To anyone who has not been in San Francisco in the winter it will be hard to believe these are winter photos, taken in the past couple of years in The San Francisco Botanical Garden during the month of January.
I know; it’s a delight.
San Francisco is a very mild, summer-dry, winter-wet climate, where it almost never freezes and gardens are growing 12 month of the year. The Botanical Garden is a showcase of plants from similar summer-dry (sometimes called mediterranean) climates but because it is so temperate, many plants from many parts of the world thrive.
In fact the Magnolias, one of the signature collections of the Garden, are not native to summer-dry climates at all and are a highlight of winter. These big deciduous trees begin their blooming and late December and go into late March.
I wrote about the magnolias last January, if you want to see other photos.
The trees are quite large and it’s quite a challenge to photograph them. At the same time, because they are so large, you can walk under and look up.
And in winter, you may even find a bird nest exposed.
Where the trees have sweeping branches low enough to photograph and see closely, I find myself mesmerized by their simple structure.
One of my favorite parts of the garden, in any season, is the South African collection. The southern Cape of South Africa is another summer-dry climate and there are many wonderful plants that do quite well in California, and are quite showy in winter.
The collection is quite mature in this part of the garden, showcasing a wonderful shrub border with Erica, Podocarpus, Aloes, and Leucadendrons.
Detail of the Erica canaliculata, known variously as Christmas Heather, Scotch Heather, or Pink Heath.
Leucadendrons, Cone-bush, are one of the most showy shrubs, and the bright involucral leaves at the tips of flowering branches are particularly showy in winter.
They are in the Protea family and have become quite popular in floral arrangements.
Many other wonderful South American plants are featured in this part of the garden. Featherhead, Phylica pubescens, is a photographer’s delight.
I am particularly fond of grasses and in recent years Restio’s, a large grasslike group of plants from South Africa, have become increasingly popular the West Coast gardens.
As any of you who have been following Debra Lee Baldwin, the Succulent Queen, my fellow co-blogger here at Gardening Gone Wild, you know succulent gardens are photogenic almost any time of year. And when the Aloes flower in winter – Yowza!
I love the way the red flowering aloe provide touches of color when photographing other sections of the the botanic garden’s Succulent Garden, as you can see behind these magnificent Agave americana.
Much of the country is in the midst of a brutal snowy winter. Here in this winter wet climate we’re finally been having glorious rains, and in San Francisco, gardens are lookin’ good.