Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

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March 18, 2015
Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Guide to Golden Gate Park: Flowers in Bloom

Unlike many destinations, San Francisco has spectacular blooming seasons and this floral show is not limited to a particular time of the year. And you don’t have to venture far to find it, just look in Golden Gate Park.

Spring

California Poppies, Tulips, Fuchsias, Dogwoods, Azaleas and Rhododendrons
From March to May visitors will find these flowers at the National Memorial AIDS Grove, the Rhododendron Dell near the de Young Museum and the Japanese Tea Garden. If you’re feeling like a drive, these flowers are also along John F. Kennedy Boulevard.  In spring the blooming period comes to a halt and summer begins. Rhododendrons were John McLaren’s (the father of Golden Gate Park) favorite flower and they are particularly spectacular. 

Summer

Roses, Hydrangeas and Dahlias (the official city flower) 
From June to July these flowers may be seen blooming in Golden Gate Park.  They look their best in Conservatory Valley, Shakespeare Garden and the Tulip Garden.   Roses bloom from May through September in San Francisco. 

Autumn

Liquid Ambers, Swamp Cypress and Gingkoes 
These autumn trees’ colors begin to show signs of winter in late October and early November and may be found at the Conservatory of Flowers, the Music Concourse, Tulip Garden and Shakespeare Garden.   

Winter

Ribes, Camellias, Native Ceanothus (California Lilacs), Tulips, Lavender, Grevillea, Protea, Leucadendrons
It’s winter when these showy flowers are in full bloom and the best places to find them thriving are the Music Concourse, National AIDS Memorial Grove and the San Francisco Botanical Garden—one of the most diverse gardens in the world.

Year Round

Magnolias, Hibiscus, Orchids and Redwood Trees
Because of San Francisco’s Mediterranean climate many plants and flowers bloom all year round. Magnolias, hibiscus, and orchids tend to be most common. San Francisco is also lucky enough to have a century-old gigantic redwood grove right in our backyard. Surrounded by other young trees, you can find the Redwood Grove at San Francisco’s Botanical Garden.  If you can’t make it to Muir Woods, this is a definite must-see! There is also a small stand of redwoods near the Transamerica Pyramid at 600 Montgomery St.

Highlights 

Tulips
The Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden is a yellow, purple and hot pink colored extravaganza of color during the spring within the flower beds surrounding the windmills on the far western edge of the park. 

Rhododendrons
Rhododendron Island, also known as Rhododendron Dell, is off John F. Kennedy Drive and 36th Avenue near the de Young Museum, and provides a visual delight in the spring time. In March the bold colors of pink and deep reds decorate the landscape.

California Poppies
This California state flower’s shiny, golden-orange flowers are bowl shaped and can be seen throughout the San Francisco Botanical Garden in spring. 

Azaleas
The Japanese Tea Garden is the oldest Japanese style garden in the U.S. Azaleas and Cherry Blossoms appear in March and April. And don’t overlook the notable examples of bonsai throughout the garden. 

Dahlia Garden
The dahlia is San Francisco’s official flower. Visitors may enjoy dozens of varietals among the diverse spread of colors and blooms growing within the fenced-in treasure trove free to the public adjacent to the Conservatory of Flowers

London Plane and Scotch Elm
At the Music Concourse, London Plane and Scotch Elm trees line the center of the plaza. A verdant, lush canopy offering a shady spot for visitors to enjoy the park changes drastically after annual pollarding transforms the Concourse into a sculpture garden of trees until their foliage returns. 

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