Seating for one in Japantown


This chair was spotted in Japantown last weekend. The stump seems to be taller than most tree stumps found on the streets of San Francisco. The chair has a back, high armrests and is slightly elevated from the ground. It received some attention from a few passersby but no one curious enough to sit in it except for me. It is functional for a small and petite adult or a child but it was a bit low to the ground and snug when wearing a long coat. I imagine it doesn’t get much use given its location and the intimate view of an apartment complex’s entrance. It was surprising to see something that often goes unnoticed receive much attention from its maker and from the pedestrians that day. 

Music for Plants

In 1976, Canadian-born composer Mort Garson released an album called Mother Earth’s Plantasia to be played for growing plants. Maybe your spider plant been looking a bit gloomy lately. Perhaps, you can cheer it up with “Symphony for a Spider Plant” or other songs on this album. The compositions are playful and delightful but the album makes me curious about the topic of music’s influence on plants. A quick search led me to a few articles about theories and studies on this subject, such as this one. I wonder how the growth of urban plants compares to the growth of plants in their natural habitats.

Garson’s plant-based opus looks to be out of print but I was able to find a fun track entitled “Swinging’ Spathiphyllums” below. Hope you can enjoy this with your plants at home!


You’re invited to the Tiny Haus at the Prinzessinnengarten, Berlin’s coolest community garden (where you can drink beer between trees), for an exhibition this Saturday and Sunday, 2-5pm (September 3-4). Drawings and herbarium specimens will fill the room, made by students from the past two Botanical Drawing Workshops taught by my friend and fellow urban plant lover, Mira O’Brien.

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Tiny vine growing in the middle metal steps. By Martin Hill.

On the metal stairs at the Berlin-Karlshorst train station, between the S-Bahn and regional train platforms, our faithful correspondent Martin Hill “tripped over” this specimen on his way to work. Continue Reading »

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Oahu-based public artist Gaye Chan once told me and Marko that we were part of her lost tribe. If by that she means we are into Free Stores, foraging free food, and eating weeds, then yes, we are! Continue Reading »

Rustic lei made of German wildflowers and plants.

Sorry so silent! I’ve been busy arranging flowers in Honolulu, Beacon (where another Urban Plant Researcher recently wed!) and the German countryside, sometimes into bouquets and more often into lei.

Mahalo to the Hui Hana Lei Ladies who taught me to make haku lei in my last month in Hawaii. If you’re on Oahu, please visit their annual lei-making class this Thursday. I just posted about my experience making lei with the lei ladies, and more about their class, here on my other blog, Local Color.

About a year ago, I reported a hairy house near the Castro and the Mission Districts in San Francisco. Since then, I’ve seen other exteriors covered in similar plant matter. Not as hairy as last year’s encounter, but striking in a similar manner. Most of these were found in my neighborhood so I’d be curious what I might discover in other parts of the city. Have fun taking a virtual tour of these plant covered buildings or see them in person. I’ve noted the cross streets below. Also, feel free to share any other ones you may come across in your city.


16th St. & South Van Ness St., San Francisco: A mosaic of plants – a work in progress?


Exterior details

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