Sometimes in the course of learning and teaching it is nice not to go by the book.  That is to say, stories and life experiences can be powerful teachers.  It is a delight to see the flow of the river interrupted by rocks and a small waterfall or two.  In this vein, I made plant story cards, numbering 52, with a tinge of tarot feel.  There’s four suits – Light water soil climate; Plant parts and function; Foods medicines poisons ornamentals; and Pests sickness disaster death recycle and renewal.  The idea is to print the images on hard card stock, cut ’em up, pick a card, and go from there.

Get stuck in monsoon flooded streets while your roof collapses from the weight of the water; watching your tomato crop go to hell cause of warm nights wet days and fungal rot; hiking in the mountains and drinking tea to sooth altitude sickness; a mouth full of prickly pear fruit hairs.  Here we go!




















This tribe in the Amazon, the Huaorani, I have never met them.  I have not eaten monkey nor cooked a pot of curare.  Heard about them through the lianas of stories, books and dreams.  For this I have to thank Joe Kane (Savages), Laura Rival (Trekking through History), Jonathan Sparrow MW (Rainforest Medicine) and the Huaorani crew (Bete Quiwiguimamo Salvando el bosque para vivir sano).  Theres a few movies out too which I’d love to see – End of the Spear and Queen of the Amazon.  Maybe tomorrow before I go to sleep…This is what I have grasped so far:












A big thank you to Dolores Gamez for help with Spanish phrases and grammar!



Oh Monkeyface eel

I love you like a grandpa

You are the greatest fish

See you in the rocks!
















In the olden times none of the animals had any feathers or fur or tails
The only animal that had it all was Eagle
Eagle flew high above the buttes
In style
All the other animals were jealous


So the animals tried to shoot Eagle down
But they could not succeed
Because Eagle flew so high up in the sky
Coyote came with his sea otter skin quiver
Full of arrows
He shot all his arrows
And failed
He tried again the next day
And the next
Finally one day
Late in the day
He made a direct hit
Eagle died, plummeted to the ground, and rolled down to the river
Coyote told everyone “ We’ll go get the feathers tomorrow morning. The rich folks get dibs on the best feathers, and the poor folks get the small junky feathers”


Coyote got up super early, and ran down to the river
He thought he would get the best feathers for sure
But when he got to the river, the other animals were already done
They had taken pretty much all of Eagle’s skin, meat, and feathers
All that was left for Coyote
Was an old worn out tail feather
What could Coyote do?
He stuck the feather on his back towards the rear
And got his tail


March 22, 2017

Federal government
Nursery and propagation
Presidio, Fort Funston, Muir Woods native plant nurseries
Gardens, parks and maintenance
Presidio landscaping crew
Tree work and arborists
Presidio Urban Forestry
Habitat restoration
Presidio Habitat Restoration, Site Stewardship Program

State of California
City College of San Francisco Environmental Horticulture &
UC Berkeley Extension Landscape Architecture program
UC County Extension Master Gardener’s Program
San Francisco State University biology and botany
UC Berkeley plant biology and natural resources
Pest control and quarantine
California Department of Food and Agriculture

City and County of San Francisco
(R&P is Recreation and Parks, DPW is Department of Public Work, PUC is Public Utilities Commission, SFUSD is San Francisco Unified School District, DPH is Department of Public Health)
Education outside SFUSD
Park Nursery R&P
Conservatory of Flowers R&P
City College of San Francisco nursery R&P
SF Botanical Garden nursery R&P
Sharp Park Golf Course R&P
Lincoln Golf Course R&P
Harding Golf Course R&P
Mow crew R&P, DPW
Gardens, parks and maintenance
Neighborhood parks and Golden Gate Park R&P
Schools SFUSD
Hospitals DPH
Reservoirs and surrounding wildlands PUC
Port and piers SF Port Authority
Streets, median strips and islands DPW
Design and landscape architecture
Capitol Improvement Division, City Planners R&P and DPW
Tree work and arborists
Urban forestry R&P, DPW
Arborists R&P, DPW, PUC
Pest control
Integrated Pest Management R&P
Integrated Pest Management DPW
Public gardens and arboretums
San Francisco Botanical Garden R&P and SFBG society
San Francisco Zoo R&P and zoological society
Japanese Tea Garden R&P
Habitat Restoration (native plants)
Natural Areas Program R&P
City College of SF Habitat Restoration
Horticultural Therapy
Laguna Honda Hospital DPH
Farm and crops
Community gardens R&P

PRIVATE: (numerous companies. Examples cited, not endorsements)
Nursery and propagation:
Wholesale (e.g. Pacific Nursery)
Retail (e.g. Sloat, Flora Grubb, Bay Natives)
Box stores (e.g. Lowes, Home Depot)
Olympic Golf Club
San Francisco Golf Club
Gleneagles Golf Course, commercial and residential landscapes
Landscape/garden, maintenance and installation – outdoors and
indoors; working for commercial corporate, homeowner associations,
apartment complexes, and private residents in neighborhoods throughout
the City:
Large company (e.g. Cagwin & Dorward, Valley Crest)
Medium company (e.g. Rock and Rose)
Small company (e.g. SF Landscapes, Broucaret Landscaping)
Design and architecture
Large firm 10+ people (e.g. CMG Landscape Architects, Gehl)
Medium firm 4-10 people (e.g. Arterra)
Small firm or independent ❤ (e.g. Deanna Glory, Foxygardener, Late Afternoon)
Tree work and arborist
Large company 12+ people (e.g. Aspludh, Davies, Bartlett)
Medium company 6-12 people (e.g. Kippings Tree Service)
Small company 2-5 people (e.g. Kutches Tree Service)
Pest control – refer to tree work or landscape company maintenance
Large company (e.g. Pestec)
Medium and small companies (part of landscape maintenance)
Habitat restoration
Consulting and restoration (e.g. Shelterbelt)
Medicinal plants
Retail (e.g. Scarlet Sage, Rainbow Grocery)
Clinic and school (e.g. Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine)
Cannabis operations
Farm and crops
Farmer’s Markets
Food stores (e.g. Bi-Rite, Rainbow Grocery, Whole Foods)
California College of the Arts, Academy of Art University

NOT FOR PROFIT (many are affiliated with, or partners with, government agencies)
Nursery and propagation
SF Botanical Garden society
Heron’s Head native plant nursery Literacy for Environmental
Mission Blue native plant nursery San Bruno Mountain Watch
San Francisco Seed Library
Alemany Farm
Gardens, parks and maintenance
SF Botanical Garden
Neighborhood groups (e.g. Sunnyside Conservatory, Portola
Neighborhood Group, Friends of ‘park’ groups)
Garden for the Environment
Tree work and arborists
Friends of the Urban Forest
Habitat restoration
San Bruno Mountain Watch
Literacy for Environmental Justice and Heron’s Head
California Native Plant Society and various neighborhood stewards
Nature in the City
Horticultural Therapy
Part of hospital and senior care therapy programs (e.g. On Lok)
Farm and crops
Small farms (e.g. Alemany Farm)
Community Gardens (e.g. New Liberation Community Garden)
Rooftop gardens (e.g. Glide Memorial)
Jails (e.g. The Garden Project)

California Academy of Sciences
San Francisco Permaculture Guild
Ecology Center of San Francisco
San Francisco Professional Gardener’s Association
Garden for the Environment GFE
Horticulture societies: Dahlia, Rose, Cactus and Succulent,
Bamboo, Palm, California Horticulture, Pacific Horticulture, Alpine
garden, California Rare Fruit Growers, Bromeliad
Community and school gardens ( e.g. Urban Sprouts, Community

Hierarchy and chain of command:
Nursery: in the nursery there is the chief nursery person, supported by nursery people, propagators, gardeners, heavy equipment and truck drivers.

Turf: in golf courses and sports fields (AT&T, Levi’s Stadium) the top spot is the supervisor or head grounds keeper, supported by mowers, gardeners, arborists, irrigation specialists, truck drivers and mechanics.

Gardens and parks, maintenance and installation: in gardens and park maintenance the top spot is the superintendent/general manager or boss/owner, supported by managers/supervisors, gardeners, and gardener apprentices. In installations, there is the main contractor working alongside designers/architects, and subcontractors/trades such as masons, carpenters, plumbers/irrigation specialists, gardeners and laborers.

Landscape design and architecture: in a large firm the big cheese is the principal; then there are associates and interns.  There are also structural engineers and specialists in irrigation, lighting, plant material, etc.

Trees work and arborists: in tree work there is the jefe, supported by field managers, climbers, and grounds people who do the bucking, hauling, and chipping.

Pest control: in pest control the top spot is the pest control advisor or Integrated Pest Management specialist. The spraying and killing work is done by trained pest applicators.

Habitat restoration: in native plant restoration there is the manager/supervisor and educated scientists (botanists, geologists, entomologists, etc). In the field are gardeners/restoration specialists and many volunteers.

Medicinal plants: in curing with plants there is the shaman guide, curandero/curandera, or the doctor, and also assistants, herbalists and herb growers, collectors, sellers, and medicine makers.
Farms and crops: in farms and crops the owner is sometimes the production manager. There are few to many field workers, supervised by managers, depending on the size of the farm.

Education:  In colleges and universities there are chancellors and deans, department chairs and professors, students, student workers, and volunteers.  In the garden, there are  knowledgeable elders who may not be formally trained in school, but have learned through experience and from the plants themselves.  In the community, there are sharing people who know how to grow lemongrass, pomelos, collard greens, bush beans, Bolivian sunroot, and walking onions. There are wise grandmas, grandpas and little kids.

See y’all in the garden!

We have been working on perspectives and renderings in our class, trying to capture and depict gardens and plants in an efficient manner. It is not an easy task. It requires concentration and focus, observation, and the ability to pass an image through the brain into the hands onto the paper. We struggle. Some people draw like a little kid because they have not drawn for twenty years and never practiced. They draw the trees like blobs of geometric shapes. Other people treat drawing as a rigorous exercise where every line must be just so, and every space has to be filled in meticulously. This world appears uniform and tired. After a while of this, you give up on drawing because it is too stressful. Then, there’s some people with good balance in their drawings. The plants’ identities are evident. There is feeling and movement. The artist has taken the time to sit with the plants, note their individual character and temperament. Aiiiyyyyy. Still not there yet. Back to the drawing board then…