Bay Natives Nursery Offers Indigenous Plants
By Paul McDonald
At the end of Cargo Way, across the street from the entrance to Heron Head’s Park, is a nursery that specializes in native plants. Bay Natives, a fifty-fifty venture between avid naturalists and renowned plant guys Geoffrey Coffey and Paul Furman, opened last fall. Almost a year old, the business offers hundreds of varieties of plants native to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Coffey and Furman have known each other for years. Both share a passion for plants; specifically ones that grew — in many cases, exclusively — in the Bay Area far before humans stepped into and on top of them. Furman is a landscape architect, naturalist and photographer. Coffey previously owned Madroño Landscape Design Studio, and formerly wrote a column for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Home and Garden section on local plants.
“There are thousands of native plants in California, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 grasses alone that are native to the Bay Area,” said Coffey. Many of these are sold at Bay Natives, which began in 2005 as an on-line venture. More than 20 types of manzanita, and many trees, shrubs and flowers, with fun names like California Lilac, Monkey flower, Sea side daisy, pipevine, seathrift and Islais Cherry, are offered at the nursery.
Although located in a remote part of the City, the nursery feels like it’s in the center of everything, as it’s surrounded by large trucks serving Recology’s nearby recycling center, the Bay Railroad, and the massive development slowly emerging at the Hunters Point Shipyard. The Port of San Francisco, which owns the land on which Bay Natives operates, is pumping millions of dollars into restoring and expanding the nearby Bay Trail and adding new bicycle paths.
Bay Natives sponsors monthly talks on the second Wednesday of the month, from 6 to 7 p.m., at the Eco Center at Heron’s Head Park. These programs are part of Bay Natives’ mission to spread knowledge of native plants, as well as propagate the plants themselves. In the future Coffey and Furman hope to open a café within their nursery, and use it to host special events.
For information: baynatives.com.
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