ADA path project nearly complete

March 31st, 2014

We are now finishing the last details of the ADA path  project. We decided to keep the trail that cuts off the ADA Path toward the headhouse. A sloped trail through beds of succulents on the sunny side and ferns under the oak is connected to the concrete construction with a fan shaped redwood set of steps designed and built by staff, volunteers and students.


Stonework below Redwood Grove

March 30th, 2014

The steep path has been altered to go around the outcropping of illite rock just below the redwood grove. Mike, one of our staff has designed and built the path made from concrete pieces reclaimed from the disassembled  parking structure near the house.

16 Essential Soil Nutrients

February 26th, 2014

Plants make their own food (sugars) through photosynthesis but they also need nutrients to grow. These nutrients/minerals  come mostly from the soil. There are 16 of them. The chart lists the nutrients and highlights them on the periodic table of elements. There is a the good way to remember them. Use the mnemonic, a memory aid located at the bottom of  the chart.

ADA Path project continues

February 20th, 2014

After getting over 6 inches of rain we decided to plant. Native plants were purchased.  The group of ASLA students and LA 122 students from the plant identification class at UC Berkeley’s Landscape Architecture Dept. set them out according to our planting design.  A small group of students and volunteers worked on terracing an eroding hillside with cardboard to block the weeds, jute netting to hold the cardboard down and support mulch from slipping down the hill and then redwood branches from a recently downed redwood were staked in to hold the bank. We’ll plant red twig dogwood, a appropriate riparian shrub, through holes cut through  the mulch, netting, and cardboard. As the materials rots the dogwood will be dropping their roots into the soil and hold the creek bank from eroding.

ADA Path Design Project Underway

January 31st, 2014

With the new ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant path completed, students from the UC Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Dept, ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architecture) student chapter came to the garden for a design workshop and came up with a planting plan of California native plants which they are going to plant. But first we had to clear ivy, blackberries, and poison oak from the site, as well as open up the view by pruning some of the redwood trees in the area. We are waiting for the rain before we start planting. Hopefully that will be very soon. A step will be designed and built out of redwood that leads to the greenhouse.  Plants and materials will be purchased with a money from The Green Initiative Granting Fund.

Mosaic completed

December 3rd, 2013

With the new pathway to the head-house almost completed there was a concrete wall that seemed to need something. The area was too narrow to plant so we decided to put something on the wall: a mosaic made with broken china from the Blake house with additional broken tiles from Albany High School Art Dept. and from Urban Ore, a warehouse filled with recyclable materials. Our  four  Albany High School interns from the EDSET (Environmental Design, Science  Engineering and Technology) program helped by designing and building along with other volunteers from the garden. The result: a stream of bird, butterflies, flowers and people edges the path that crosses the creek.


Charette for new handicap ramp

December 3rd, 2013

Students from the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department from U.C. Berkeley came to the garden for a charrette, a design workshop, to design the new handicap ramp area. The design is currently being created with all the input that came from the charrette along with other comments from students familiar with the site but unable to attend the on-site design workshop.

Sculpture in Redwood Grove

December 2nd, 2013

Area artist Keiko Nelson has installed a temporary sculpture in the reflective pool in the redwood grove entitled “Inner Landscape”.

Sculpture by Keiko Nelson

Sculpture by Keiko Nelson

Ramp nearly finished

November 4th, 2013

The new handicap ramp is nearly finished. The ramp will extend from the event lawn to the headhouse/greenhouse. The next step is to redesign the area to optimize the views and plant drought tolerant & native plants around the path.

Blake Garden Topo Model

November 4th, 2013

A topographical model of Blake Garden was made and donated by students in U.C Berkeley Landscape Design 101. The model aided the students in developing their project “Revealing the Landscape” that recently was installed in the garden. The model will be a great addition as a teaching tool for future students and for visitors to get a sense of our terrific hillside garden.