Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Garden Lovers' San Francisco

Garden lovers will definitely want to visit Golden Gate Park. This man-made park shows how dedicated gardeners can transform the landscape. In addition to enjoying the full park, gardeners will want to visit three sights that are within easy walks of each other: the Japanese Tea Garden, Botanical Garden and Arboretum, and Conservatory of Flowers.

The Japanese Tea Garden was founded in 1894 as part of San Francisco's Midwinter Fair and is the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States. Visitors will enjoy a leisurely stroll through the garden. If you visit at the right time in the spring, you will see the cherry trees in bloom. You can also stop at the tea house for green tea, Japanese crackers, and fortune cookies. The Tea Garden opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 5:00 p.m. from November to February and at 6:00 p.m. during the balance of the year. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors age 65 and over and youth between the ages of 12 and 17, and $1.50 for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Children under the age of 5 may enter for free.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum is just across Martin Luther King Drive from the Japanese Tea Garden. The 55 acres of gardens feature plants from Mediterranean climates, mild-temperate climates, cloud forests, elsewhere. The Botanical Gardens are open daily and there is no charge for enjoying a walk among the diverse plants and flowers.

The Conservatory of Flowers is a ten-minute walk from the Japanese Tea Garden. This Victorian greenhouse opened in 1879 and is now North America's oldest public conservatory. The Conservatory closed in 1995 after suffering major damage during a severe windstorm. After extensive renovation, the Conservatory reopened in 2003. Today, the conservatory houses over 2,000 plants in its permanent collection. Special exhibits are displayed throughout the year. The Conservatory is open Tuesday - Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The last admission is at 4:30 p.m. Admission fees are the same as for the Japanese Tea Garden.

If you would like to take a private tour of San Francisco that includes a visit to one or more of these gardens, please phone me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

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