"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I left (part of my) heart in San Francisco.

My family and I spent this past weekend in one of my very favorite cities this past weekend. We flew down to visit the in-laws in San Francisco and had a great time. San Francisco holds a very special place in my heart. When I had finished nursing school a friend and I decided on a whim to move to San Francisco to live. After a year she moved back, the biggest surprise was driving up to our apartment to see her and her dad loading his truck up and her telling me she was moving back to Seattle. But I loved living there and wasn't ready to move back to Seattle yet. I lived there a total of 2 years.
Anyway, we are now lucky that my husband's brother lives right in San Francisco and we had lots of fun visiting and doing lots of touristy things with our kids.
I couldn't get over how much was blooming there right now. Although the weather wasn't very cooperative, just looking at flowers everywhere you would've never thought it was the middle of January. We saw Azaleas, daisies, Princess flowers (Tibouchina urvilleana), Red hot poker (Kniphofia uvaria), Ceoanthus, Camellias, succulents and many more flowers blooming all over the city. No one else was really all that excited about the flowers as I kept pointing them out, but I knew you all would be!

A view from the living room. We could see from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge and everything in between. I couldn't believe how pretty it was.

Sweet Pea and I had fun using the zoom on my camera to try to figure out the different plants from the house. I loved this tree but have no idea what it is. One of my favorite things to do when visiting a different city is looking at the trees and plants that grow there. Many of the trees in San Francisco have a Dr. Seuss look to them. Update: Norfolk Island Pine - Araucaria heterophylla as identified by Susie of Poppy and Sage and lotus leaf of Garden tropics.

This Anna's hummingbird was quite far down from the house but we could see him sitting there all day with occasional visits to some sort of yellow blooming shrub that was nearby. Hummingbirds were all over the place, even in very busy tourist areas.

Another bird we saw frequently from the house was this blue one. I don't know what type it is.

Probably my favorite new place that we saw was inside the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. I loved the indoor rain forest. Inside this four story contained rain forest was an open inner area with a ramp that you followed up to the top. This picture was taken about half way up.

Inside butterflies and birds flew around and landed here and there. These Blue Morpho butterflies were everywhere, huge too! Flash was not permitted inside so some of the pictures are a little dark.

Looking down from the top you could see lots of fish and turtles swimming around.

You had to keep your eyes open, you never knew what frog might be hiding under a leaf nearby. Sweet Pea found this one.

I think this is an Orchid, the flower was much bigger than my hand. Update, this is actually not an Orchid but Aristolochia elegans (Dutchman's Pipe) as identified by Alison and Prospero of Serendipitous Garden.

More Blue Morpho butterflies.

One of the walls filled with lots of different plants.

Another butterfly. A cute little yellow bird was hopping around here, but I couldn't get his picture. All throughout were displays of reptiles and amphibians from the rain forests. An elevator took you from the very top to below the water (seen in a picture above) and you were let out into the Aquarium. There is also a Planetarium and many other things to do inside. Sadly the weather was too rainy to visit the Botanical Gardens or Japanese Tea Garden.

Another day while the other adults and big kids went to see King Tut, the Littlest Gardener and I went for a walk/hike around the neighborhood. We got a good workout as his house is on a very steep hill! We found these purple flowers blooming. Update: This is called Blue Hibiscus, which is actually not a hibiscus but Alyogyne huegelii also identified by Susie.

More flowers, not sure what most of these flowers are. Update: Rosie from Leaves'nBloom id'd this as Leptospermum scoparium/ The New Zealand Tea Tree.

More flowers... Update: Darla from More Family and Flowers id'd this as Mexican Bush Sage.

More purple flowers.

A beautifully landscaped garden. This house is on a corner and was this beautiful all the way around. There were bird feeders and garden art tucked in everywhere. I was hoping someone would be working outside so I could see more of it.

The Littlest Gardener at the top of our hike.

More of our view. Not a surprise that the view is obscured by the fog.

What a beautiful city, so much to see and do! As much as I love the Seattle area, a piece of my heart will always belong to San Francisco.
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  1. OMG, Catherine how beautiful. The butterflies are just gorgeous. What a beautiful blue one.I needed these pictures this morning because it is such a cool foggy day here. Glad you enjoyed yourself. The little gardener looks so pretty with the San Francisco background.

  2. Catherine, what a wonderful post! I love seeing the city and the rainforest!! All of the butterflies, flowers and frogs are beautiful but the image that captures my heart is your "littlest gardener" ... so sweet ... I love her hands! Precious! How lucky to have a close family member living right in the heart of San Francisco.

  3. Oh gosh it is all so beautiful. I enjoyed my tour with you and isn't the Littlest Gardener just the cutest!

  4. What an amazing series of fantastic shots !! Beautiful and awesome simply !!

  5. I know one of your flowers is a mexican bush sage, I have it. It's the third purple flower photo...What a great time you had even if the weather wasn't cooperative...Love the littlest gardener!

  6. Wow wow wow!! Thanks for sharing such a mega-Awesome post..the series of photos are stunning..lovely..gorgeous and amazing!yay! Thats was so much fun! The Blue Morpho dazzled my heart!

  7. Wow beautiful pictures(-:
    They do have a lot of cold weather there but I guess it doesn't hurt their flowers(-: Makes me want to go out and buy some(-:

  8. Hi Catherine, thank you for charing your favourite city with us. It sure looks wonderful! San Fransisco is one of the citys I'd like to see. My parent were there and the stories and their pictures made me even more interested. And who knowes, maby some day I'll be abel to go there / gittan

  9. Hello Catherine,

    SF is definitely one of my favorite places to visit. Unlike you, I was not fortunate enough to have lived there, but my mother and other grandparents are from there, so we spent a lot of time there.
    Your pictures of the views, plants and butterflies are just beautiful

    I think the streets of SF have a Seussical quality about them too, don't you think?

  10. Never been to SF, so the tour was much appreciated. I am so jealous they have hummingbirds this time of year!

    Thanks for the green fix,
    Christine in Alaska

  11. The picture you took of 'The Littlest Gardener' is just precious.
    Whoa what a beautiful bunch of flowers - they really have a lot blooming don't they?
    The California Academy of Sciences must have been so great to go through. I really enjoyed that! Well, I enjoyed everything but oohhhh that must have been fun shooting pictures everywhere.
    Ok was that a blue and red frog that Sweet Pea found? Because if it was then now I've seen it all. ;-)
    Great post I really enjoyed this and can't wait for our trip - sure hope something's blooming or it will have to be all Victorian Homes.

  12. What a wonderful opportunity for your family. Such lovely photos you have shared. I love the one of the Littlest Gardener - she is so sweet! You will have to go back and visit the botanical and tea gardens and share more pics!

  13. One city that I would dearly like to visit. What a shame that nobody was working in that garden - it would have been great to have a personal tour! Glad to hear that you enjoyed your weekend.

  14. Hello Catherine - you and your little gardener seemed to have had a great time away. Your photos are great and I think that the pink flower (no 13 photo) is a
    Leptospermum scoparium/ The New Zealand Tea Tree.

    Rosie :)

  15. Thanks Darla and Rosie for you id's!

    Rain Gardener - yes, it is a blue and red frog, it was just sitting on a leaf up near the top level. It looked painted :)

  16. It looks like you had a great time. What a joy to be able to explore other vegetation outside the PNW. Hope to talk/see you soon. Take care!

  17. Thanks for the wonderful photos of San Francisco, looks like you had a great time. I just love the pic of the Littlest Gardener, she is so sweet. I had the same reaction to Seattle when I moved here a little over a year ago, couldn't believe stuff started budding and flowering so early.

    The blotchy purple flower bigger than your hand is Aristolochia elegans (Dutchman's Pipe).


  18. Catherine you captured so many beautiful photos of flowers and butterflies. So happy you had a wonderful time seeing family and the sights. Diana

  19. Hi Catherine. Thank you for the magical tour. The flower you thought was an orchid is in fact Aristolochia elegans (not an orchid at all!). It's a South American vine. It's actually very easy to grow. I grew mine from seed.

    I just love the picture of the littlest gardener.

  20. Great photos, San Francisco is so much fun. I think your tree is a Norfolk Island Pine - Araucaria heterophylla good in Sunset Zones 17, 21-24 & Hawaii. Your first purple flower is a Blue Hibiscus...not really a hibiscus at all but Alyogyne huegelii an Aussie native adapted to our CA gardens & very drought tolerant. I saw that same vine by my daughter's house in San Diego, very bizarre, amost like an Octopus.

  21. This is a very interesting blog. I don't think I have ever seen San Francisco this way before. It looks like a beautiful place to live. Great shots both by you and Sweet Pea.

  22. What a beautiful city! I have always wanted to see San Francisco.Hope some day I'll visit the city. Glad you had a good time, Catherine. The tree seems to be Auracaria cookai, the Norfolk pine, but I am not sure.

  23. Oh, Catherine, the littlest gardener is beyond adorable.

    The very first photo took my breath away.

    Your new camera is serving you well. Very impressive.


  24. Thank you Alison, Prospero and Susie for your excellent help with my id's.
    This is what I love about blogging, someone out there can answer just about anything! :)

  25. Thank you lotusleaf too for help in the id! I think we were typing at the same time :)

  26. What a fun trip Catherine. I hope to one day visit San Francisco. I had no idea there was such a cool Rain Forest Garden there. Love the frog. I took my kids to the Baltimore Aquarium and we LOVED the frogs and their wild colors.
    Nice IDs from your blogging buddies. ;-)

  27. Thanks for the warm stroll in this lush place! Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge is on my "To Do" list. My niece was lucky enough to get to see it last year as her fiancé was there on an internship. What a wonderful place to explore and the frog was neat. Good eyes that little one has :-)

  28. Wonderful tour! I am often in SF and really enjoyed your photos of places I haven't seen.

  29. Catherine: What fantastic photos - especially love the butterflies. I met someone recently who now lives in SF but is an Aussie. He absolutely loves it there. I hope to visit someday. Thanks for sharing yr wonderful photos.

  30. I was wondering where you've been! How wonderful to visit SF for the weekend. I would dearly love a trip there myself ~ not sure about living there but a trip definitely. :-)
    I've heard the plant life is incredible and you've pretty much confirmed it. The only thing I recognized is the Dutchman's pipe. I tried to grow it last year but I don't think it liked our Colorado climate. Imagine that! The Science Center looks fantastic. I could spend hours wandering around with my camera in a place like that. Your littlest gardener is such a cutie and sweet that she is up for a steep walk with you. Glad you had a great weekend.

  31. What a great post! Even though I'm just across the bay from SF, it's nice to be reminded what a beautiful city it is. I don't get over there often enough!

  32. Catherine,
    I have always wanted to visit San Francisco, one of these days! The landscaped garden is just beautiful - so full of color. And, the California Academy of Sciences looks like an absolute visual treat. I am so glad you enjoyed your visit, and thank you for sharing these lovely photos. :)

  33. I see why you love it! Good thing you have family there and have a place to stay when you visit! Wonderful views! I love the Science center...very cool!

  34. What a treat, thanks Catherine! We have been to SF at this time of year, although we stayed with friends out in the 'burbs, not so close with such a fabulous view! Still, the flora was so different from the eastern part of the US, like being on a different planet. That rainforest garden was too cool, and hooray for the finding of the little colorful frog, well done! A delightful trip, glad you took lots of photos and shared them with us. :-)

  35. Thanks for the great tour...I would love to go there one day to visit.
    The flowers and butterflies you posted are wonderful too!

  36. I've only been to SanFran once, on a whirlwind weekend when one of my relatives was getting married. I had no time to explore. One day I'll go back. Thanks for the wonderful photos. The ones looking out over the city are really neat.

  37. Wonderful post Catherine! I visited San Francisco once many years ago and even though I was a kid the city made a strong impression. I had no idea that San Francisco is so flowery this time of year. And the Academy of Sciences is amazing.

  38. What a lovely post and such an interesting trip thanks for sharing it with your blogging friends.

  39. What a great tour of San Fran! That's quite the view. And the CAS looks like a fantastic place to visit. I'll have to go if I ever get the chance!!

  40. I really enjoyed this post, I lived in San Francisco for 22 years. The GG Park Tea Garden was (is) one of my favorite places! I'll ID the bird for you, its a scrub jay. Cheers! Anne

  41. p.s. The purple flowers without a name are Cineraria... so fun to see the plants!


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