After an amazing Day 1 of the Garden Bloggers Fling (spent touring gardens and enjoying lunch (and shopping!) at Annie’s Annuals), we made a brief stopover at the hotel (too short for a nap) and were back on the bus for a quick trip to the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers at Golden Gate Park.
I’ve had a long and complicated relationship with the conservatory, best summed up in one word: disappointment. I have visited the park several times, each time the conservatory has been closed. Once for repairs, once for a special event (one I wasn’t invited to) and once the visit was just during off hours. I couldn’t believe I was finally going to be allowed inside!
But wait – first our group photo needed to be taken by Mr. Saxon Holt. That’s him cajoling us all into squeezing together, or smiling, or just standing still.
And here we are! (photo courtesy of Saxon Holt)
Oh it looks like “hamming it up” for the camera wasn’t quite done yet, recognize these guys? Scott of Rhone Street Gardens and Peter, The Outlaw Gardener.
In case you wondered about those palms behind them…
Finally it was time to go inside!
Or rather stand in line for a glass of wine and ogle this planted wall…
In case we forgot where we were…
A little history (via of the Wiki) on the building itself: “With construction completed in 1878, it remains the oldest building in the park, and the oldest municipal wooden conservatory remaining in the United States. It is also one of the first municipal conservatories constructed in the country.”
The central dome rises nearly 60 ft…
“The Conservatory kit was bought by James Lick, an eccentric businessman, piano maker, and successful real estate investor. It was intended for the City of San Jose where Lick had built a mansion surrounded by exotic plants imported from South America and around the world. Lick died in 1876 before constructing the conservatory on his estate, and it was put up for sale by his trustees. The kit was then purchased by a group of prominent San Franciscans…who offered it as a gift to the City of San Francisco for use in Golden Gate Park.”
Most importantly for visitors like us the conservatory houses “approximately 1,700 plant species.” Most of which I didn’t bother to get the name of...
Oh I know the name of that one though! (in the skirt) That’s Denise of A Growing Obsession….
There was a butterfly exhibit during our visit, this was the only photo I took which wasn't too blurry.
Oh I know this one! Curculigo capitulata or 'Palm Grass'
And this one too, Dioon spinulosum.
This one I puzzled on for awhile. That’s what happens when almost 4 months pass between taking the photo and editing it. Well and when you’re a dork. Because this one’s not real, it’s metal. Duh…
Of all the beautiful plants I saw that evening this glass and metal "Victoria amazonica water lily" is what stands out the most in my memory.
It was amazing!
Of course the elevated pond it hung over was pretty cool too. How often do you have water at eye level?
Silly me, I’m finally inside the conservatory but I’m taking pictures of what’s outside. I do love me a slightly muddled view (great excuse for not washing the windows at home).
And finally some flowers, after all that’s what it’s supposed to be all about here…
As dinnertime edged closer we were ushered out to a pavilion behind the conservatory where a lovely meal was enjoyed by all and copious amounts of swag was given out. I won a CobraHead Weeder. Who knew? I’ve always used an old flat-head screwdriver to weed but having the right tool really does make a difference. I was going to take a picture of it attacking a patch of oxalis but forgot to do so…you’ll have to use your imagination (or click here to see what the tool looks like). Thank you CobraHead!
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