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The San Francisco Standard

Know Your Neighbors

SF In Bloom 

Scatters Native Wildflower Seeds Around SF
Published Aug. 14, 2022 • 10:05am

Phoenix and Shalaco McGee’s shared love of plants first blossomed over a tree aloe the pair planted on their first date in the Mission 10 years ago. Since then, their passion for flora and fauna of all sorts—but especially California native wildflowers—has flourished, growing into a popular TikTok account with over 340,000 followers and a line of wildflower seed mixes.

The account, and a suite of social media handles under the moniker @SFinBloom, chronicles the adventures of these “guerilla gardeners”—following them on their “flower bombing” excursions, where they scatter wildflower seeds with Parmesan cheese shakers throughout San Francisco on foot and occasionally on Onewheel skateboards. They also give out gardening tips.

The couple, now engaged and expecting their first child, had been sprinkling seeds on their walks throughout the city for years, but their form of “volunteer urban conservation,” as they call it, really didn’t take off until they started posting to TikTok last year. Shalaco’s film and photography experience running a creative production studio and Phoenix’s work as a landscape contractor combined into a perfectly viral hybrid of plant-based content, or “urban conservation” with a fun edge, as Shalaco describes it.

“We made it to basically democratize gardening,” said Shalaco, a self-described “child of national parks.” “And take gardening off a pedestal and make it accessible to people.”

“[I] like to help out everyone I can to enable them in how they integrate plants into their life,” said Phoenix, who also owns a garden design and landscaping company. “There’s always wonder in the garden.”

Through their social media presence the couple hope to inspire people to think globally but act locally when it comes to environmentalism.

“We see it as a gateway to volunteer conservation and to civic pride and civic duty,” Shalaco said. “You’re taking the beautification of your city in your own hands.”

Photos by Camille Cohen

SF In Bloom - portrait
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Special powers

Garden design and making complex ideas approachable.

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Arch enemies

Bird seed and foxtails.

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Weaknesses

Naps.

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Lineage

A long line of gardeners, plant lovers and flower children.

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Current mission

Normalize planting native wildflowers.

'There’s always wonder in the garden.'
SF In Bloom - portrait