Saturday, January 21, 2012

Train Time and Playland at the Conservatory


I just love trains….


I always come back to the conservatory of flowers during the holiday’s so I could visit the holiday train exhibit – its one of the pleasures of visiting San Francisco during the holidays. Isn’t is a great combination to have play trains and plants all under one roof?

I love that they used a lot of natural materials, mosses and live plants, even the structures are repurposed materials used to create the famous landmarks around the park and at the long gone Playland at Ocean Beach.




This years exhibit was geared towards the old Playland which originally was along the ocean front of San Francisco and had its heyday during the forties and fifties and ran all the way to the early 1970’s. The exhibit was a lot of fun seeing recreated parts of the ocean front and the huge cliff house along the edge of the cliffs.


A close up detail of the many trollies from the city going to Playland.




The ornate Cliff house, hugging the cliffs of the city and facing the expansive ocean beach into Playland. I love the miniature plants chosen to fit the sizing with the buildings and landscapes, here a variety of herbs, miniature evergreens, california natives and large tropical plants in the background used just for texture. Even the wonderful moss covering the fake earthen hillsides add realistic touches to this scene.




I never saw the large victorian Cliff House here, I think it burned down in 1907, just one year after the great earthquake of 1906. It must have been the place to visit while in San Francisco back then. The adjoining Sutro Baths were a popular destination point for locals and tourists alike.




As usual the place is packed with children coming to see the train exhibits and jostling to have fun at the toys and props that they can play and climb on.




How do you make this go, I’m sure this kid is wondering?




I love these special exhibits and am fortunate to see this when I visit during the holiday’s. Hope you enjoyed the visit also!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Conservatory of Flowers


During the holiday, when I’m visiting family in San Francisco, I always make it a habit to drop by the Conservatory of Flowers at Golden Gate park to see the seasonal displays and some of my favorite sections of the complex like the grand entry pavilion with its amazing glass entry (and it’s a nice toasty 80 degrees indoors)


I love seeing the new plantings that they change regularly. I couldn’t find a name plate for this gorgeous specimen – I’m guessing it might be some type of calathea or player plants native to the tropical Americas. Isn't the flower just dazzling, the scent is lightly flowered like a ginger.


Above, I spot the huge inflorescence from the bromeliad below is quite spectacular. I’m not familiar with this bromeliad, but it was quite a show-stopper.


Another exotic bloom, I could not locate the name plate for. I’m assuming it’s the spadix of an anthurium plant which I couldn’t even see in the thick jungle above


I love this fountain and the plants surrounding this huge stone pot. The vignettes of beautiful ferns, moss, little pink tillandsias (another guess), orchids and other miniature tropicals.


Its cymbidium season and the conservatory was filled with all different colors of my favorite orchids. Here, huge sprays of giant yellow spikes create a beautiful vignette in a quiet corner.



I enjoyed visiting and staying warm inside instead of being outdoors where it’s a brisk 39 degrees and cold grey skies. Its always nice to get a slice of paradise then the weather outside is the opposite.  What do you think, wasn’t this a great visit to the conservatory on such a cold day in the park?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Walk Through the Jungle



Deep into the wild and thick forests at Waa Waa, an unruly and almost untamed part of East Hawaii.  Even the roadway to this wilderness is pock-marked with deep potholes, water filled ponds collect everywhere and make it almost impossible to move along the muddy dirt road especially after a heavy rain.

It feels very magical here, like time has stood still for a very long time and you can almost imagine dinosaurs from a very long time ago actually living in this Jurassic Park like zone, even though that only happens in movies.




Amazing plants abound and grow way up in the tree canopy including this wild birds nest fern (Asplenium nidus), the leaves growing over five to six feet in length alone. I wish some were closer to the ground for me to bring back a plant for my garden, but these plants live way up in the trees hard for the plant collectors to reach.



Here is a longer shot of the fern high above the forest canopy and magically

it up by the shaft of light illuminating its beautiful leaves.


Large limbs or aerial roots drape from these large trees and are very solid as you can see

from a friend swinging here to test the strong roots.





Eventually we make it to the clearing at the end were deafening sounds of the ocean crashing

can be heard…we see the huge waves battering the coastline and throwing huge boulders onto the rough shoreline.  I took a shot of this imaginary piece symbol with the two rocks lit up the waves in the background.




This huge arch at the end of the rocky beach is the highlight of the hike, the waves are fierce and hurling huge sprays along the shoreline.









This was a wonderful and short hike, I’m glad this area is rarely traveled except for those who live in this area.



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