What a difference a few storms made at the Markham arboretum, now wearing its vibrant Spring blues, greens and reds from blade of grass to treetop. The Galindo Creek meandering through the gardens remains a few feet at its deepest, hummingbirds have begun their courtships, but the countdown to summer has already begun.
The following photos were all taken yesterday during the course of a single walk through, taking advantage of the blooms we waited months to see. There were over twenty of them, so we decided to arrange them in a slide show for convenience. Below, that, you’ll find a short video of Anna’s hummingbirds courting.
The female hummingbird perched at the very top of a tree, is being buzzed by a male. The chirping sound you hear as he passes by is made by fanning out his tail feathers.
Given the construction, we avoid leaving the kitties alone when the workers are doing their thing. Instead, we left very early and went to the park at sunrise. The last time we were there, we got to watch ducks, geese and robins. This time, it was very quiet.
Since a couple of ducks were the only wildlife we found at Stow Lake, we wandered off to another lake for a walk.
It had been a very quiet morning, all things considered. While slighty disappointed that we didn’t see more wildlife, we were very happy with the sunrise and eucalyptus and lack of other humans. In other words, it was peaceful. It didn’t last. Our peace and quiet was abruptly shattered.
We headed off around the next curve in the trail and came face to face with the rare and elusive Golden Gate Bawk-Bawk.
Our very quiet morning turned into a rare event and will be much remembered. As we left, the Bawk-Bawks were safely roosting in the nearby shrubbery.
…or at least take pictures of them. Lastech and I have been snapping pics like crazy. This year is a bit off with the drought and all, so none are wildflowers.
Oh, I should add that Lastech was finally awake early enough to see Titanescu at his most tyrannical when it comes to begging for his breakfast. There’s no photo evidence, but here’s a close example of what he’s like. Yeah, he’s really a grumpy ole fart. 🙂
We love Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park. I forgot, they changed the name. It’s now called San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum. While I’m completely unimpressed with the name change, I love to visit the Arboretum. It is free to the San Francisco residents and there is something new to see every time we go. Here are a few examples.
Paralysis, strangulation, derangement – these are just a few of the misdeeds of the plant kingdom as chronicled by award-winning author Amy Stewart in her 2009 New York Times Bestseller, Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities. And now, something wicked this way comes. It’s mayhem under glass, as the Conservatory of Flowers transforms its Special Exhibits Gallery into an eerie Victorian garden full of Mother Nature’s most appalling creations. Building on the fascinating plant portraits in Stewart’s book, the Conservatory introduces visitors to living examples of dozens of infamous plants that have left their mark on history and claimed many an unfortunate victim, like the castor bean, implicated in the 1978 “umbrella murder” of communist defector BBC journalist Georgi Markov, and the strychnine tree, nineteenth-century serial killer Dr. Thomas Neill Cream’s poison of choice for troublesome spouses and lovers. It’s a who’s who of botanical rogues and assassins. Meet them if you dare
It was a good exhibit and we hope to go back before it ends. Here are some of the photos we took. I have labeled the plants I’m familiar with. There were some that I didn’t catch. I hope you enjoy them.
On Sunday, Lastech and I went adventuring in the city. San Francisco has many beautiful places and sometimes we like to be tourists for a day. We had never been to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, so we decided it was time. Now we wonder what took us so long. The day was sunny and the visit was beautiful. I took so many pictures that they will come in installments.
Anyone who comes to San Francisco should try to find the time to visit the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. Opened to the public 1879, it is the oldest building in the park. It houses around 1700 plant species. The orchid collection is said to be one of the best.
The Conservatory of Flowers is located at 100 John F. Kennedy Drive. It is accessible for motorized and non motorized wheelchairs. Strollers are not permitted inside, but there is a place to park them while you explore. As it is a greenhouse, it will be quite warm and humid inside. As it can be rather cold outside, be sure to wear removable layers. It is open Tuesday thru Sunday from 10am to 4:30pm. The cost is $7 for adults, $5 for ages 12-17, seniors 65 & over, and college students with school ID. $2 for children 5 – 11 and free for children 4 and under. Local residents receive a discount with proof of residency.
Note: On Sundays, John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to vehicular traffic. For those who don’t mind walking, you can just park on Martin Luther King Drive and walk to the Conservatory.
As I noted earlier, the Conservatory of Flowers was opened to the public in 1879. The architecture is said to have been inspired by London’s Kew Gardens. It is of wood and glass construction. The original wood used in construction was coastal redwood.
Once at the Conservatory you enter via the vestibule to the 60 foot high pavilion. This part of the Conservatory houses the Lowland Tropics plants. These are plants that grow in the low-lying tropical forests found in Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia at altitudes less than 3,000 feet.
This area houses plants such as coffee, bananas, cacao, cycads, and a 100 year old imperial philodendron.
I hope you enjoy the following pictures and with luck, they will inspire you to visit the Conservatory of Flowers one day.