Park Weekend 11/06/23

Beautiful Day to Plant

Saturday noon Nov. 4 2023

It was a picturebook day to work in the park. Sparkling views. Not too hot, not too cold, just right. Twelve UC Berkeley students answered the call from the Chavez Park Conservancy to come out in the morning and help plant three dozen new California native plants in the Pollinator Habitat that we established last year and two years ago in the Native Plant Area.

Sometimes sinking a plant meant digging up boulders

Professional botanists Jutta Burger and Bob Huttar had previously surveyed the area and set out white and orange flags to mark the locations for the new plantings. The starter plants, purchased with Conservancy funds from the Watershed Nursery, were laid out. City Gardener Supervisor Jacob Several had had tools, gloves, and mounds of mulch delivered to the site.

Experienced Conservancy native gardening stewards Virginia Altoe, joined by her daughter Rebecca, Helen Canin, Carlene Chang, Marty Nicolaus, and Lee Tempkin showed up to help the student volunteers get comfortable with the work. Cal student Sam Clement led the student contingent. Participating students were Yuki Cun, Huynh-Tran Diane Dang, Adora Do, Julia Duan, Yash Gokarakonda, Madeline Kim, Kijun Lew, Ellen Lie, Preethi Rayaprolu, Eric Wang, Jiaqi Wang, and Nora Willis.

Bob and Jutta gave a detailed orientation to every step of the planting process, complete with a chart and a demonstration of good technique.

The students caught on quickly and went to work with enthusiasm, tackling the sometimes rocky soil. Gloves were provided, but some students were happy to get their hands dirty.

In addition to planting three dozen new natives, we also watered the approximately 140 natives we planted last year and the year before. We noted with satisfaction that more than 95 percent of our plantings are surviving. If we have a reasonably wet winter, come 2024 the plants started in 2021 and 2022 will be securely established. We will still need to water the new ones, and keep aggressive weeds from trying to stifle all of them.

“If Cesar Chavez Park could talk it would undoubtedly want to thank each and every one of us for an outstanding job done Saturday!” said Bob at the end of the day.

Chavez Park Conservancy Volunteer Coordinator Bob Huttar explains proper native planting technique to Cal student volunteers

What We Planted

What did we plant this time? Here’s the list of our purchases from the Watershed Nursery, complete with prices. This purchase was made possible by the generous people who have given donations to the Chavez Park Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

A bit of rain on Sunday/Monday helped freshen up the new transplants. Here’s how a sample of them looked on Monday morning.

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