While balcony container gardeners enjoy their small-space urban gardens, sometimes a few container plants on an apartment balcony above a busy street just isn’t peaceful enough. Balcony gardeners might not be able to have a peaceful, large garden, but there are public gardens and arboretums near every major city. Don’t just fawn over pictures of luxurious gardens, get out there and enjoy a day at a public garden! You may even bring some gardening inspiration home to your own balcony container garden.
If you live in or are visiting the San Francisco, Calif., area, why not visit the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers?
- Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Victorian greenhouse is the oldest wood and class conservatory in North America and is a historical landmark (it was built in 1878 for $30,000). It fell into disrepair and was restored for $25 million from 1999 to 2003.
- The Conservatory has a 60-foot-tall center dome that weighs 14.5 tons, and the 26,000-square-foot building has a total of 16,800 window panes weighing 25 tons.
- The Conservatory of Flowers is divided into five main exhibits housing 1,700 plant species. Displays include Special Exhibits, Potted Plants, Lowland Tropics, Highland Tropics and Aquatic Plants.
- The Highland Tropics gallery is a cool-temperature exhibit of mountain trees, ferns and orchids. The Conservatory of Flowers is only one of four institutions in the united States to display a Highland Tropics exhibit. The Lowland Tropics exhibit, on the other hand, is warm and steamy. This exhibit is home to the Conservatory’s oldest plants, including the 100-year-old giant Imperial Philodendron known as ‘Phil.’
- The Potted Plants Gallery at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers can serve as great inspiration for balcony container gardeners living in or visiting the Bay Area. Rare flowering plants grow out of colorful and unique containers, including an urn from San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, copper containers from India, Javanese palm pots and so much more.
- A corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum) bloomed in May 2005, which attracted more than 16,000 visitors. The flower, which smells like rotting flesh, to bloom. The flower can grow as high as 10 feet tall and reach a diameter of 4 feet. Sometimes these flowers never bloom, and if they do, the blooms only last for a few days.
- Before your visit, check the website to see what’s currently in bloom at the Conservatory of Flowers.
- The Conservatory of Flowers has five exhibit spaces that can be rented for special events, including weddings and other events.
- Visit the Conservatory of Flowers' website’s Upcoming Events section to see what special events are coming up, including workshops, theater performances, special exhibits and more.
San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers Quick Info
100 John F Kennedy Dr San Francisco, CA 94118
$7 adults, $5 for seniors, students with ID and children 12 to 17, $2 children 5 to 11 (San Francisco residents get reduced admission with proof of residency). Free admission on the first Tuesday of each month.
Open 10am to 4:30pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays except Memorial Day and Labor Day. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.