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Notes from a Plant Nut

Lisa Van CleefLisa Van Cleef's life mission is to spark a passion for plants in people. Like a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, Lisa sows the seeds that inspire curiosity and a love for the plant world. A long-time SFBG Nursery volunteer, she wrote the Green Gardener column for the SFGate, has worked with the Conservatory of Flowers and The Nature Conservancy. Today, she supports the Society's marketing efforts.

On the Right Path


Asia Discovery Garden Path
Asia Discovery Garden Path

Give a Brick

If you see construction workers hard at it, note that they're working on renovating the fountain plaza complete with a new tribute paver program. We'll be rolling this program out soon. Dedicate a brick to someone you love. It's a great gift idea.



New Pathways at SFBG
Library Courtyard path

It doesn't seem right for the Plant Nut to wax eloquent over asphalt, but the new pathways at the Botanical Garden are simply gorgeous. We have been redesigning and resurfacing our pathways to get you closer than ever to the collection and greatly improve the ADA accessibility throughout the garden. The results are fantastic. The massive project is completed and close to 70% of all our pathways have been improved.

Now, when you stroll though the Asia Discovery Garden, there's a great elevated walk that tucks you close into its unique treasures. There's a new cork screw-like twist in the South Africa Garden that makes arriving there much more fun.

And one of my favorite new paths is a graceful S shape that winds through the Southeast Asian Cloud Forest, which is under development. This path gives you a glimpse of just how neat this garden will be when finished.

One of my other favorite improvements is the pathways running through the Rhododendron Garden towards the new Mediterranean collection. The paths have dramatically improved your ability to get so very close to these splendid plants. Many of the Mediterranean plants are in bloom right now and look great. These are perfect garden plants for us as they can tolerate our long summer drought with only a little watering. Plus the silvery color of their foliage is so elegant and this adaptation is a constant reminder of how unusual and rare our climate is.

The lovely, wide path that circles the Great Meadow was also improved and what great timing. The salvias and cupheas in the Meso-American Cloud forest that borders this path are a riot of color and bloom right now. Absolutely spectacular. These plants are always near and dear to my heart. They come in incredible colors, are very low maintenance and thrive in Bay Area gardens.

Finally, don't miss the Library Garden on this same path. It's breathtaking right now with all the flowers in bloom. Honestly, walking the entire circular path around the Great Meadow should not be missed this month. Hopefully we'll be experiencing some sunshine and warmth. It's the perfect combination for circumambulating the meadow.


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