From backyard labors-of-love casually tossing their scents and shadows onto neighborhood sidewalks to professionally cultivated affairs that are worth every penny spent to see them—there’s some sprouting satisfaction for you whether you are a casual bloom-gawker or a serious gardener.
Here are a few places in the Bay Area and beyond where you can find lush greens to celebrate the new spring season:
San Francisco Flower and Garden Show San Mateo, CA
If you have a great yard space and are looking for garden inspiration, this is the event for you. The show offers how-to sessions, innovative products, and all things green-themed for the green-thumbed. Wednesday, March 21, through Sunday, March 25. Click the link above for tickets and directions.
Daffodil Hill Volcano, CA
If you are lucky, one of the resident peacocks might fan by for a cameo appearance while you are sharpening your shutterbug talents among the over 300,000(!) blooms of Daffodil Hill. Patience, flower lover—as of this writing, Daffodil Hill is under snow. All signs point to a big bloom soon, though. The local Chamber of Commerce’s best guess for the bloom is the end of the first week in April. No entrance fee. Free parking. Before you buckle up the whole crew, call (209) 296-7048 to confirm that the park is open when you plan to visit. You’ll be rewarded with the cheeriest snapshots in your album and the kind of memories that come from beautiful afternoons with people you love.
Luther Burbank Home and Gardens Santa Rosa, CA
To protect the new fruits, vegetables, and flowers he cultivated, Luther Burbank locked his plant seeds in a safe, searched the pockets of his workers, and discouraged visitors. Now, the doors to his house, gardens, and a greenhouse are thrown open for the inquiring public during tour season, beginning this year on April 1. Take the docent-led tour to get the most out of your visit.
Until your own backyard garden springs to life, you can collect fruits and vegetables at pick-your-own farms across Northern California.
Bridges over sun-dappled creeks, adequately spooky trees, and stepping stones create a quiet, lovely place to reflect and be inspired if you are on your own or walking hand-in-hand with your partner. If, with the other hand, you are holding the sticky little paw of someone significantly smaller and decidedly less mellow, you also happen to be steps away from a child-friendly zoo and amusement park. For a small parking and entrance fee, the world is yours.
Some Bay Area plant-destinations are so well-known that locals only need to be reminded, usually by out-of-town guests, to make the annual effort to see and support them--Berkeley Rose Garden and San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers are two of the most-loved and most-visited.
Whether you find the perfect plant in your own backyard, across one bridge, or a day-trip away, have fun taking in the beauty of our Northern California plants and flowers.
*For a list of Bay Area public gardens visit www.bayareagardens.org.