Thursday, November 5, 2009

San Francisco Botanical Gardens Part 2

Part of my continuing series on our October trip to California…
Just when I was getting bored with things (in relative terms mind you, it’s not like I was REALLY bored…) we would happen upon something amazing, like the aloes… Aloe mutabilis
A wall of aloes! Right there in the middle of the aloes an advertisement for danger garden! Aloe Arborescens Aloe Arborescens Candelabra (I have my doubts but that is what the name plate said*)
Aloe Suprafoliata Blooming Bromeliad Fascicularia pitcairnifolia var bicolor, blooming! As I mentioned yesterday the Succulent Garden was hidden in an odd corner. It was amazing to come out of the trees and have everything open up to expose a tiered wall of (among other things) huge agaves. Beautiful. Unfortunately I was unable to accurately capture the view with my camera. Agave attenuata, just pouring out of the wall!Agave parryi Agave Potatorum Dyckia (Bromeliaceae) Dyckia bloom
Marmoleum Agave…okay I really have no idea what this agave is really called. As with several of the plants here I couldn’t find a name plate. I don’t know what it is but I love it! Puya Alpestris this (click here) is what its blooms look like. I see several faded bloom stalks, I wish I could have seen the actual blooms. So dramatic…and the color! Xanthorrhoea Grass Tree So there you have it. In the end to us it felt more like a park with cool plants than a botanical garden (not a criticism, just a statement). But I also think it serves a valuable purpose, being right in the city and free. I am so glad we spent an afternoon wandering the gardens.

*I have done my best to accurately label the plants - of course a lot of the names were taken right from the name plate in the ground. Which may or may not have been accurate. Any mistakes were honest ones!


  1. Ooh, I love all those agaves, yuccas and bromiliads! The a. parryi and a. Potatorum just make me so happy with their perfect roundness! Great survey, Loree. I'll be watching for agaves, etc. this weekend in Pasdena. Hope I see such nice ones as you did!

  2. Well I certainly see several plants I would like to snitch for my garden! Like that grass tree, aloe plicatilis, variegated agave...
    I think that Aloe Suprafoliata looks more like maculata/saponaria.

  3. Grass tree, too hilarious! Never seen that one before. You must have been in at least semi-heaven, with all those aloes and agaves to ogle. Funny, the climate doesn't seem all that terribly much warmer but then again they almost never have a real frost, so I guess that's the main difference. I almost thing the NW gets more actual hot days (could that be true? probably in that part of SF, where it's really foggy all summer) so I guess it's the lack of cold that helps them grow so big and happy. Yes, I agree, it's not super insane botanical garden but the fact that anyone can go there (and that so many plants stay put, tracking devices or no!) is amazing. Thanks for the tour, I'm going to have to find that succulent patch next time I'm there!

  4. I so envy the gardeners in that zone, all those plants that they can grow so easily. Agave attenuata just sprouts out of rocks? And all the trouble I go through just to keep mine alive. I can't believe I missed this when I was there! I'm in love with that grass tree. I'll have to make do with a yucca linearfolia instead.

  5. Nice tour.
    I remember when the Xanthorrhoea was a young small plant.
    I love to go in to check out its growth.
    Directly across from it is a weird Puya that has the most spectacular greenish blue flowers.
    I love our S.F. Botanical garden. It is not like any other arboretum that I have been in.
    At first the winding paths used to perplex me. I was always getting lost. But now I know it like the back of my hand and I enjoy meandering through the Cloud Forest only to wind up in the Native garden which leads to the Redwood Grove and out to the Succulent Garden.
    I hope you found the Australian garden and the cool rammed earth wall.
    Like you said, the paths are somewhat disconnected and without a map you can miss entire areas of the garden.
    Glad that you had a fun trip.
    What else did you see on your trip?

  6. Jane, I can't wait for your Pasadena report. Hope you make to the Huntington Gardens! You'll probably posting about it before I do...still so much vacation territory to cover before we get there!!!

    Nicole, isn't that grass tree amazing. I stood and stared at it for so long I almost forgot to take a picture.

    Karen, heaven definitely! And it kept getting better...the Berkeley Botanical Gardens were AMAZING! I think you are right about their being more hot days in the PNW, but the lack of frost and significantly less annual (cold) rainfall helps them to come out ahead.

    Megan, seriously! These people are so lucky. really need to go to Santa Barbara the A. attenuata grows like dandelions there! I am not kidding. They are EVERYWHERE!

    DD, I would love know what the Xanthorrhoea looked like when it was young and small...and how many years ago that was, do you have any pictures? The Puya Alpestris is the one with the weird flowers, I included a link but it is hard to see..they are amazing! I believe I was in the Australian garden but do not remember a rammed earth wall, damn...I would have liked to see that. As for what else we saw...SO MUCH! Here ( is my list of where we went. Some I've already posted about but most are yet to come.

  7. Hi Loree~~ It is a bit frustrating when the labels disappear, I agree. What I really hate is when a nursery display garden doesn't have a tag and/or the plant in question can't be IDed by nursery staff and can't be located within the sales area. You're just left with an open wound...plant lust at its worst.

    I love the Agave attenuata and the tree grass. If only our winters were a tad warmer!

  8. Aloe Suprafoliata is mislabelled...

    1. Be that as it may that's what the sign at the botanical garden said, what's the right name?


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