Posts Tagged ‘drought resistant plants’

February 2017 Newsletter


Just click on the photo to download the Newsletter or click here

What was PG&E doing at the corner of McAbee & Golden Oak Way?


According to our reporter in the field, Project Manager Pat Pizzo, PG&E came out on Dec 28th.  in response to a report of gas leaks in the area. After investigating, they decided to check the main gas pipe line that feeds the area on the NE Corner of Golden Oaks Way and McAbee Road. This area was where Andrew Oberhelman completed his Eagle Scout Project on Nov 10th, 2012.
In the process of looking for the leak, the native plants growing in an approximate 25 foot square area near the corner were wiped-out.
PG&E said that they will hire a contract landscaper to re-plant the area. However, because CA native plants are involved and commercial landscapers are not always knowledgeable about CA native plants and their needs, this may be problematic.  So far there is no estimated date for completion of the landscape replanting.

Please note:  PG&E did come back and replace the plants that were torn out.

Our Quarter Two May 2016 Newsletter is here!

Watch out!  Those MFPA folks are at it again!

Squirrel announcementClick here for our latest Newsletter:  Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, & Page 4.

Were our Voices heard?! You be the Judge.

Rod Carpenter speaks before the Council

 On Monday, April 11th, 2016, Martin-Fontana Parks Association members attended the San Jose City Council Parks Study Session at the San Jose City Hall, City Council Chambers.  Please click here for a video link to Study Session.


*NOTE:  Public comments start at the 39 minute mark and the Martin-Fontana Parks Association presentation starts at the 42 minutes mark. 


Martin-Fontana Parks Association included this slide show to accompany our comments before the Mayor, Council Members, and the Dept of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS).  The following MFPA members spoke before the Council on these subjects relating to or two parks:

Introduction – Linda Wilson
Irrigation – Linda Wilson
Rodent Damages – Rod Carpenter
Park Safety – Rod Carpenter
Weed Control – Rich Grialou
Volunteers – Mike Kalashian
Sense of Community – Rosy Bowring


We encourage you to email your park maintenance concerns to the following city officials:


Drought & San Jose Parks

TJ2 damage

Doing Our Part to Conserve

With California facing the most severe drought in history, and residents being asked to reduce usage by 30%, the City of San José takes its responsibility to conserve water seriously.  PRNS is dedicated to maintaining our facilities in a way that both conserves water and preserves our parks. Although public parks are exempt from the watering restrictions, we plan to reduce our potable (fresh) water usage while keeping areas of our parks green, to provide our residents a respite from the drought conditions and a safe environment to recreate.
For the rest of the statement click here.

Turf Reduction work party a huge success!


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Turf Reduction has started

It looks like the turf removal is going on in steps. Irrigation is the first thing being dealt with. The irrigation system will be hard-piped with fixed water-heads that will spray the water horizontally in a circular motion at strategical plant locations. This is not a drip system.  They are also digging a deeper channel around the periphery of the areas so that the chips will tend to stay where they are placed.

Area A, TJ3


Here they have started working at the corner of Meridian Ave and Oakglen Way in Jeffrey Fontana Park.

Area C @ Meridian Ave & Oakglen Way

Area C @ Meridian Ave & Oakglen Way


January 17, 2014 Governor Brown proclaimed a Drought State of Emergency, calling on all municipalities to cut their water use by 20%. As a result, PRNS (Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services) implemented several water conservation efforts last summer:

1. Reduced potable turf irrigation by 20% in park interiors and by 50% in all perimeter areas adjacent to streets.
2. New planting projects were deferred.
3. Leaks in irrigation systems not easily remedied caused the entire site to be shut off until repairs can be made.

Most importantly, the City Council approved the PRNS plan to develop and implement a turf conversion program to reduce operating and maintenance costs and reduce the City’s demand on water resources.

Martin-Fontana Parks Association learned about this program last April. Turf conversion began in several parks across the city in 2009-2010 to save money on maintenance during an era of 39% cutbacks in PRNS staff. At Kirk Park on Foxworthy, for example, 11,000 sq ft of turf was removed and replaced with drought tolerant trees and mulch.

In late summer of 2014, the City Council adopted a PRNS resolution to address three years of drought with a program of city-wide turf removal/conversion to begin in 2015. The MFPA Board determined it was in the best interest of our parks to discuss this with PRNS, and participate in determining which locations were to be chosen for reduction and how the locations could be landscaped with drip irrigation and planted with drought tolerant plants to maintain an aesthetically agreeable alternative to turf.

MFPA’s turf committee and the Board selected four locations and proposed landscaping plans for each. The proposals were submitted to PRNS in December. January 5th we learned the plans were accepted and work was scheduled to begin in mid January.

Last spring, PRNS attended an MFPA Board meeting to discuss this process and stated PRNS and MFPA would introduce the plans to our park community before work would be initiated. The communication between our parties had broken down so we enlisted the help of our Council Office and PRNS to have the project stopped until the community was notified. The issue of non-communication still remains, and MFPA will be working to resolve the issue for future projects.

In the meantime, turf removal/conversion is slated for about 30 parks including ours. We will be the first in the city-wide effort to have a drip irrigation system installed by PRNS to allow landscaping with drought tolerant plants of our design. Because we are using free bare-root drought tolerant carpet roses in the design, work will begin soon to get them planted during their planting season.

 Turf Conversion Plans


Martin-Fontana Parks Association to increase the Monarch Butterfly habitat

“Monarch Decline Prompts Concern”

 San Jose Mercury News Jan. 3, 2015 narrowleaf-milkweed-v1-600x398


Endangered species protection may be in store.

Monarch butterflies are disappearing at such an alarming rate that they may become an endangered species. Our TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Parks, as well as Guadalupe Oak Grove Park are poised to become an important part of the effort to bring them back to Almaden Valley.

To attract and support the Monarch Butterfly population in the Spring of 2015, Monika Gardias, a California Native Plant Society member, will be working with MFPA project managers Dave Poeschel and Patrick Pizzo, and a volunteer group, to plant several plugs of Narrowleaf Milkweed. This CA native plant and primary Monarch butterfly habitat nourishes the caterpillars and provides a site for the orange and black butterflies to lay their eggs.

narrowleaf-milkweed-v2-600x398Several areas of our parks have been identified to join the butterfly habitat established last March in Fontana Park near Golf Creek. Volunteers are needed to plant several plugs of Asciepias fascicularis, Narrowleaf Milkweed. They require only wet season water to flourish and become a butterfly habitat, joined by several species of native flowers.

If you are interested in helping on a workday sometime this month, or possible in February, please email Monika Gardias,, or Pat Pizzo, for more information.

Santa’s Elves at work


Citrix, a provider of mobile technologies and cloud services, lent employee, Rus Richter, to a third annual community service day last Friday the 6th at Fontana Park.  Along with MFPA member Dave Poeschel, they planted shrubs in Jeffrey Fontana Park near the Tot Lot area.

Thanks to Citrix for lending out Rus, & thanks to Dave for putting it all together and making our park look so much better. Oh, and a big thank you to Santa for sending out his elves  in this busy holiday season.  The community really appreciates all your hard work.