SITE: Mission Neighborhood, San Francisco, CA

SCOPE: Native Garden Park

DATE: Sept, 2008

For IA’s third annual PARK(ing) day installation, “THE HANGING NATIVE GARDEN” tackled the subject of integrating native ecology into our urban environment. We chose this year a parking meter beside a busy Gas station along a major pedestrian commuter access route, at the corner of 24th Street and The Valencia Corridor. Re-using the 40 timber bamboo culms from last year, a twelve foot tall interconnected lattice work was created in situ, into which 300 feet of shade cloth (Donated from Burning Man) along with 24 bales of hay was woven, to create a seating display area, sun shelter and suspension structure for over one hundred native plants (from Flora Grub) and animals (From SF Native Rescue).

Simple shade, it turns out, is an important and often overlooked, component for some of our native plant and animal species. The area of a single parking space could provide habitat for 30 shade-loving native plants, cover for local gopher snakes, and would retain the moisture necessary for the creation of a localized microclimate. The installation created a busy information kiosk, and experience center, for native plants and animals encouraging awareness and promoting permeable street planting grass roots projects. The temporary structure hosted Tree Frog Treks, whose founder Chris Giorni brought 4 foot Gofer Snakes and a Red Legged Box Turtle named “Trucker” that could be held and touched by fascinated children and adults alike. All the plants were later planted in the public right of way into 800 square feet of permeable sidewalk planting strips by a local neighborhood group “Fix 26” and the hay bales were donated to a local elementary school.