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February 14, 2018


Dear Skyliners,


Last Wednesday, we watered some of our new plantings, just to be safe.  They were all doing fine, but rain is still a ways off.  The National Weather Service says normal rainfall patterns should return in March and April.  


On Sunday, we had a full crew of 15 people out and we weeded the whole south slope below the Magic Gates.  We had earlier sprayed there twice with vinegar and eliminated upwards of ten thousand weedy thistle seedlings.  Now it was time for hands and knees, and many eyes and hands got the whole job done there.  Welcome to Debora, Ben, and Lisa.


We'll be out again Sunday from 9:30 to 1.  And here's some news:  the Skyline Gardens Project is going to be featured on Channel 5 (CBS) TV. They will film our Sunday workday as part of their Jefferson Public Service Awards series, which every week honors a person and a project (that's us!) for outstanding public service. They will be filming us for segments on both KPIX TV and KCBS Radio.


We are hoping for a strong turnout this Sunday to help us showcase the work we do and to highlight the importance of restoring native habitats. Please let me know if you can make it.


With this burst of warm weather, more and more wildflowers are popping out. Here's an early bird Mule's Ears (Wyethia helenoides) last Sunday:

In my book, these are just the very best. They normally bloom later in March, but this is a really sunny south slope and the weather's been really warm. We saw this one in bud last Wednesday and guessed it might be open on Sunday - as long as a hungry rabbit or deer didn't first enjoy a tasty bite . So far, so good, and more buds on the way here. Thanks to Cynthia A. for this shot.


The Leatherwood are blooming again in the woods . Here's a shot of one in glorious full bloom, along the trail south of the Steam Trains Gate:

Western Leatherwood (Dirca occidentalis) is a rare shrub in the Daphne family. They grow only in the hills around the SF Bay and nowhere else on the planet. Skyline Gardens has one of the best trailside populations. They are deciduous shrubs (lose their leaves in winter) and so all the more beautiful when the flower buds open up. If you're in the area, they are worth a visit - just 5 minutes south of the Steam Trains entry to Skyline Gardens. Trillium are starting to peek out there, too, and will soon be blooming. (Thanks to Cynthia P. for this shot.)


With all these flowers coming out, our totem Silver Lupine (Lupinus albifrons) couldn't wait to join the parade. And the funniest thing, well, see for yourself:

Now isn't that a match made in heaven? Thanks to Laurie, for catching this one.


Happy Trails,



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