unearthed, literally.  Because the native complement is rich and includes rarities such as Berberis pinnata, getting rid of the plentiful invasives is a matter of hand pulling.  And we noticed that a whole group of juvenile Buckeyes had survived their first year (a big deal for a baby Buckeye) in positions that restore the continuity of the old Buckeye forest down the hillside.  We selected a few yearlings and caged them against deer-munching,  hoping to insure their success. 
A related task was the inventory and assessment of  Restoration Bed 6 (just above the fireplace) that could tell us which of our plantings had been the hardiest survivors and therefore which natives to consider "matrix" varieties for further restoration planting down the hill.  Here, briefly, is what we found:

After two years, native blackberry is re-establishing its dominance in many areas of the hillside.  In February 2011 we had scraped the earth inside the beds clean. We deliberately did not plant blackberry.  On its own, it has re-emerged almost everywhere. This is consistent with the undisturbed lower hillside to the west of Fireplace Plaza.  Of the natives that we did plant, however, the most important are a trio of grasses.
Perhaps the hardiest of these, Blue wildrye (Elymus glaucus) has grown and reseeded in many places in and beyond the boundaries of the beds.
Not as energetic, but firmly present nevertheless, California brome (Bromus carinatus) has also reseeded.  In the Fall this annual is spent.  We will be interested to see how quickly it sprouts in the late Winter or Spring.
Replacing the old worn stairs
to Fire Place Plaza.
Common Rush (Juncus effusus) was a mild surprise considering the degree to which it has taken root and thrives in and beyond our beds.  Still clutching its seeds, it stands ready for wetter conditions to release them.  There is a clear crop of yearling Common Rush just beyond the several plants we put in two years ago.  So the conservative strategy of this reed seems to be successful on our hillside.
Among our other planted species both Thimbleberry and Gooseberry seem to be doing well.  False Solomons Seal will probably reappear in the early spring, and our planted native strawberries are lurking under the dry maple leaves with the obvious intention of  expanding their range.