Friday, January 14, 2011

A San Francisco Treat

On a cold and brisk January morning visiting Golden Gate park, I found the perfect venue to while away a few hours and wait for the outside weather to warm up a bit.

Every Christmas until mid-January, the conservatory of flowers creates a spectacular display of a miniature San Francisco complete with model trains running through an entire wing of the conservatory. All the buildings are built thoughfully with used or recyled materials to mimic famous local landmarks and the landscapes complement the various sites with well chosen hardscaping, foliage plants and flowers to create a magical display for all to enjoy.


Miniature flowers on display including kalanchoes, petite roses and heather/ericas punctuate the landscape with hot bursts of colors.


This cable car traverses a canyon filled with ericas in full bloom, quite a specular combination that works so well with the diorama.

Miniature foliage plants and baby shrubs like this asparagus fern, lichens and topiaried evergreens add realistic green elements, here the scene shows a small replica model of Stowe lake in Golden Gate park.

Children just filled up the entire wing of the conservatory, completely mesmerized by all the frenetic action of the trains and the colorful models and landscape. I think this boy really wants to go for an adventure ride and is intent on finding the conductor inside the caboose.

Beautiful buildings made completely with recycled materials like the ferry building created with forks, spoons, a cheese grater and oven knob, there's always a use for recycled kitchen tools here. The main San Francisco Ferry sign is ingeniously made with scrabble squares sitting on top of the roof building.


The combinations of plant materials, textures and scale of plants is tastefully chosen to fit the correct scale of the trains and hidden areas like tunnels create a magical dissapearing and reappearing act.

Even famous landmarks in Golden Gate park are depicted like the De Young Museum and the Natural Science Museum below. Next to it is the one of the tall pagodas designating the Japanese Tea garden with some real bonsai trees.

Even the bison pens showcasing the herd of bisons in the park are on display.

I hope you enjoyed the miniature tour of San Francisco in January, it looks like everyone had a good time.

This is my contribution to garden bloggers bloom day for January 2011, to visit other exciting gardens go to


ks said...

Well shucks, wish I'd known about this ! Next year...

fer said...

Very beautiful! I will keep it on mind if I ever go there

Kathy said...

Rice-a-roni the San Francisco treat! Ha. Old ad jingle that popped into my head. I don't even eat the stuff. Seriously, this was a treat. Incredible detail. I would like to add a little miniature somewhere in my garden - now that I am so inspired. Here in the Northeast, fairy houses are common.

Liza said...

That's just cool! Thanks for sharing.

dorothy said...

Thanks for posting your pics of the arboretum at Golden Gate Park. We visited the DeYoung in Nov to see the Van Gogh exhibit and wanted to go to the arboretum but it was closing for the day. We haven't seen it since it was repaired in 2003. After seeing your photos, we must definietely plan a trip soon!

Cat said...

Such a beautiful arboretum - sometimes I miss living in a big city (grew up in DC) as here in such a small town we don't have anything like this...a good reason to visit San Fransisco again though!

Anonymous said...

This was such an interesting display. I am going to pass on your URL to a friend of mine who has a train garden. They will love this.

Cyndy said...

Noel, that is such an amazing installation! Thanks for some fabulous photos for those who can't visit.

Dorothy Borders said...

Beautiful pictures as always, Noel. Makes me want to jump on a plane for San Francisco.

garden girl said...

Wow - that's wonderful!

I love train gardens. My grandson loves trains - he'd be awed!

p3chandan said...

Wow!What a fantastic garden.I love all the blooming flowers, the train and the miniature buildings in a beutiful display! Thank you for sharing this great place with us.Happy Bloom Day!

One said...

I love those miniatures. Are those bisons? They are so cute. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. Nice to know you have visited Kuala Selangor. We aren't that far away and yet this is the first time for my family.

Rebecca said...

My two favorite vacations were to San Fransisco and Maui! Thanks for sharing these photos--they bring back wonderful memories!

Byddi - We didn't come here for the grass... said...

Wow - that looks great. I'll have to go have a look. Thanks for sharing. I love model towns and railways, so cute!

Wally said...

That's gorgeous!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the wonderful photos of the Conservatory of Flowers Garden Railway. The exhibit continues through March 13, 2011 with periodic floral changes. This year's exhibit celebrates the 140th anniversary of Golden Gate Park. Our hours are 10 - 4:30 with the last ticket sold at 4 pm. We are closed to the public on Mondays.
Please visit and enjoy the railway!

Jane Scurich
Director of Development
Conservatory of Flowers
100 John F Kennedy Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
phone 415-831-2093 fax 415-666-7257
Twitter: SFConservatory

Connecting people and plants in a place of exceptional beauty

Matti said...

Okay, this exhibit is (seriously) more awesome than I was guessing. Your pics sold me, and now knowing we haven't missed it...we are going to check it out. Thanks Noel! Matti

Anonymous said...

This really was a treat! What luscious photos!

Bom said...

Thanks for sharing this Noel. Another place that I must add to my list of must visit places. I'm sure both my children will be fascinated by the trains and the mini city. That will leave me more time to check out the plants. :-D

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