| Bird Activity Almanac for Golden Gate Park
The flowers never stop blooming in Golden Gate Park, and the Gardeners never stop working. The entire park is a garden, created out of sand dunes by gardeners' hands.
San Francisco is one of the world's biodiversity hot spots. With very little frost and ample winter rain, there is always something growing, flowering, going to seed or coloring up. Different bioregions converge in San Francisco and many rare and exotic plants were planted in Golden Gate Park by generations of gardeners since the park was enacted and named in 1870.
The park is an important stop for many birds on their migration routes and there are many interesting resident birds as well. Keep an eye out for nesting, an ear open for singing and croaking and notice migrating birds resting, feeding and enjoying our climate. Hawks and herons are out during the day hunting for meals.
Although Golden Gate Park has beautiful destination gardens, the park was designed for folks to "get lost." There are interesting features, surprising plants, magnificent tree groves and sunny glades around the next bend on any trail. And did you know that there are ten lakes in Golden Gate Park?
Here are just a few hints on the park's blooming seasons:
Conservatory Valley's legendary floral displays, installed in October, begin to show their seasonal bloom of annual flowers planted as carpet beds intricate patterns. Across John F. Kennedy Drive from the Conservatory, you might not want to miss the Tree Fern Dell and hidden Lily Pond. Look for pink-hued Magnolias blooming here and there throughout the park and some Rhododendron surprises. The park is a feast of green as plants thrive in winter's growing season.
Plum trees are flowering throughout the park, Kurume azaleas are showing bright garnet in the Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory Valley's flower beds are in good color, and Rhododendrons beginning to pop throughout the park.
In the tree groves, the grass is emerald green. Long walks are fun in Golden Gate Park, with its gentle topography. You can still "feel" the rhythm of the graceful sand dunes underneath the planted park. The carpet beds in Conservatory Valley will be brilliant all spring until late April, possibly early May.
The spectacular cherry trees begin to display, with the single flowered varieties blooming in the picnic meadows first, followed by the bright doubles in April. Sit under a flowering tree in a meadow and let the petals fall over you. Japanese Tea Garden's cherry trees generally put on their show between March 15 and April 15. Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden is a popular destination. Tulips are expected to be in fine glory from March 15 through April 15. Spring flowering shrubs are blooming in the park throughout the spring season. One favorite is the fragrant blue or white Ceanothus (California lilac), a California native.
Don't miss the Tulip Garden, under the windmill at the west end. Ocean Beach and the Beach Chalet/Park Chalet Restaurants are near by. Check out the lovely perennial gardens near the restaurants for birds and butterflies. Shakespeare Garden's crab apple trees are in flower. Wander around the Rhododendron Dell to see what's blooming and to hear birds singing. Cypress trees' golden pollen can be seen shimmering through the dappled light and on the surface of the lakes.
The Rose Garden will be dazzling from mid-May through July. It is a great visit for the whole family and there is a picnic area to the west nearby, as well as a mysterious redwood grove to the east. Conservatory Valley's display flower beds are being changed over this month, so there will be no carpet beds in bloom until late June. The Fuchsia Garden nearby will continue in flower until November. Lots of trees and shrubs continue in bloom.
The Dahlia Garden will be in radiant color until October. A favorite with photographers and families. Enjoy the long days of summer with a picnic after work in one of the meadows.
Conservatory Valley delights the eye with full summer splendor. Catch views of Golden Gate Park, the Music Concourse and surrounding city hills from the deYoung Museum tower, which is always free.
Conservatory Valley's intricately patterned flower beds are at their most spectacular.
Is last month of the year to enjoy the flower beds at Conservatory Valley, although the floral clock and the plaque on the slope may last a bit longer. Look for Crinum lilies in the Tree Fern Dell across JFK Drive. The Rose Garden shows a flush of fresh flowers this month.
Fall colors go to orange shades with the Japanese Tea Garden's maples while Sycamores throughout the park turn a translucent gold. In Conservatory Valley, the Section's Gardening crew will be removing the annual plants from the flower beds and preparing to plant the young starts in the new designs.
The magnificent Gingko trees in the Japanese Tea Garden take their turn as they turn butter yellow midmonth and cover the ground in startling color.
Winter rains replenish the ground and the golden grass of summer is renewed in vibrant green everywhere.