Saturday, August 6, 2011

Road trip, Part I: Japanese Tea Garden and other sights in San Francisco

We just got back from a five-day family vacation to San Francisco, a brief stop in Santa Cruz and a few days in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Along the way, there were lots of beautiful sights to see, particularly the plant life. In today's post (number one of three), I wanted to show some of what we saw in San Francisco, CA.

This is the Palace of Fine Arts that we walked through on the way to the Exploratorium. The Palace of fine Arts was a small remnant of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a sprawling complex of buildings designed by architect Bernard R. Maybeck. The architecture of the Exposition was primarily inspired by Roman influences with some Greek aspects. The Exposition took several years to pull together and was a celebration of the completion of the Panama Canal and the resurrection of San Francisco as a city following the 1906 earthquake.

Having fun inside a 'visual' exhibit at the Exploratorium.

Walking back to our car from the Exploratorium. Again, inside the Place of Fine Arts. Beautiful.

Japantown, also known as Nihonmachi, was part of what was called the Western Addition, settled after 1855 and was the western break point of the fire caused by the 1906 Great Earthquake. Japanese immigrants arrived in San Francisco in the 1860's and originally settled mostly in areas south of Market Street and in Chinatown. Following the 1906 earthquake many Japanese immigrants and their children settled in what is now known as Japantown. Even after the internment of many Japanese-Americans following World War II and a massive redevelopment of the area starting in 1960, the neighborhood is a vibrant hub of Japanese culture in the heart of San Francisco. Pictured above is the five-story pagoda at Peace Plaza at the Japan Center Mall.

A beautifully manicured bonsai-style pine in Japantown's Peace Plaza.

The sun wasn't cooperating in this photo, but this was beautiful use of Bambusa tuldoides 'Punting Pole Bamboo' outside the Sundance Cinema at the Japantown Center Mall.

This was taken through a window (unfortunately) but inside the Sundance Cinema were several large running bamboo in the lobby (sorry couldn't get close enough to tell what they were).

Picturesque Japanese gardens at the Miyako Hotel at Post and Laguna Streets in San Francisco's Japantown.

Bamboo planted on the roof at Macy's at Union Square. This photo was taken from our hotel room on the 27th floor.

The next day, we took the N Line to Golden Gate Park. On the way to the Japanese Tea Garden, I found this unlabeled plant with a bluish fruit. Very pretty and unusual.

The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is a 'must-see' in my book for any gardener. This was my second visit to the garden and I got to spend alot more time there this time. For a little history on the garden, check out my previous post on the Japanese Tea Garden. Here are some photos of what I saw at the Japanese Tea Garden:

Near the entrance to the Japanese Tea Garden.

Large running bamboo near the entrance. I couldn't tell what the variety was from a distance.

This is the Tea House which is in operation and tea is served to visitors to the garden.

One of the many beautiful groves of bamboo at the garden. This looks like Phylostachys vivax to me.

There are dozens of Japanese Maples on the property, including some of the largest Green Japanese Maples I have ever seen creating huge, beautiful green canopies with graceful leaves.

Stone water feature near the gift shop. Behind it is a nice stand of Phylostachys aurea 'Golden Bamboo'.

This is a close-up of the 'Golden Bamboo' culm, probably the prettiest I have ever seen.

A high arching bridge. Climbing this is no easy chore.

One of the many miniature lakes in the garden. Some are stocked with Koi.

A pagoda that rest on top of the hill.

A stone pathway across a narrowing in the mini-lake.

The ornate rooftop of the entryway to the Japanese Tea Garden.

This is the Fraser Collection of dwarf trees planted on the hill in 1965. The trees were once the property of the Hagiwara family, who cared for the Tea Garden, from 1895 to 1942. The Hagiwara Family was interned during World War II and the trees were put under the care of landscape architect Samuel Newsom in 1942 and he later sold the collection to Dr. Hugh Fraser. Dr. Fraser's wife bequeathed the collection back to the Tea Garden upon her death.

More of the Fraser Dwarf Tree Collection.

This Zen Garden was designed in 1953 by Japanese landscape architect Nagao Sakurai. Zen gardens are full of symbolism using landscape features to create mountains, oceans and waterfalls. These gardens have spiritual significance and aid Buddhist monks in their search for enlightenment.

A Buddha statue in the Tea Garden. History on it is impressive. According to the website, "In 1949, the S. & G. Gump Company presented to the garden the very old and large bronze Buddha in memory of A. Livingston Gump, Alfred Gump and William Gump. It is located at the eastern end of the Long Bridge. It was cast in bronze on Honshu Island at Tajima, Japan in 1790; it weighs 3,000 pounds and is ten feet, eight inches high."

Finally, a hedged bamboo plant that reminds me of a dragon in its form. Speaks to the versatility of bamboo for sure.

Next stop in our journey was Santa Cruz, CA. I'll be posting our adventures there in the next week.


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1 comment:

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening! said...

Beautiful! I'll have to see this someday if I ever get back to the SF area.