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Greener Than Thou: The Gardening Coach

Greener Than Thou is our report on San Francisco’s obsession with all things green, calling bullshit on the poseurs and lavishing praise on those who have secured their place in environmental paradise. Feeling green? Send the love!

A gardening coach? In an age—and a city—where people blindly throw money at any and everything that smacks of "life improvement," a personal lawn adviser seems like the logical addition to any San Franciscan's self-help repertoire. But where will it stop? Not in the back yard, apparently. "Master gardeners grow plants. I grow gardeners," boasts failed football coach gardening guru Jack McKinnon to the Chronicle. He owns one such garden consulting firm, Garden Coach. Not unlike the psychologist who refuses to accept health insurance, McKinnon and others of his kind, such as local Madeline Bakarich, provide initial consultations at rates ranging from $150 to $250; follow-ups run from $50 to $125. As if hands-on tutorials weren't enough, each also offers psychological support via phone. For as one might expect, watching the blooming of flora and fauna in idyllic Northern California often sinks gardeners into deep, dark depression. (Not to fear! Both have cred on the crazy front, too: McKinnon is a former lay minister, while Bakarich was once a psych nurse.)

While McKinnon and Bakarich ultimately come off as gentle, earnest enthusiasts, every scene has its token ego maniac (or to be fair, possible parental naming victim). Enter—brace, people—Green, the one-named gardening coach for the On Lok 30th Street Senior Center in Chinatown. While we're sure Green has a cult following among the residents, we have our fears: Please Green, don't reduce that one-liner name of yours into a recycling symbol!
· Garden coaches are for those who want help doing it themselves [SF Gate]