Cooler, wetter weather in the winter and early spring means planting season, and we have been planting up a storm. With over 310 volunteers since December, we have planted over 575 plants and trees in bioswales, rain/habitat gardens, and urban forests along the Richmond Greenway, at 6th-8th Streets/Unity Park, Carlson Meadow, and 33rd Streets.
Here are a few updates from our busy planting season – and we have much more to do in the coming months! We hope you can dig in with us for upcoming planting days, including planting a bioswale on February 16th and our Second Saturday Workday on March 10th.
Our shade house is full of plants ready to be put in the ground. Our Greening Urban Watersheds team works with local nurseries to pick plants that will thrive in our climate and tolerate drought conditions, while providing habitat for local wildlife and pollinators. For our bioswales and rain gardens, we include water-loving plants like rushes that enjoy soaking in some water as it slowly moves through the filtration layers.
Over the past few months, the Richmond Greenway between 6th-8th Streets has undergone a transformation. Our Green Collar Corps and interns have worked with community volunteers during Second Saturday workdays and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to plant over 350 plants in our bioswale and habitat gardens, painstakingly weeded invasive Bermuda grass, and installed benches to create a community gathering space along the Lillie Mae Jones Trail.
A few blocks away, at Unity Park, visit our bioswale as it snakes its way through this incredible collaborative space. Still waiting to be fully planted, its wide s-curves mimic the natural shape of a creek as it filters urban runoff. We have also planted 10 trees, including 3 western redbuds, 3 eastern redbuds, and 4 water gums, to provide shade to park visitors and habitat to wildlife. In the Valentine’s Day spirit, keep your eyes open for the redbud’s beautiful heart shaped leaves!
At Carlson Meadow, we are replacing a concrete BART drainage channel with a meandering swale that allows rainwater to percolate into the ground instead of running off into the storm drain. The added benefit is a natural space that feels like a little slice of Yosemite in the city – and we can’t wait to finish planting it in the coming weeks! Just earlier this month, we brought out 40 students from the Making Waves Academy for service learning, and they planted 16 trees at Carlson Meadow in a single morning, including 9 California live oaks, 4 box elders, and 3 California buckeyes.
Our last stop on along the Richmond Greenway is at 33rd/Ohio Street, where in December, we planted over 200 drought tolerant plants and trees in our bioswales and habitat gardens along the sidewalk leading to the Greenway. Planting highlights at this location include sagebrush, dogwood trees, Ceanothus, Douglas iris, California fuchsia, seaside daisy, deergrass and California field sedge. It will be exciting to see the rainbow of colors when the flowers start blooming – blues and purples from Ceanothus, Douglas iris, and sagebrush, red from California fuchsia, white and yellow from coyote brush. Native bees and butterflies will feed on the nectar and pollen of these plants, once widespread in the low-lying flood plains of the East Bay. These green infrastructure projects are a beautiful entrance to the Greenway, and will filter stormwater too.
Thank you to all our volunteers and collaborators, and we look forward to more planting in the coming months! And you can learn more about native plants in our local watersheds with our planting guide.
Photo credit to Jeanine Strickland