The San Jose/Guerrero Neighborhood
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Can we Plant...?

People sometimes ask us:

  • Who decides what we plant?
  • Can we plant differnt plants?
  • Can we plant more native plants?

For better or worse, what we can plant, and who can decide, is constrained by both street conditions and city policy.

It's a (Polluted) Desert Out There

The plants have to be hearty:

  • It can exceed 200 degrees in the sun
  • It is very windy
  • Rain is the only water available
  • The plants must withstand car exhaust and people stepping on them

It's Hard to Maintain Medians

It’s relatively easy to get people excited about planting their street for one day, but quite a bit harder to get them to weed and replant and report what’s wrong over the long haul. Plants have to be very low-maintenance—again keeping in mind issues such as jaywalking and theft.

Variety Slows Traffic

One of the primary goals of the median planting is to slow traffic, and varying the vegetation is a way to do this. (In general, the straighter and wider a road, the less carefully drivers use the roadway.) So, for instance, the palm trees on Dolores look like utility poles to drivers and have little traffic-calming affect.

The City has Rules

The plants—and the plans—must be approved by the city. Because it’s in the middle of the road:

  • Visibility for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists can’t be impaired
  • There are code requirements regarding height and bulk
  • There are guidelines about, for instance, low pollen plants, and not producing asthma-inducing allergens

There are Financial Constraints

The plants and trees are paid for by the neighborhood—not by the city—so there is financial constraint on what can be planted. If other plants would cost more than is available, more money has to be raised.

There ARE natives out there

There are natives in the existing plantings (nasella cernua, duddleya caespitosa and duddleya hassei, for example).

Many Thanks to Flora Grubb

We get the designs and plants—at cost—from Flora Grubb Gardens. Flora and her landscape design team have gone well out of their way to help us both physically and financially with Greening Guerrero (it would have been impossible without their help).

Greening Guerrero

Greening Guerrero Home


Part 1: Cesar Chavez to Duncan

Part 2: Garden at Cesar Chavez

Part 3: Duncan to 29th

Part 4: 29th to 30th

How can I Help?



Do it Yourself Median Greening

Planting Instructions

Plant Natives?