What's Happening at Mission Blue Nursery?

Volunteers are welcome to join us at our workdays every Wednesday from 10AM to 12:30PM at the Mission Blue Nursery. Activities vary depending on the season, but may include planting seeds collected from the mountain, transplanting seedlings, washing pots, and processing seeds collected from the mountain. Come join us!

Find out more about our Stewardship Volunteer Programs and the Mission Blue Nursery


Welcome our new Stewardship Coordinator...

Iris Clearwater

Mountain Watch’s new Stewardship Coordinator has arrived! Iris Clearwater, a self-described “enthusiatic naturalist”, comes back to the Bay Area where she lived for 12 years — leading restoration work with Nature in the City, managing the native plant garden at Alemany Farm, searching for rare plants in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), and leading restoration programs in the Presidio.

Iris will manage our Mission Blue Nursery and oversee our Stewardship Program, working closely with Joe Cannon our Stewardship Director. She brings with her extensive experience with invasive species control, vegetation research methods, herbarium work, and wildlife monitoring – as well as with community-engaged projects and the arts.

You can reach Iris at the Mountain Watch office at 467-6631, or by email at iclearwater@mountainwatch.org.


Winter 2013 Update...

Joe Cannon, our Stewardship Director, now has a full-time position at SF City College. So Joe's Stewardship Intern and right hand man, Lawrence Fernandez, is in charge of the day-to-day workings at the Mission Blue Nursery with Joe's supervision. Under Lawrence's practiced and enthusiastic hands the nursery is purring.

The demonstration gardens are looking especially beautiful after Joe's cleanup push. Plus the rains and the current spring-like weather have also made their essential contributions. The riparian garden, the pond, and the dry garden have been weeded and spruced up - and with Spring almost here they will soon be at their prime.

Paul Bouscal and Lou Gold have cleaned up the non-native brush and ivy growing on the firehouse side of the property. The California natives that they uncovered have perked right up and are enjoying the sun and lack of competition. A little extra gravel has made the driveway less muddy and more welcoming to our guests.

We have been very lucky with the number of wonderful and talented new volunteers who have been coming regularly to the nursery workdays on Wednesday mornings, but no matter how many people come there are still lots of things to do to prepare for the next sale on Saturday March 2nd, outplantings to the mountain, and commissioned plants for other landscaping locations. The hours of work spent on the mist house and watering system have paid off in happier plants that relocate easily to garden or mountain.

Come by for a visit - it will make your day!

- posted by Mary Beth James-Thibodeaux - SBMW Volunteer


New interns welcomed for 2012-2013 planting season...

If you've been around the nursery or field restoration sites this fall, you've probably already met our new interns, Shirley Young and Martin Alexander. Both hailing from local community colleges, Shirley and Martin bring their own unique interests and skill sets to our Nursery and Stewardship Programs.

Shirley Young
Nursery Intern 2012-2013
Permaculture – Ecology – Propagation

Shirley began interning with us in August 2012, bringing with her a breadth of knowledge from her studies in permaculture, horticulture, and ecology. Her attention to detail and care for propagation, plant health and pest management have been a much appreciated addition to our nursery work crew. Shirley co-hosts the Wednesday nursery program at Mission Blue Nursery, as well as our Saturday stewardship work days. Beyond tending plants and assisting volunteers, Shirley is working on establishing an on-site composting program for the nursery. Shirley is continuing her education at City College of San Francisco, and working on her permaculture certificate at Merrit College.


Martin Alexander
Restoration Intern 2012-2013
Urban Gardening – Plant Biology

A UC Berkeley Plant Biology hopeful, Martin Alexander comes to us from CCSF’s undergraduate biology program. As an urban gardener in San Francisco, Martin's goal was to explore options and gain experience in the field of plant biology and propagation. Since Martin spent his childhood on a farm, he gravitated to tending our annual seedbeds to get our next crop of wildflowers ready for restoration work. You can catch Martin at our Saturday workdays throughout the planting season.



– posted by Lawrence Fernandez, Stewardship Intern


Growings on at the nursery...

Nursery sign painted by Linda SalmonThe 100-plus hours of seed collecting logged throughout 2011 are finally sprouting results at the Mission Blue Nursery. Our diligent interns and volunteers have brought over a dozen new species to the nursery, including Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus), Coast Silk tassel (Garrya elliptica), Silver Bush Lupine (Lupinus albifrons) and a very exciting stock of Crimson Columbine (Aquilegia formosa). While some will be available to take home to your own native plant garden, many species will be used to foster new populations on San Bruno Mountain, where everyone can enjoy the blooms and butterflies.

Our big push to get irrigation installed at the nursery is almost complete, thanks many volunteers, donations, and our capable intern, Ryan, who has brought years of landscaping experience to the nursery. With the installation complete, we have more time to devote to the health and variety of our plants. We have held three successful open house/sales this year and we’ve come a long way from our first sale, with now over 80 species available covering grasslands, woodlands, dunes, wetland and scrub. Our sales are a great time to discover the wilderness possibilities of your back yard, get gardening advice, connect with neighbors and enjoy our demonstration garden. At our next sale on July 29th, we look forward to meeting new faces and greeting old friends, dreaming up garden schemes and checking in on works in progress.

The nursery has been teaming with life this spring. Our wetland installation enable us to reuse our pot washing water, while supporting habitat for pacific tree frogs, damsel flies, and chattering birds. We even have resident Red Shouldered hawks making quite a ruckus whenever we are around.

As wildflowers ripen into seeds and flowers wilt into berries in mid-summer on the Mountain, our continued propagule collection and propagation efforts this year ensure the wild nature and genetic diversity that makes our offering to the native gardening community so important

 - Lawrence Fernandez


Ryan Hill - nursery intern extraordinaire...

Intern Ryan with Stewardship Director Joe CannonOver the last six months, the nursery program has been fortunate to have the dedicated service of intern Ryan Hill. Ryan came to us from City College, where he finished prerequisites to enter a doctoral program in Landscape Ecology at UC Davis this year.

With significant contributions of talent and time from Ryan, the nursery has made great strides. Besides supporting our Wednesday nursery drop-in and Saturday field stewardship programs, Ryan has been crucial to the launching of our adaptive management grassland restoration study in Buckeye Canyon. He’s also made great progress installing our nursery watering system.

We will miss his focus and good nature, and we wish him well in his studies at UC Davis!