Spring arrives this month, and with it thousands of small green plants will mature into full, colorful blooms in gardens throughout San Francisco. The city boasts a number of gorgeous flower gardens that have been nourished by the recent rainy winter. These gardens dotting the city delight travelers and locals alike come springtime, reminding us every year of the vibrancy of life. Here are some of San Francisco’s greatest floral gardens to see this season.
Gardens of Alcatraz
Born as a passion project for prisoners sent to live on the prison island, Alcatraz’s historical gardens still exist and bloom beautifully in the spring. Quilts of hyacinths, daffodils and other perennials paint the garden floors surrounding the old stonewalls. Even hearty succulents add to the lush array of colors.
Japanese Tea Garden
The Japanese Tea Garden is a tranquil haven in San Francisco’s massive Golden Gate Park. In spring, the sakura, or flowering cherry trees, bloom in an array of white petals. On the ground, azaleas line the paths with brilliant shades of pink.
Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden
March and April see thousands of multi-colored tulips and Icelandic poppies blooming under the shadow of the 75-foot-high Dutch Windmill. Located at the western edge of Golden Gate Park, the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden was planted in the 1980s in honor of the late queen of the Netherlands. It’s truly a vision of color and life come spring.
Conservatory of Flowers
With its roots in the in-home tropical greenhouse trend among 19th century aristocrats, the historic Conservatory of Flowers brings rare and tropical blooms to San Francisco. Housed in a stunning glass-walled building in Golden Gate Park, this is one of the most photographed attractions in the city.
San Francisco Botanical Garden
With over 8,000 different plants from around the world, a visit to the Botanical Garden in spring is a delight for the senses. The magnolia collection, one of the most significant in the world, is in bloom until the end of March. And this is the best time to visit the Arthur L. Menzies Garden of California Native Plants, splashed with the vibrant colors of lilacs, poppies and irises and abuzz with diligent pollinators.
In honor of former Golden Gate Park superintendent John McLaren, 850 varieties of his favorite flower species were planted in this garden, located in the center of the park near the Conservatory of Flowers. When the clusters of rhododendron and other flowers bloom in spring, Rhododendron Dell becomes a sea of pinks and deep reds.