It won’t be long now…

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Urban Gardens  Urban Gardening in Raised Beds Bowood Farms

This morning, Dave Rickard of Bowood Farms said that he'll be planting an early Spring crop of peas, arugula, and lettuces later this week in the garden on Olive Street (shown above in a photo taken earlier this winter). In the meantime there are bags of spring mix lettuces for sale in the cooler by Bowood's restaurant, Cafe Osage. On Saturday there will be additional vegetables brought in from Bowood's greenhouses in Clarksville, including baby Japanese turnips, kale, and other greens.

Another reason to stop by on Saturday is the lecture being given by PBS's Patti Moreno on "Urban Gardening in Raised Beds" at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.

When we lived on Lenox Place we built several raised planter beds. We planted dwarf apple trees in two larger beds and perennials in an oval one at the back of the property. The beds gave our small city garden an appealing structure and, because they were filled with good soil from the beginning, the plants thrived.  I remember hearing that Lenox Place was developed on top of a swamp which was covered over with landfill. Perhaps that's why it was difficult to dig a hole for a plant without encountering a piece of concrete. Raised gardening was a great solution. Learn more from an expert on Saturday at Bowood.

Bowood Farms, 4605 Olive, (314) 454-6868.

Richardson Bay in Mill Valley

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings  Richardson's Bay San Francisco Mill Valley Mi-Wok Indian Tribe.

This beautiful scene came to mind last Friday as I waited for word of what effect the tragic tsunami might have on the West Coast of the U.S. Luckily, as reported by my sister Sandy who has lived on Richardson Bay in Mill Valley for the past thirty years, the only impact in her area was patches of dirty water. Whenever I visit San Francisco, as I did last month, I marvel at the beauty of Sandy’s frontyard with its bird sanctuary, view of Mount Tamalpais (not pictured), and the Marin Headlands in the distance. In fact, it was hard to tear myself away from the windows.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings  Richardson's Bay San Francisco Mill Valley Mi-Wok Indian Tribe.
After four days of rain the sun finally came out the morning I was heading home. It was so cold the first few days I was there, I was amazed Sandy’s lemon tree continues to thrive with the chilling winds blowing off the Bay.

I had a little “lemon envy” when, in addition to seeing the bounty growing on the balcony in Mill Valley, a niece who lives in the East Bay brought a bag of lemons picked from trees in her yard to a family gathering. I’ve had sticker shock for the past six months paying $1 for a single lemon…haven’t you? Wondering whether I might be able to grow lemons here, inside in winter of course, I inquired at Bowood Farms about the availability of a lemon tree. I was told they only had one large plant in the greenhouse–too big for my situation–and that they are hard to come by now that current restrictions block the shipment of fruit trees across state lines. I plan to keep asking.Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings  Richardson's Bay San Francisco Mill Valley Mi-Wok Indian Tribe.

I have walked around Strawberry Point, shown above, on many occasions to gaze at the spectacular view of San Francisco across San Francisco Bay. Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings  Richardson's Bay San Francisco Mill Valley Mi-Wok Indian Tribe.
Traffic zips up and down Highway 101 from the Golden Gate Bridge past Sausalito and DiSilva Island, shown above. Developers were blocked from building condominiums at the base of the hill since it contains a burial ground for the Miwok Indian Tribe.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings  Richardson's Bay San Francisco Mill Valley Mi-Wok Indian Tribe.

Egrets, Blue Herrons, Wood Ducks, and Sanderlings, below, feed in the estuaris.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Events, Sightings  Richardson's Bay San Francisco Mill Valley Mi-Wok Indian Tribe.

Watching nature from this privileged vantage point made the overwhelmingly difficult world news seem blessedly distant.