notes, musings and rants from plant lovers

About Lisa Van Cleef

Lisa Van Cleef never met a plant she didn't like. Like a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, Lisa sows the seeds that inspire curiosity and a passion for the plant world.

Lisa Van Cleef's stories in Hortiphile

Native Planting Time

California fuchsia shot by the amazing Eric Hunt

It’s time to plant natives!  The shorter days and impending rains lead to stronger, bigger, all-around better plants.  But what to put in? Read the full story »

Three Best Movies Starring Plants

With rain predicted, let's root ourselves into the couch and watch TV.

Rain is predicted for the weekend. Hurray!  We now have an excuse for lazing around in our jammies all weekend watching movies about plants. Our three favorites?

Read the full story »

Plant of the Moment

Nothing smells better than this.

Where’s our scratch ‘n sniff monitors?!  The Luculias are in bloom throughout the garden.  This gorgeous Asian shrub produces some of the best smelling flowers around.  Don’t miss them.  They’re intoxicating.  We’ve got Luculias in the Rhododendron Garden, Asian Discovery Garden and Moon Viewing Garden.  Come by for a sniff.

Weed-free Gardening

Great story on killing weeds and lawns in the NY Times

Nice story on weed-free gardening in the Times today.   Lazy gardeners unite!


Beyond the Camera and Into the Garden

03 Sep 20103 in Classes& New at SFBG& Photography
Instructor Saxon Holt shows how the master does it.

This ain’t your average photography class.  Award-winning, Bay Area phenomenon Saxon Holt will be teaching an incredible series of garden photography classes at the SFBG. Read the full story »

The Best Compost Screen Ever

30 Aug 201030 in Organic Gardening& composting
The platonic compost screen.  Perfect in every way.

Are you looking for an easy to use screen to sift your compost?  Are you looking for a free screen to sift your compost? Then look no further. Read the full story »

The Tomato Harvest

Bernal Heights Sungold Harvest

Despite a summer without sunshine, we have tomatoes!  When the harvest is in, we at the Hortiphile start boiling the water for pasta.

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Plant of the Moment

Lion's Tail Struttin' Its Stuff

With thousands of plants to tempt us, it’s impossible for us to ever decide on a plant of the day, much less a plant of the week.

The Hortiphile is happiest with a Plant of the Moment.  This moment?  It’s the South African Lion’s Tail. Read the full story »

A Wild Wall Garden

A fabulous garden growing 10 feet off the sidewalk

Check out this stunning wall garden over the Candy Store Collective on 16th Street in the Mission.  It’s a hortiphile’s delight to bump into gorgeous gardens where we least expect them, like perched on the side of a building.

Pardon My Rant

Hanging out in the garden this weekend,

we worked ourselves into a frenzy discussing the changing role of the backyard gardener. Sure it’s always been a great hobby, now it’s an important hobby.

Read the full story »

  • Covering all things plant/garden/nature-related, The SFBG Hortiphile is one part newspaper, one part bulletin board, one part water cooler and one part hanging over the back fence talking to your neighbor. It's a place for Bay Area folks to share news, ideas, tips and hints for living the green life.