Wednesday, April 16, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

California rambling: Magnificent magnolias

By
From page A4 | January 07, 2013 | Leave Comment

One of California’s most distinctive and colorful shows of foliage is seen each winter at the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park, where nearly 100 rare and historical magnolias erupt in a fragrant riot of vibrant pink and white flowers.

This floral spectacle is worth planning a trip to San Francisco to see. Some of the ancient trees reach 80 feet in height and peak from mid-January through March. Visitors to the S.F. Botanical Garden can take advantage of free Magnolia Walk maps, docent-led tours, special signage and more to celebrate and learn about these magnificent trees.

In the United States, magnolias grow naturally from Virginia west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma.  It’s the state tree in Mississippi, though many more varieties of them flourish in California’s Mediterranean climate.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden is home to the most significant magnolia collection for conservation purposes outside China, where the majority of species originated. Its current collection includes 51 species and 33 cultivars, including many prized examples from Asia. The world’s 210 magnolia varieties come from southeast and east Asia, North America, Central America, the West Indies and South America.

Magnolias are among the world’s oldest flowering trees. Varieties are believed to have existed in North America as long as 95 million years ago. The genus is so old, it predates the appearance of bees, with early varieties adapting themselves to being pollinated by beetles.

The unique and longstanding collection of magnolias at the S.F. Botanical Garden began in 1939 when Eric Walther planted the first tree. He continued to introduce species and cultivars throughout his tenure as the garden’s first director. One of the most famous species Walther planted was the cup and saucer magnolia or Magnolia campbellii, the first of its kind to bloom in the United States (1940).  It attracted huge crowds of excited and curious visitors who stood in long lines to see its magnificent large pink blossoms. This lovely magnolia is still enjoyed, today.

San Francisco’s annual display of magnolia blossoms is best seen from mid-January to March. The S.F. Botanical Garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in January, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in February and early March, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from the second Sunday in March through April. Admission is free to San Francisco residents with proof of residence and $7 general, $5 seniors and students (12-17) with ID, $2 children (5-11) and free to kids 4 and under. Family passes (2 adults and one or more kids) get in for a flat rate of $15.  More about the show is found at sfbotanicalgarden.org or call 415-661-1316.

During winter, San Francisco can be misty and chilly, which adds drama to magnolia viewing and a reason to head indoors. On your hunt for San Francisco’s magnolias, include a stop to eat and refresh yourself at the Magnolia Pub and Brewery at 1398 Haight St. This bubbly brewery-slash-eatery celebrated its 15th anniversary in November. Try one of their house sausages ($14) with brewmaster Dave McLean’s Cole Porter or Proving Ground IPA, or a Prather Ranch heritage pork chop glazed with apple mustard and served with broccolini, dates and sweet potatoes ($22) accompanied by a Kalifornia Kolsch or Stout of Circumstance.  If you visit on a Tuesday, all beers are $3.  magnoliapub.com.

While in the Haight and in search of things “magnolian,” truly become a flower child by exploring the district that was home of flower children (hippies) during the summer of love in the late ‘60s. Living there, then, were the Grateful Dead (710 Ashbury), Janis Joplin and her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company (122 Lyon St.), and Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane (2400 Fulton). Along Haight Street, you can outfit yourself or your pad with flower power at Piedmont Boutique, Dreams of Kathmandu, and Positively Haight Street. Or, peruse glass pipes and incense holders at Pipe Dreams, the oldest head shop in a district that was once wafting with them.

Other floral destinations in Golden Gate Park, include the Conservatory of Flowers, a six-story-tall Victorian greenhouse that contains rare and exotic plants, the Dahlia Garden, the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden, the Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers, and the park’s Rose Garden.

Though most of these gardens are at peak in spring and summer, blooms still brighten a winter visit.  Further descriptions and directions are found at www.golden-gate-park.com.

Another mid-winter floral show not to miss is the cherry plum bloom in February. Though similarly lovely, these plum blossoms shouldn’t be confused with cherry blossoms that bloom at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park and at Japantown (Post and Buchanan Streets), in April. San Francisco’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival occurs there, April 13-14 and 20–21.

To plan a mid-winter getaway to experience San Francisco’s magnificent magnolias or to just release the flower child within you, visit, sanfrancisco.travel.

John Poimiroo of El Dorado Hills is a travel writer who specializes in California destinations.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    News

    EDH Fire Dept. annexing Latrobe

    By Noel Stack | From Page: A1, 9 Comments

     
    Motorcycle fatality in Greenwood

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

     
    Greenwood School being restored

    By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Cal Fire increasing staffing, hiring

    By Cal Fire | From Page: B1

     
    EID restricts watering days

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1, 13 Comments

    Lover’s Leap fall injures man

    By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A1

     
    Tea Party meeting April 17

    By Tea Party Patriots Of El Dorado Hills | From Page: A3, 73 Comments

     
    Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking May 1

    By El Dorado Hills Community Vision Coalition | From Page: A6

    Floating body not a body

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A7

     
    Old mill a goner

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A11, 18 Comments | Gallery

    .

    Letters

    Murder? Suicide?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 8 Comments

     
    ‘Drive Clean’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 23 Comments

    Middle class getting poorer?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 54 Comments

     
    Real estate lies

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 16 Comments

    A great big thanks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Sports

    Ponderosa volleyball is a family affair

    By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Aussie team makes visit

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A8

    Griz have challenging day

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Outside with Charlie: Switch gear

    By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A8

    Roundup: April 15, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    .

    Prospecting

    At a glance: Take aim on fun

    By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

     
    Men to walk a mile in her shoes

    By Center For Violence-Free Relationships | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Runners stampede for Sugarloaf scholarships

    By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Team works to fight disease

    By Placerville Kiwanis | From Page: B3

     
    COOL School is accepting applications

    By Rescue Union | From Page: B4

    Band of Miwoks fund mission

    By Shingle Springs Band Of Miwok Indians | From Page: B12

     
    .

    Essentials

    Crime Log: March 25-27

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

     
    Weather stats 4-15-14

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

    .

    Obituaries

    Numa Edward “Ed” Roberts

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Ronald Russell Rohrer

    By Contributor | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

    .

    Real Estate

    .

    Comics

    New York Times Crossword

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

     
    Tundra

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

    Horoscope, Thursday, April 17, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

     
    Horoscope, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

    TV Listings

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

     
    Sudoku

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

    Flying McCoys

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

     
    Speed Bump

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

    Working It Out

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

     
    Shoe

    By Contributor | From Page: A10

    Rubes

    By Contributor | From Page: A10