Check out Keep Oakland Beautiful daffodils planted by Naomi Schiff, an Oakland community member, on the three traffic islands between Harrison St. and Oakland Ave. and Orange St., Fairmount and 29th St.
Naomi picked this location because she has been planting in this highly visible area between heavily-used roads for two decades. This area was once a building parcel, with two small stores on it, long ago in the days of streetcars and before the freeways. At one time the city maintained it as a grass lawn, watered automatically and mowed. Some neighbors would kick a soccer ball around. Then came a drought in the 1980s and they stopped watering. When the grass died, people started using it as an informal car repair lot. Neighbors got tired of this and asked the city to do something. A landscape architect had a donated landscape design, which would have been wonderful to execute, but a city staffer left and never followed through.
Finally the city planted a few miscellaneous trees in a line down the middle (and a nice oak tree on a smaller traffic island). A neighbor added some trees that had outgrown his planting pots, and some roses. Naomi began planting drought-resistant plants, picking up trash, and keep up with pulling out the weeds.
Naomi has been planting daffodils many of the years since Keep Oakland Beautiful started the program. It is a tough environment and they don't all survive, but some last several years. For the last few years we have managed to mulch some of the area to keep down weeds and to improve the soil, since some areas are rocky, infertile, and full of asphalt. A neighbor works for a tree service and recently donated a big load of excellent mulch.
"I hope that Oakland will expand its program a bit and consider distributing appropriate pollinator plant seeds in addition to the daffodils and poppies; some of the local native wildflowers bloom in the summer and fall; are drought-resistant; support native species, and don't mind terrible dirt. The daffodils are lovely, but the bloom is finished quite early, and they don't attract the birds and insects as well as the native species." —Naomi Schiff
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