Nasturtiums (above) & Calendulas (below) — both edible, nasturtiums can be used in salads for an extra peppery bite; calendula petals not only can be dried & used as a saffron substitute but their oil is said to possess antifungal, antibacterial, & anti-inflammatory properties, i.e. possibly a good thing for the skin!


A hummingbird visits a red glad on the deck, as wildfire smoke wafts in the background. Twin Peaks, SF, August 17, 2020.

Orchid or lily? No, a “Mardi Gras” gladiolus from the summer collection on the deck (August 2019) offering quite the display w/ some surprises: yellow, red, & this one to the left resembling a giant pansy.

Standing red, yellow & tall among the Burnett Ave pines & junipers
Thankful for the gladioli corms I found at my local hardware store in 2019 (Cole Hardware over the hill where I also find my succulents, among many other things –this store is awesome!)


Summer blossoms from the deck; clockwise: mission bell California poppy, tulip, cosmos, mission bell California poppy, calendula, viola, rose (not from the deck), cornflower, mardi gras gladiolus (2019)


The succulent garden on my Twin Peaks deck (2019)
Round or square, most glass containers make good terrariums (2019)
Succulents, soil, moss, sea stones/glass — all it takes (2018)

At UCSF, I led a succulent terrarium making tutorial for a staff enrichment event with co-workers. Our HR coordinator asked if I would share my interest in succulent terrarium making. I said yes! and brought in some river & beach stones from my collection, while our department provided the succulents, soil & moss — off we went!

Nicola’s terrarium (2019)

My co-workers’ terrarium choices reflect their individuality.

Orthopaedic Surgery’s terrarium talent! (2019)

Dan’s towering terrarium started out w/ sea glass (2019)


Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor

In 2012, I co-founded Urban Pastoral Gardens (UPG), an edible container-garden company, with Julie Gesin. Our business took its name from “Urban Pastoral,” a poem in my chapbook Heliotropes. Though the California drought challenged our business and new goals pushed us into different directions, we maintain the UPG motto: grow your own in whatever space you can! Our Facebook page remains a homage to our urban gardening project.

Spring salad garden w/ heirloom lettuce, kale, onions, parsley, & nasturtium. (2012)

Spring planting on my Twin Peaks deck (2012)
Large ‘Spring Mix’ garden w/ kale, chard, radishes, heirloom lettuce, pansies, parsley, & green onions (2012)
A honey bee arrives on a nasturtium to do its thing! (2013)

Edible violas – ‘Sorbet Lemon Blueberry Swirl’ – yum (2013)

Julie at the UPG stand, San Ramon Farmer’s Market (2013)

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