Make a Wish Upon a Tree in Potrero Hill

Some were new; some were old. All were personal.

In January 2014, I visited San Francisco and discovered a small, dense neighborhood on a steep hill.  It became a fast favorite, Potero Hill.  Together, my husband, daughter and I, standing outside on the street, discovered a tree filled with small hand-written notes tied to the branches like ornaments.

Some were new; some were old. All were personal.

We had no idea who started this creation. There was no signage, no credit taken. Just tons of notes filled with things each writer was grateful for, simply expressed.  How wonderful.

We immediately found a pen and paper and wrote our joint note.  With surprise and pleasure a year later almost to the date, the tree still stands. The notes are more plentiful. Some damaged by rain but the majority, surviving in the ideal Bay Area climate.

This small and modest tree stands as a huge and enduring testament to the vitality of community life, the desire we all have to connect – and to the fun and creativity a city can experience in free yet priceless ways.

Why not consider starting a similar tree in your neighborhood?


Photography Credit: Aminah Ricks

All Aboard the Mollie Bus!

You are in the mood to grocery shop. . . but not in the mood to figure out if you should drive, bike or take public transportation?

In San Francisco, there is an initiative that takes this question, out of the equation.

Mollie Stone’s chain of grocery stores has launched the Mollie Bus, a free service that takes you home from the grocery store, to your front door.

On their website, this is how they describe this alternative transport:

Here’s how it works:

  1. You catch it in front of the store.
  2. Your receipt is your bus ticket.  Just get on with your bag, and you’re on your way.
  3. It takes you to your doorstep.  Just tell the driver where you live.
  4. Please remember, it’s not a taxi.  It takes you home, but it won’t pick you up.

We think this is an idea worth replicating.


Photography Credit: Aminah Ricks

Community Garden Q & A

Featuring Christine Evers/San Francisco Bay Area

How long have you been a member of your community garden?
-I’ve had a plot in the Brisbane community garden for about 15 years.

What are the best months for gardening and the most difficult?
-The garden produces most abundantly in the spring and summer, but in the SF Bay area we can grow vegetables year-round.

What do you plant in high season and in low season?
-In the spring, I usually plant lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, squash, string beans. This year I also grew miniature corn, very tasty. I like to grow crops that either taste better than those I find for sale or (like fresh baby corn) are not easily available. In the fall, I plant a variety of greens. This winter I planted several types of kale, Asian broccoli, and collards. These typically continue producing throughout the winter. I also have a rhubarb plant, which is dormant in the winter, but produces every spring. It is surprising how much you can grow in a small plot.

Chris Ever's Garden Produce Photo                                 Photo Credit: Christine Evers

What do you enjoy the most about the experience and what is the greatest challenge?
-I enjoy watching my plants grow, eating the crops I have grown, and sharing them with others who don’t garden. I also enjoy the physicality of gardening—the mild exercise, feeling the warmth of the sun, and smelling the earth. The garden also provides fellowship. It is a great way to meet people who live in town, but are not close neighbors.

Dealing with insects, snails, and gophers can be a frustration. It can also be a challenge to take care of my plot when I’m working a lot. However, that is a good challenge; I need the incentive to put down the computer and get outdoors.

How has it effected your relationship to your community and neighbors?
-As I said above, the [community] garden provides a place for people who live in different parts of town to come together. It certainly fosters a sense of community and I’m glad the city provides this service.

Excited by your community garden?  Share your story with Emerging.City to be featured in an upcoming column.  Reach out at


Feature Photo Credit: Aminah Ricks

Elevating City Life