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On Petrero Hill

We went to Potrero Hill for the first time on March 15 to visit the Pennsylvania Garden. The garden will be local ecology's newest neighborhood nature-made sites profile (the gardeners are planting for wildlife). Stay tuned! Our second visit was on March 21 to check up on the garden and to see more of the neighborhood.

According to a sign at the Potrero Hill Community Garden, the land on which the garden sits was "an open, grassy space overlooking the Mission and the Golden Gate." The community garden neighbors McKinley Square, a municipal park, located on 20th Street between Vermont and San Bruno Streets. Vermont Street is the city's windiest road! I thought that honor belonged to Lombard. Here's video footage of the curves:

The views of downtown SF from the neighborhood are amazing, too (it was a cloudy day).

Another do-it-yourself greenspace in Potrero Hill is The Benches at 18th and San Bruno Streets. The sidewalk and entrance to a footbridge over 101 have been planted and painted, and benches have been installed. We assumed neighbors spearheaded the garden and quick web search proved us correct.

Babette Drefke has a vision for the little patch of park in her Potrero Hill neighborhood known as The Benches. She and a group of residents want to expand the tiny park, a pleasant spot with four benches, succulent bushes and javelins of lavender-hued flowers that sits at 18th Street and San Bruno Avenue. It's a decent place to rest one's legs at the end of a pedestrian walkway running over Highway 101. There is an empty patch of land behind The Benches, but Drefke wasn't sure whom to talk to about expanding there. With a phone call, ChronicleWatch was able to put her in touch with an official at Caltrans, which appears to own that bit of land as part of the right-of-way running down to Highway 101... (SF Chronicle, March 30, 2008 via

From public spaces to private ones. Both the yard garden and permaculture gardens were pointed out to us by Annie of the Pennsylvania Garden. One of the owners of the yard garden at 18th and Pennsylvania provides advice and inspiration to the Pennsylvania Garden.

The 18th and Rhode Island Permaculture Garden Project was hosting a class when we visited, about 20 people by our estimation.

The garden wouldn’t have been possible without the imagination and largesse of Aaron Roland, M.D., a family physician in private practice, who owns the double lot where the 18th and Rhode Island Garden is taking root...Despite extravagant offers to buy the land during the height of the real estate boom, Roland kept the lot as open space, and his relationship to it deepened as time passed... (The Potrero View)
Prices in the neighborhood are still extravagant. The adjacent two-bedroom house is for sale for $1.2 million.


Karen said…
I love that part of the City but almost never got over there in 8 years of living not that far away. It feels kind of cut off from the rest of the city, in a good way. Nice projects that you found over there! Very cool about the double lot staying open and planted instead of sprouting another monster house. Hooray for carefully stewarded open spaces!