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Burrows Pocket Park Beautifies Portola Neighborhood

By Dana Harrison

Parks can have a transformative effect on our urban landscape. A patch of nature softens the hard edges and calms the chaos. One small example is trash-strewn embankment at the end of Burrows Street, just off bustling San Bruno Avenue, that has morphed into a boulder-strewn garden of vibrant colors.

The idea of creating a park here has been a passion of Ruth Wallace’s for over four years, she says. A board member of the Portola Neighborhood Association, Wallace was horrified at the unsightly dead end at Burrows and four other streets in the area.


By Booka Alon and Brett Stephens

On April 29th, the California Native Plant Society’s Yerba Buena Chapter hosted a tour for native plants enthusiasts and the native-plant-curious. The tour featured 23 private homes, and three public gardens.The course wraps through the city, from sandy soil of Ocean Beach, south to Ingleside and extends as far east as the serpentine rock of Potrero Hill. All microclimates are represented in the extensive summaries on the CNPS tour homepage. This year SF Landscapes hosted two gardens, Alemany Farm, and 42 Westwood.


By Brett Stephens

San Francisco Landscapes had the opportunity to help the Portola neighborhood by installing a native garden on Alemany Island. This median strip sits at the junction of San Bruno Avenue, Alemany Boulevard and the I-101 and I-280 freeway on-ramps. The site is one of the entry points to the Portola neighborhood. This site already exhibits a beautiful SF garter snake and Mission blue butterfly mural, designed by Cory Ferris, on a pillar for the freeway. The Alemany Island Beautification is a project of Portola Neighborhood Association and funded in part by a Community Challenge Grant.


By Booka Alon

On Feb 2nd, and 9th, in true 'barn-raising' fashion, the Alemany Farm Community in collaboration with many urban farmers and nearby residents all jumped in to refurbish the former hoop house structure into a new productive greenhouse. Volunteers, youth, residents and skilled carpenters came forward to lend their time, energy and tools for this special project. Using lots of re-purposed materials and a shoestring budget, the crew installed a new plastic covering, plumbing, benches, a new door, and windows. The totally transformed greenhouse is a few minor adjustments away from production.