Flower Power

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A Spring wander in the San Francisco Botanical Garden (the erstwhile Strybing Arboretum), in meso-American cloud forests, temperate Asian glades, and of course, among the California climactic natives. If you were an ancient Roman you might call it “Rus in Urbe,” but then again, you might not.

The seasonal highlights for May are the native California wildflowers and rhododendrons. Of special interest however, is the Cloud Forest, which represents plants from tropical latitudes but at high (over 5,000 ft) altitudes. A beautiful juxtaposition of tropical, succulent and alpine flora all intertwined. Extra points if you know what ‘epiphytes‘ are without clicking. At this point the best thing to do is to quote Shakesepeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (even though the Shakespeare Garden is elsewhere in the park):

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk roses and with eglantine.

In the midst of this peaceable idyll, I had the surprise of watching an elegant crane stab a mouse with its beak and promptly consume it for dinner. Observe the harsh cycle of nature in the edenic garden…

Sean Ketchem Avatar

About the author

I’m Sean Ketchem, living in Berlin with two passports, two cats, and a fascination for history and culture.

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