Editors, Daily Planet:
A few weeks ago I wrote about plans to install artificial turf at the Sankofa Academy adjacent to Bushrod Park in North Oakland, a plan with numerous problems, not the least of which is a playing surface subject to disease transmittal that has barely an eight-year manufacturers guarantee.
Today I notice another gardening debacle: lovely three-foot-tall brown ceramic flower pots filled with plant material of varying hardiness installed along Telegraph Avenue below Ashby every few blocks into North Oakland, and perhaps further to the north and south.
I have been in the business of urban landscaping for nearly 30 years, beginning with my career at the old California Street Nursery, and I can tell you that raised street planters, unless the local merchants or nearby residents adopt them, are a waste. Even if the city or merchant group responsible assigns gardeners to water them, it won’t be long before the plants are gone and the barren planters are filled with trash and cigarette butts.
I hate to sound cynical, but this well-meaning project was recently completed in an area with acres of empty and weed-filled sidewalk tree cutouts and planting strips that would better support rugged trees and hardy perennials than large clay pots.