top of page

San Francisco Garden Man's News

I hope that you enjoy my web site Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments that you may have and I will be happy to get back to you. Thanks for looking and Happy Gardening!

Best Regards,

Pete Vafiades

San Francisco Garden Man  

January 01 2023 Happy New Year Everyone!

Welcome to the 23rd year of the 21st century

Well, it would seem that hope is on the horizon. I am keeping an optimistic point of view as we enter the new year and am moving bravely forward into what hopefully proves to be the beginning of a bold new era. 

Now, more than ever, I feel strongly dedicated to my profession and feel it is an excellent service for improving the environment and stimulating the economy as well. As more and more people become aware of the impact we have, and can make in our environments, the movement or trend towards a greener landscape seems to be on the rise. 

One thing for certain, the more effort we make and pride we take in preserving and repairing our environment the more we can expect from our environment in taking care of us. So many areas of our cities, suburbs and even out in the rural zones of our communities have become disturbed and disrupted, damaged and destroyed ought not be difficult to find the means to create many jobs and employ many unemployed citizens with work toward the repair and refurbishment of our precious mother earth. 

Health and welfare for many could begin right at home by gardening in whatever space each of us has access to. From gracious rural garden plots to urban balconies and rooftops the possibilities are endless and the materials needed are inexpensive, some virtually free. Technology continues to provide new and improved methods to grow plants even for those who are away for extended periods with automated watering and fertilizing systems. Lightweight planting medias and polymers can take the place of heavy to lift soils making it possible for even physically challenged persons to enjoy gardening in containers and pots. 

While realizing that gardening alone will not solve all the challenges of today, the more who learn the simple basics of how to grow plants, the ingredients for life, can be harvested right from one's own back yard or neighborhood community garden plot. If you have never gotten your fingers in the dirt, planted seeds or seedlings, nurtured and cultivated from cotyledon to bloom, any of the thousands upon thousands of plant species available to grow...well, what can I say other than you don't know what you're missing.  

If at any time you get the urge to begin a garden or even just to grow a single potted plant but feel you need some instruction or advice, seek a friend or neighbor or anyone you know who is already a garden enthusiast. Gardeners tend to be the friendliest people and are among the most willing to share their knowledge and experience with others...Take it from me! Here's to a greener and grander, more glorious than ever, gardening season in 2023! To everyone, I wish all the best! 

Pete Vafiades

San Francisco Garden Man

Let's Make Your Garden the Envy of the Block!

 January 2015-2022

Its Official…California is in the midst of perhaps the worst dry spell in over a century.

This was proclaimed by our Gov. Jerry Brown last Friday the 24 of January 2015. He made the announcement here in San Francisco amid increasing pressure from lawmakers and as firefighters battled flare-ups in a Southern California wildfire that chased thousands of people from their homes.

Unless the state gets significant rainfall in the next two months we are definitely going to be looking at cutting back on our daily water consumption by as much as 20%. One of the first sacrifices will be to give up water used for garden landscape purposes.

About Xeriscape Gardens

Xeriscape gardens are about to become very popular once again. With the official declaration of drought now upon us anyone interested in landscaping their property would be very wise to consider planting drought tolerant natives and plants from other arid regions of the world. There are so many to choose from and, surprisingly enough, along with their minimal need for water most also have a very minimal need for maintenance.

A well-established Dry Garden can provide a great variety of exciting plant types. Beautiful natives blooming in vivid colors, ornamental grasses, cacti, succulents, seemingly exotic shrubs and bushes, all of which can survive and flourish while following the natural rhythm of our seasons here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Xeriscaping is a type of gardening that grew out of the arid dry regions around the Rocky Mountains and the American Southwest. ’Xeros’ means dry in Greek, ‘scaping’ refers to the landscape. The aim of xeriscaping is to conserve water use in the garden, while still creating and growing a beautiful place.  

In California, we have occasional droughts when it does not rain much in the winter and early spring. There is less water in the rivers. The level of water in the reservoirs goes down, and water starts to cost more. Lawns go brown. Towns, farms, and suburbs squabble over water, and here we are-

San Francisco Garden Man specializes in Xeriscape Gardens

From design including plant selections to installation and follow through to establishment we can create a beautiful drought tolerant xeriscape that will amaze everyone with totally awesome displays of plants that bloom, others that offer incredible leaf patterns, year round colorful foliage and striking form and structure as with many bold succulents and cacti species.

March  2014

Hard to believe that we are already three months deep into 2014 Spring is in full swing here in San Francisco and it is probably my favorite time of year.

The tell tale signs are hard to overlook at this point. The Mocking bird has returned and can be heard each morning practicing his repertoire of some 70 or so calls including car alarms and door bells.  

My front garden patch is in bloom right now with a grand display of Oxalis which takes over each year as soon as the rains begin. I have actually come to love those insistent pips and so, allow them full reign for a couple of months. What more can one ask for than to have a vivid green carpet of shamrock shaped leaves beneath masses of sunshine yellow bells? Effortlessly ...and for no cost!

And this year the Oxalis is sharing the ground with another favorite volunteer of mine. The soft yet bright blue flowers of Mysostis (Forget-me-nots) which have seeded themselves among the Oxalis. They look like sparkling little jewels, each with a tiny touch of hot pink. Of course, everyone thinks I am out of my mind for having a garden of weeds but hey, it's O K. They(the weeds)will disappear soon enough and then I'll get on with my annuals in the front garden for this year. 

Echium are in bloom now, a genus of bristly herbs and shrubs of the family Boraginaceae commonly called Tower of Jewels, They bloom in an incredible range of colors from Magenta to Indigo.

The Orange Kaffir lilies

or Clivia are also in full display.

The California state flower Poppy can be seen once again along the roadsides with it's unmistakable petals of glowing orange and soon the self sown Cineraria will join the spring bouquet and last long into June. 

Our native Ceanothus begin blooming in March, commonly called California Lilac these bushes can be seen on the hillsides of the Bay Area showing off their intense blue flowers.

bottom of page