Richmond’s coastal location offers an ideal growing ground for a wide variety of plants. The Mediterranean climate is moderated by fog and the maritime influence of the bay generally prevents extreme temperatures. Although these moderate temperatures may produce fewer tomatoes and other heat-loving crops, we enjoy a long growing season for all kinds of greens, salads, beans, peas, zucchini, and more.
Did you know that the hills of Point Richmond were once productive farmland, producing vegetables during the establishment of the railroad and refinery? These farms eventually gave way to housing, but we who live in these houses still enjoy these same rich and productive soils.
For the native plant grower, Richmond is a habitat wonderland. California poppies establish themselves anywhere they can get a toe-hold, rewarding us with bright golden blooms, attracting pollinators and providing drought-tolerant groundcovers beneath larger native plants.
For an example of two gardens featuring California native plants, visit our own Municipal Natatorium (aka “The Plunge”]. There, you will see our renewed PRNC effort to maintain this beautiful and resilient the native plant garden.
At the corner of Park Place and West Richmond, another delightful native garden was designed and installed by the Womens Westside Improvement Club, with support from the Point Richmond Gateway Foundation. The WWIC also maintains the beautiful rose garden in the Triangle Park, just outside the community center, and holds monthly garden maintenance gatherings. Their work has made a difference, and plans are afoot for continued gradual improvement of the plantings.
We are also happy to announce the addition of the newest public garden space, sponsored by the Richmond Tennis Association. Known as the “Plunge Garden”, this serene setting is adjacent to the newly restored tennis courts, to the rear of The Plunge.
These are just a few of the gems in our hidden city. As you walk around the neighborhood, you’ll find many delightful gardens, which celebrate the diverse plant palette we can use to bring beauty and life to our community.
The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council Sustainability Committee supports these efforts through volunteerism, organizing lectures and other events, and leading workdays in the neighborhood to mulch and maintain these shared public spaces. Join us! We get together for a couple of hours, slay some weeds, and lay down mulch to prevent their return. This is a fun way to get to know your neighbors, while making our neighborhood more beautiful, inside and out. To be informed of the next workday, email Maureen Decombe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It should be no surprise that with our mild climate, Richmond is a nursery paradise. We have several retail and wholesale growers who are known nationally for their superb selection and offerings. And coming soon, Urban Tilth’s North Richmond Farm will become a hub for healthy food, community, and workforce development. Urban Tilth creates programs throughout our community, and represents a leading-edge organization for urban farming and social justice.
The Watershed Nursery is located next to the Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant, on Canal Boulevard. Not many watersheds, such as ours, are lucky enough to have a hyper-local source for native plants. There you can find locally sourced varieties of a broad array of beautiful and practical native plants, which thrive on less water, and have no need for pesticides or herbicides. Introducing just a few of these plants to your garden will result in increased habitat and biodiversity.
Annie’s Annuals is known the world over for their colorful and hardy annual and perennial plants. This horticultural mecca, right in our back yard, is a source of endless inspiration. Visit the demonstration gardens for ideas about how you can replicate their abundance in your own garden.
Sunnyside Organic Seedlings is a wholesale nursery that employs local youth, and sells a wide variety of vegetable starts at local farmer’s markets.
For garden tips, and especially to learn more about the innovative and powerful technique known as sheet mulching, check out these resources on the Lawn to Garden website.
And if you are in search of a landscape designer to help you figure out the next steps for your garden, find a member of the local district of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers here: Find a Designer.
Here you can also find a Landscape Design Checklist, to get you started.
© Maureen Decombe