Golden Gate Park (2/16/2022)

Today I went to the SFBG to see about the magnolias.

I’d seen them posting recently saying that “Full Peak” was now and would last 2-3 weeks. I’m not sure I’d agree with that assessment, but it’s PRETTY CLOSE. It looked like the white magnolias in particular were in FULL BLOOM. The pink magnolias along MLK had tons of gorgeous petals all over the ground along with many blooms. And, some pink ones in the middle were not quite there yet. But, it’s a great time to go. If you’re into magnolias.

I love them. They look so soft. And, the way they bloom, it’s like they’re never too similar to any others exactly. I believe I hit every single magnolia tree I know of. And, I think there were maybe just a couple that haven’t started blooming yet.

Also, maybe it was the sunshine. Or, maybe it was that heat wave. But, what a difference since my last visit on January 19th. I mean, I know it’s our preemptive spring already, but there were TONS blooming there aside from the magnolias! It was delightful to see.

Margery, I may have seen that bird you told me about! Looked an awful lot like what you shared with me. And, I still believe it’s an American Coot. Wish I had been able to see its feet, but all signs point to coot. I even saw the white bit under/at the tail. And, red eyes. So, that’s my official ID! Assuming it’s the same bird, that is…

I kind of wandered aimlessly between magnolia tree spots, taking a few newtome trails. Hard to believe I hadn’t been on them before, but I think some were recently made.

Of the non-magnolia flora that I saw, I spotted newtome violets! Ivy Leaved Violet. So cute! I think all violets I’ve met are just adorable. I thought maybe they were introduced rogues, since they were in a small patch at the edge of a trail with no sign for it. But, I later some them with a sign. So, they’re supposed to be there.

I fell in love with Cordyline Banksii ‘Electric Pink’ soon after. Those huge and striking hot pink and black leaves are to die for. I marveled at one of the large leaves, thinking the pattern would make fantastic pants. Or wallpaper. Nearby, I noticed a sign for Puriri. I know that tree! Couldn’t believe how big this one was! The couple I’ve seen in GGPark are on the “small tree” end of sizes. So neat to know they can get THAT BIG.

Saw some striking Turk’s Cap on my way to the magnolias in the middle. Ok, they’re in the Camelia Garden, to be specific. After admiring the partially bloomed magnolias there, I saw an Allen’s Hummingbird! Nice that they’re continuing to come back. Wish I’d been able to get a photo, but it would not sit still for longer than 3 seconds. Nope!

On my way out of the Camelia Garden, I spotted one cluster of Pacific Bleeding Hearts. Yay! Maybe more will be where I’ve seen them before, in the redwood grove…

I took my snack break at the Moon Viewing Garden. An Eastern Gray Squirrel seemed to have the whole place to itself. But, a Yellow-faced Bumblebee buzzed on by to also keep me company.

Hadn’t been above the Moon Viewing Garden in a while, so I checked it out and found two small flowers of note (newtome). One was charming Tuberous Comfrey. The other was a small yellow flower I’m not able to ID yet. No sign I could find near it. Always the case for flowers I’m interested in at the SFBG! Oh, and among all of it, a Bowl-and-Doily Spider (I think?) was hanging out peacefully.

Got to the redwood grove, and I first saw an old white mushroom peeking out from some ivy. Maybe Dark Dapperling? Didn’t think I’d come across any mushrooms! Right past it, I spotted something I definitely hadn’t seen before. What was it? A pitcher plant? No. California Dutchman’s Pipe! So cool! And, there were tons of them under the redwoods. Straight on, they look like they’re puckering up to kiss you. Two together look like booties. Love them!

Another cluster of Pacific Bleeding Hearts was there, as well as some blooming California Huckleberry, Redwood Sorrel, and Candy Flower. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that redwood grove with so many flowers at once.

Walked through the CA Native Garden, curious to see if any changes were there since my last visit. Not much! But, my favorite California Buckeye tree was in glorious green from all its new leaves. Show-off! Oh, and a couple Diplacus ‘Jelly Bean Fiesta Marigold’ flowers were in bloom. I’m not typically that much of a fan of cultivars, but I am partial to that one.

On my way to Temperate Asia, I noticed a four-petaled white flower and some small blue flowers that might be Omphalodes? It’s tough to ID flowers from the SFBG if they don’t have a sign and aren’t native. Not quite positive my ID apps will be able to help me there…

The Bamboo Pond is looking sadder than usual. Maybe it’s a tough job to clean or fix up? Tons of mosquitoes near it. After visiting the Dwarf Conifer Pond (like ya do), I spotted mushrooms! Velvet Foot! There were a variety of phases of them, so I feel like my iNat observation is SOLID. These looked different from the ones I’ve seen at Black Point Historic Gardens. The mature ones looked like fresh baked rolls or something.

Also near there, I saw a newtome dahlia. Merk Dahlia. They’re tiny! And, look nothing like dahlias! The pink magnolias over there are quite nice. Full Bloom, indeed.

I headed to my last spot, the magnolias near the main bathrooms. They were looking good! Just one tree that still has to catch up. Underneath, one Trailing Bellflower meekly greeted me. So nice to see it. It’s been a while!

I was back at the main entrance and still had 15ish minutes before closing time. So, I wandered my way to the friend gate to make my exit. A lush, pale pink Rosa ‘Distant Drums’ along the Garden of Fragrance beckoned me to smell it. Not very strong, but a lovely rose scent. Found a trail I didn’t recognize that led up the hill there. On my way up, spotted an old Deer Mushroom! It’s nice to know I can still see a mushroom here and there these days.

On my way back down, some bright orange Canary Island Foxglove was the last flower I took notice of before exiting. HOWEVER, just past the friend gate side exit door, two magnolia trees were very much in bloom. In particular, the Magnolia ‘Vulcan’ was such a deep shade of hot pink I don’t know how you couldn’t stop to take notice.

So, a very successful magnolia tour was had. Maybe “Peak Peak” will be in a week? They’re not all on the same schedule, so perhaps there’s no such thing as a “Peak Peak” there. I always wonder if they could have placed ALL the magnolia trees in the same place. The Magnolia Garden? Maybe it’d be too much to see all in one place? I fantasize such a place exists. It’d be breathtaking.

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