Redwood Grove at the San Francisco Botanical Garden

Redwood Grove pic
Redwood Grove
Image: sfbotanicalgarden.org

Currently living in the Bay Area in California and working as a nurse practitioner, Jonathan Vrban enjoys spending time gardening and studying botany. Also a fan of cooking and baking, Jonathan Vrban likes to travel to destinations like Italy, but his own city also has plenty to offer.

San Francisco boasts many attractions, from the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz to the tourist favorite Fisherman’s Wharf. One hidden gem in the area is San Francisco Botanical Garden, a living museum in Golden Gate Park that includes more than 55 acres of landscaped gardens as well as open natural spaces.

One of the park’s biggest draws is the Redwood Grove, a treat for visitors who do not want to journey out of the city to view these towering giant trees. Planted near the turn of the 20th century, the trees are some of the oldest in the garden. Furthermore, the area contains more than 100 species of plants to make the grove resemble a typical redwood forest. Visitors to the grove can download or pick up the Redwood Trail Guide or listen to a walking tour podcast.

The park is open 365 days a year. Learn more by visiting www.sfbotanicalgarden.org.

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Simple Solutions for Small Space Gardening

Small Space Gardening pic
Small Space Gardening
Image: gardening.about.com

Jonathan Vrban grows much of the food he cooks with in his own gardens. To make his own pesto, Jonathan Vrban grows fresh basil at home. He enjoys home improvement projects, and has created his own perfect gardening setup around his home and pool.

It can be challenging to garden without an actual garden, but botanically inclined apartment dwellers need not worry. Here are three easy ways to start a garden in your office, apartment, or other small space.

1. Go vertical. Hang plants from handrails and ceiling hooks, or buy a vertical planter. You can even use a hanging shoe organizer to grow herbs and small vegetables.

2. Buy or make windowsill boxes. These are perfect for basil and other herbs with shallow roots. If your landlord will not permit them to be attached to the building, try the kind that clamps over the windowsill.

3. Grow indoors. As long as plants have the right humidity, soil pH, and light exposure, it is possible to grow large plants and even citrus plants indoors. Recycled five-gallon buckets make great indoor-outdoor planters.

Tips from a Hawaiian Gardener: Protecting Your Plants and Saving Money

Hawaii resident Dr. Jonathan Vrban, DNP, pursues a number of pastimes outside of his professional life as a family medicine practitioner. One of his passions is gardening. A cook in his free time, Dr. Jonathan Vrban grows his own herbs and vegetables and maintains several tropical gardens around his property.

Hawaii, with its even climate, offers an ideal place for year-round gardening. At the same time, however, this presents challenges, including 24/7 pests that can threaten plants not properly protected. Hawaiian gardens often need fencing to keep out wild pigs, mice, and other animals. Natural and environment-friendly insect repellents and/or insect-repelling plants also have their uses.

Gardening in Hawaii also requires carefully picking cultivation spots. Not every place in the Aloha State boasts nutrient-rich soil ideal for planting. Property owners may have clay, sand, or even volcanic ash or rock to contend with. Gardening beds may need preparation with good soil before planting.

Lastly, gardening anywhere often requires time and money. While we all usually enjoy the time we spend gardening, the cost can diminish that excitement. To pursue gardening without breaking the bank, gardeners can create their own compost and use self-seeding plants, like perennials.