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Spring Wild Flowers Guided Walking Tour | Golden Gate Park

Dramatic Bloom of Spring & Summer Wild Flowers | SF Botanical Garden

Travis Lange

It’s been a wet winter and that means spring is going to be crazy good at the San Francisco Botanical Garden … the curators tell us that everything is budding up and looking very bountiful and beautiful.

After four dry years, this winter has brought much needed rain to California, and some very wild flowers are getting ready to put on a particularly vibrant show this spring and summer at San Francisco Botanical Garden (SFBG).

Starting in April and extending through August, the largest portion of the garden’s collections comes into bloom, drawing a huge host of pollinators to its bounty of remarkable and rare plants. A special population of locally rare, native butterflies now makes its home in the Garden of California Native Plants, thanks to SFBG volunteer biologist Tim Wong.

These lovely blue and black pipevine swallowtails should be out in full force this spring, putting on a spectacular show, nurtured by an abundance of native flowers and the food they offer.

Wild Flowers at San Francisco Botanical Garden
April 1-August 31, 2017 | 9 am to 6 pm (spring and summer)
San Francisco Botanical Garden, Golden Gate Park
FREE with proof of SF residency

The Garden is free everyday from 7:30-9 am and all day on second Tuesdays of the month. Admission for non-residents is $8 general, $6 youth 12- 17 and seniors; $2 children 5-11; children 4 and under FREE. Families of 2 adults and one or more child pay just $17.

Free Wild Flower Docent Tours Every Saturday, April 1 to August 26, at 2pm in addition to its year-round, general tours at 1:30 pm. Visitors of all ages can also ask questions and explore plants in more depth at Garden Interpretation Stations on Saturdays and Sundays, April 1 to August 27, from 1:30-3:30 pm. In addition, visitors can make
use of a free smart phone app to explore the collections.

The Garden is a unique home to a huge variety of remarkable and rare plants, including many no longer found in their native habitats. Fantastical flora from the farthest reaches of the globe can be found in 55 acres of geographically specific gardens from South Africa to Chile. Many of the more than 8,000 kinds of plants in the Garden’s collections are native to Mediterranean habitats worldwide, flowering brilliantly after a wet winter soaks the ground parched during the rainless summer. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees will put on a spectacular show, lured by the abundance of flowers and the food they offer.

Some of the not-to-be-missed WILD flowers include:

SPRING (April – May)

Arthur L. Menzies Garden of California Native Plants: A vibrant seasonal show takes place
right in the heart of the city every year as the four-acre Garden of California Native Plants blazes
into bloom. With over 700 species on view (and many new plantings this year), the Garden’s
native wildflower meadow and surrounding arroyos and woodlands come to colorful life with
bright blue wild lilac, gleaming golden poppies, delicate white and yellow meadowfoam, purple
irises, and more.

Puya alpestris (aqua sapphire tower): A high elevation bromeliad native to the Andes Mountains
of central Chile, this surprising pineapple relative sends up massive 4 foot tall flower stalks
covered in emerald-turquoise blossoms with bright orange stamens. Its huge stature and
extremely rare coloration makes it one of the highlights of the spring bloom.

Cornus florida var. urbiniana (magic dogwood): Hailing from the mountains of Eastern
Mexico, the flowers are dramatically distinct from other dogwoods. The thin, white bracts are
fused at the top, giving them a lantern-like appearance. When in bloom, the tree can be covered
in hundreds of white flowers, resulting in a spectacular display of spirals and shapes.

Banksia speciosa: Commonly known as the showy banksia, this native of the southern coast of
Western Australia lives up to its name with attractive cone-like flower heads up to 5 inches tall
and 4 inches wide and dramatic, saw-toothed leaves. The mature seed pods are quite unique and
showy, as well.

Protea cynaroides (king protea): The national flower of South Africa has the widest range and
the largest flower heads of all Protea species. The massive, bowl-shaped inflorescences can
reach up to 12 inches in diameter and are a favorite for flower arrangements as one flowerhead is
almost an arrangement in and of itself.

SUMMER (June – August)

Mediterranean Garden: A hill of ivy near the Garden’s Great Meadow sat undisturbed for at
least 25 years. Named Heidelberg Hill for the 1894 Midwinter Fair, where it was the site of a
German village and beer garden, this area has been recently transformed into a stunning new
mediterranean garden. Scarlet field poppies bloom en masse at the foot of the hill, and as visitors
climb the paths upwards, they can take in a diverse array of blooming salvias, rockroses,
lavenders, snapdragons, and more.

Jennie B. Zellerbach Garden of Perennials: This dramatic horseshoe-shaped Garden was
designed strictly for its aesthetic appeal and is at its best in summer with a profuse array of
flowering perennials including queen of the prarie, masterwort, and more. Clematis and other
flowering vines trail over three lovely arbors.

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon (monkey’s hand tree): Ranging from Mexico to Guatemala,
this evergreen tree, sacred to the Aztecs, features gorgeous red flowers with protruding claw-like
stamens that have an unusual similarity to a monkey’s hand.

Eucomis spp. (pineapple lilies): With its thick central stalk, tightly packed with small, six-petal,
star-like flowers and its topknot of bracts, this lovely South African plant looks very much like a
pineapple. The flowers of most species are greenish-white, sometimes marked with maroon or
purple. Cultivars can don red, burgundy, and violet-colored leaves and flowers.

Romneya coulteri (matilija poppy): A beautiful member of the poppy family, this tall shrub,
sometimes also called the California tree poppy, has grey-green leaves and large, fragrant, crepepapery
white flowers that have a striking resemblance to a fried egg. This is the largest and
showiest of California’s native wildflowers.

Links: Event details

Cost: FREE*

*FREE with proof of San Francisco residency. The garden is free daily 7:30-9 am and all day on second Tuesdays of the month. Admission for non-residents is $8 general, $6 youth 12-17 and seniors; $2 children 5-11; children 4 and under FREE. Families of 2 adults and one or more child pay just $17.


Categories: *Top Pick*, Art & Museums, Kids & Families, Memorial Weekend, San Francisco, Walks & Tours
Address: 1199 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122

Saturday, May 27, 2017

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*Free to watch.
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*Free to watch from the shore.
9:00 am   2017 Port Costa Town Wide Yard Sale  FREE
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10:00 am   2017 Family Fun Festival: Skateboard Contest, Cooking Demos & Puppet DIY | Berkeley  FREE
All Day   San Francisco Carnaval Festival 2017: Saturday | Mission  FREE*
*Free, but donations accepted
10:00 am   Season Launch: Free Oakland Walking Tour | Uptown, Lake Merritt & Secret Rooftop Garden  FREE*
*Reservations are recommended by leaving a message on the Tours’ 24-hour hotline at (510) 238-3234 or via email to aallen@oaklandnet.com
All Day   Bay Area KidFest | Concord  $6*
*Admission is $6 with donation of canned food to Food Bank; $7 without donation. Babies under 24 months and seniors 65+ are FREE.
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10:00 am   Bike Library Launch Party: Smoothies, Crafts & Live Music | Oakland  FREE
All Day   “Treasure Island Flea” 6th Birthday Party  $3
10:00 am   Win: $100 Spree at “Treasure Island Flea” 6th Birthday Bash | SF  WIN
10:30 am   Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Class & Tasting | Ferry Plaza Farmers Market  FREE
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*$10 admission (after that all plates are $6 or less). $3 children's admission.
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11:00 am   2017 Burger & Brew Fest: Live Music, Art & Burger Throwdown | Fremont  FREE*
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11:00 am   Free Sneak Preview Movie: “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” | AMC Van Ness  FREE*
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*Full day admission for non-resident adults is $17
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12:00 pm   Sausage Fest Block Party: Food, Music & Beer | Oakland  FREE*
*Free admission. Bring cash for food & drinks.
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*Free admission but drinks and food will need to be purchased
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*Free but an RSVP is required. Bring money if you'd like treats after the hike.
1:15 pm   Wine & Watercolors at the Library | Oakland  FREE*
*Free but an RSVP is required. Please sign-up at the Rockridge Library in person
All Day   Spring Wild Flowers Guided Walking Tour | Golden Gate Park  FREE*
*FREE with proof of San Francisco residency. The garden is free daily 7:30-9 am and all day on second Tuesdays of the month. Admission for non-residents is $8 general, $6 youth 12-17 and seniors; $2 children 5-11; children 4 and under FREE. Families of 2 adults and one or more child pay just $17.
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*Free, but text "UNIFY2017" to RSVP
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*Free with RSVP and code HELLAFUNNY. Otherwise $15 online $20 at the door
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*Free with code CHEAPBASTARD - otherwise it's $5
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*Free with RSVP and code HELLAFUNNY. Otherwise $15 online $20 at the door
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*free with RSVP and code FUNCHEAP $10 otherwise
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