One of my most favorite things to do when I'm in San Francisco is to visit the Strybing Arboretum and Botanical gardens. Fascinating and beautiful plants from all around the world wait to be discovered.
Of course I always start my tour with a visit to the California section (The picture above shows some Clarkia, I've forgotten which).
While the wildflower season after the rain delights with Iris, poppies, and other colorful plants, the joys of fall (the time when the days get shorter) are more subtle. The summer-dormant meadow shows only a few spots of color.
At first glance, I could spot only poppies and Oenothera hookeri. This native evening primrose blooms for much of the year and "reseeds readily" -- making it less suitable for most home gardens, and a special treat when encountered elsewhere.
As I moved closer, the garden sprang to life. Birds everywhere. Lots of food in seeds and berries, and fewer people in this not so showy part of the garden. Butterflies and pollinators.
Here's someone perched on a blooming buckwheat.
And I'm sure the Asclepias fascicularis (narrow-leaf milkweed) was teeming with life, though I did not actually stop, being on lunch break from a class.
Also some beautiful fall color. A Redbud.
And a Mahonia.
But then I turned around to see a beautiful Manzanita.
In full bloom.
Sooo... Is it spring? Is it fall? No matter. The visit was delightful, and the California area has been significantly expanded since I last had a chance to stop by. Have a look yourself! It's still free (though donations are encouraged).
I finished my visit with some purchases at the excellent gift store an went back to class happy and refreshed.