The Botanical Gardens

I spent this past Saturday afternoon at the Botanical Gardens. The Botanical Gardens are part of Golden Gate Park (9th Avenue at Lincoln Way http://www.sfbotanicalgarden.org), and the perfect place to visit on a sunny day. It’s a 55-acre garden with over 50,00 different species of plant, and it’s FREE for California residents. (It costs $7 for non-residents, but if you come to visit I’ll split it with you).

When I was growing up, my parents were very good at finding places to go that were free, kid-friendly, and entertaining enough to occupy an entire afternoon. The Botanical Gardens is one of those places. But you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it! There were so many things to see that I could have spent 4-5 hours wandering around.

The most popular attraction was the Garden of Fragrance. I really enjoyed smelling all the plants and guessing the fragrances. Thyme! Honeysuckle! Mint! And there was even a plant that smelled like maple syrup. But I also really enjoyed watching the other people smelling and guessing (and arguing about the plants).

this bee likes fragrant plants too!

There was a section on the map labeled The Succulent Garden. It turns out it is not a garden with turkey legs growing on trees, as I originally thought. It’s an entire garden of cactus and aloe plants that all belong to the same Family: Succulents. The succulent plants are known for their ability to retain water.

I’ve seen this plant (below) several times since I moved to California, but I never knew what it was. It’s called an Aeonium, from the Greek for immortal.

Aeonium domesticus

At the Botanical Gardens, there was a garden of plants from Asia, and Australia, a grove of Redwood Trees, Camellias, chile peppers, and my personal favorite, carnivorous plants!! This photo (below) shows a Pitcher: a plant that traps rainwater in its “pitcher” and secretes acid into the water to make it toxic. When a fly lands in the pitcher, the acidic water digests the fly and feeds the plant. Cool, huh?

"Darlingtonia californica", the California Pitcher Plant

I don't remember the scientific name for this Camellia.

So, next time you need something to do on a sunny day, think about visiting the Botanical Gardens. Oh and I forgot to mention that it costs $3/hr to park. I suggest you ride the bus or walk because the garden will not be enjoyable if you’re constantly worried about the time/price.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 16:42:17

    I found out today, at Oxbow Meadows that the picture plant needs lots of sun, therefore is thriving in the areas Georgia Power strips under the power lines along the highway 🙂

    Reply

    • kimetzel84
      Oct 15, 2011 @ 16:54:35

      That’s really interesting! Haha!
      When it gets hot I have to open all the windows b/c I have no A/C. This of course, attracts 1000 moths. I think I need a pitcher plant.

      Reply

  2. Mom
    Oct 11, 2011 @ 17:35:34

    The Green Pitcher Plant that is native to Georgia is on the endangered species list. What is the status of the California cousin? They occur naturally in boggy areas, and those are becoming scarce. Humans strike again!

    Reply

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