How is the Native Garden faring in the era of Covid-19?

You may be wondering what is happening at Lake Cunningham Park and its Native Garden since the shelter-in-place order took effect in California.

The park remains open 8am-half hour after sunset. SIP and social distancing guidelines apply: wear masks, maintain 6′ distance. Amenities are locked down/taped up. No restrooms, no benches, no workout stations. Trails/roads are available to pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists.

The parking fee has been waived. I see more people visiting. Entire families. Even kids on tricycles. Most use masks. Rangers remain on duty. Maintenance not so much. Weeds abound.

The Native Garden stopped volunteer workdays under direction from the city as well as the California Native Plant Society. Since May 5, the city has allowed weeding to resume as an essential service under its Adopt-a-Park program. All volunteers must go through training. Among other things, they must wear a Volunteer vest.

The Native Garden has fared well until now mainly due to the effort put in by volunteers in the months prior. Timely weeding of the poppy patch resulted in a grand display on Park Road this year.


Poppies and phacelias by the Native Garden sign were pleasing and inviting.


Thick mulching has paid off. Timely mulching, planting, and caging on sycamore hill has allowed the young plants to take root, and limited the competition from invasive annuals.


Ashok and Arvind live nearby and have been visiting the park almost daily. Ashok has focused his energy on weeding, systematically going from bed to bed, removing invasive annuals before they set seed. The common offenders are ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus) and red brome (Bromus madritensis). The weed pile in the parking lot is huge. There are additional weed piles tucked into various corners of the native garden.

Weekly irrigation of the ~100 trees planted in the last three years has resumed. All are doing well, but can use some spot weeding.

If you are in a position to help with weeding, visit the Forms page, get trained, and contact us. We don’t know when life will return to normal, but life does go on.


About Arvind Kumar

Native plant gardener in San Jose, CA. I have been growing native plants since 2000 in a tract home lot front and back.
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