SF Conservatory of Flowers

 So...it was my birthday the other day. To be honest, I kind of hate my birthday. It makes me anxious and weird. I'm not sure why, something about all those people focusing their attention on me. I get birthday stage-fright. 

In liu of a crazy party, I decided to take a day trip to Golden Gate Parks' own Conservatory of flowers and enjoyed a lovely mellow afternoon and evening hanging out with my main squeeze.

Prior to heading to the Conservatory, we stopped in at Park Chow out in the Inner Sunset District for some lunch. I, of course, started with a prerequisite birthday mimosa and then we moved on to some delicious baked goat cheese caprese with almond bread. Holy shit. That's some good stuff. I was spooning cheese out of the dish and straight into my mouth by the time we ran out of bread to spread it on. We also got the mussels and some other stuff, but trust me, it was all about the cheese.

After lunch we took a leisurely stroll through the park on our way too the Conservatory, stopping to enjoy the scenery and for a couple of pictures here and there. I was wearing one of my favorite vintage dresses and some simple UO flats, paired with a vintage leather belt and purse. As usual, I was completely inappropriately dressed for the weather.

The Conservatory of Flowers is a beautiful Victorian greenhouse that was originally purchased for the estate of eccentric San Jose millionaire, James Lick. When Lick died in 1876 the unassembled green house was sold to a group of prominent San Franciscans, who donated it to the City of San Francisco and had it erected by the park commission in 1878. It is the oldest building in Golden Gate Park and the oldest municipal wooden conservatory remaining in the US.

Today the conservatory houses over 1,700 plants and, at only $7 a head for adults ($5 if your local, or  a mini person) it's something I can see myself doing again on a lazy afternoon.

 -Image Via: Wikipedia
-Image Via: Wikipedia

Outside, the facade of the rambling, Victorian-era greenhouse is almost blindingly white in the sun. Surrounded by gently sloping lawns and vibrant flower beds, it's beautifully picturesque nestled amongst the sweeping greenery of Golden Gate Park. Once inside you are enveloped in the lush warmth and the soft green light of a thousand plants coexisting a million miles from their natural habitats.

 There are four rooms, each designed specifically for certain plants based on their environments. High- and Low-Land Tropical Plants, Potted Plants, and Aquatic Plants. The Highland Tropics section is particularly notable for its renowned collection of high altitude orchids, which is one of the largest existing collections in the world.

The Special Exhibit while we were there was the Prehistoric Plants exhibit, hence the mighty T-Rex bursting through the roof in one of the exterior shots and the warning to not feed the dinosaurs. Always a temptation.

I loved spending time in the quiet of the Conservatory. It contrasted so sharply with the hustle and bustle of San Francisco that it seems like another world entirely. I plan on going back soon, because I am completely dissatisfied with this series of photos and want to try again at capturing the tranquility and vibrancy of that place.


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