Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2003
Regional Report

Local Buzz

San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners Closes its Doors
The San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners is closing its doors after 20 years due to the economic slowdown. One hundred gardeners and employees are out of work, at least until funding can be found. SLUG has been instrumental in training welfare recipients as gardeners. They maintain and care for street plantings, parks, and gardens throughout San Francisco, as well as restoring habitat and doing conservation work. The SLUG headquarters are located in the Bayview district of the city, an area known for high unemployment.
"It's a temporary but indefinite suspension," board president Bill Steele said. "We're not giving up."

Favorite or New Plant

Monstera deliciosa
One of my very first encounters with the world of plants was with a split-leaf philodendron (Monstera deliciosa) named "giant plant." I suppose I had the ideal spot in a south-facing window for this incredible native of the tropics because it grew like crazy! The leaves were the size of cartwheels. It even developed a fruit that tasted like a cross between a strawberry and a pineapple, but looked like a banana.

Although Monstera eventually becomes leggy with age, you can tip prune and root the cuttings to keep the pot bushy and full. Giant plant eventually grew over and surrounded a doorway. I supported the vine with push pins and raffia. Walking through the long air roots was similar to walking through a beaded curtain. When the roots grew long enough, I simply tucked them back into the pot.

Split-leaf philodendrons require rich soil, ample water, bright light, heat, humidity, and perfect drainage. Don't try to grow them outdoors unless you have a spot protected from frost. A friend just gave me a cutting she had taken over 30 years ago from my original plant. I call it "Son of Giant Plant."

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