Entry to the garden. Photo by David Kruse-Pickler
Hundreds of native wildflowers bloom with life as the meadows awaken at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. A colorful show for any botanic enthusiast, we have 5 reasons to further persuade a trip this spring, just be careful not forget your heart in San Francisco when you leave.
Magnolia campbellii ‘Strybing White’ is the largest magnolia at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, towering over 80 feet. Photo by Auweia
In February, the San Francisco Botanical Garden becomes the ideal setting for a romantic rendezvous. It’s the time of year when the velvety silver buds on the branches of the garden’s magnolia trees burst open into pink and white flowers that fill the garden with soft pastel colors and sweet, fragrant scents.
An overhead view of the floral clock. A brick walkway encircles the clock and continues to a restored marble fountain, where a low boxwood maze flanks the path. Photo credit: Bill Dewey
Telling time and taming wild animals takes on a whole new meaning in the whimsical Topiary Garden at Lotusland, located on a large estate in Santa Barbara, Calif.
In 17th century Europe, horticulturalists began opening their gardens to plants from around the world. Plant explorers were forging into new botanical territories—inlets in South American waterways, crevasses in China's mountains—and returning with roses and fruits, orchids and lilies. Exotic plants were traded, cultivated, and illustrated. Previously, botanic illustration was largely produced for medical texts and herbals.
Gene Bauer, 85, is well-known for her daffodils in the San Bernadino Mountains–a garden of close to a million yellow blooms. Until recently, she opened the garden to a curious public who would travel to see her labor of love. In the 1970s, however, one didn't need to travel to experience Bauer's passion for flowers. Instead, it would arrive by mail, as a small silk-screened booklet that depicted one of Bauer's favorite California plants.
This article appeared in the June 2012 issue as "An Artist's Touch."
Stan Bitters is a 21st-century caveman. In a windowless steel building on an industrial strip of Fresno, California, the 76-year-old sculptor shapes earth, water, and fire into primal ceramic forms. It is a ritual based more on instinct than intellectual precept. “It’s not about thinking about the clay,” he says. “It’s really getting in there and manipulating it—mashing it and beating it—until it produces some feeling of wonderfulness, something earthy and textural.”
Janet Loera clips cilantro from the vertical gardens at Homegirl Cafe.
Janet Loera works as a line cook at Homegirl Cafe now, but a few years ago, fresh out of jail, she spent most of her time in one of the gardens that provide this downtown Los Angeles restaurant with freshly harvested organic produce. “I was one of the first girls in the garden,” says the 21-year-old, cutting cilantro from a hanging herb garden outside the cafe. “That’s where I started.”