Plants from South Africa were being sold to Northern California around the Gold Rush days. Since then, many South African plants became available to California gardeners. These plants are drought tolerant and an excellent choice for California gardens.
The South Africa garden at the San Francisco Botanical Garden was designed and planted in 1985. The Western facing slope and three planting beds are separated by paths and waist high retaining walls. The walls retain the heat of the sun and transfer that heat to the beds behind them. Benches that reside along that path provide protection from the wind.
South Africa has a similar climate to San Francisco which has dry Summers and mild wet Winters which is why these exotic beauties do so well in the garden. These plants are able to survive long dry rain free Summers. This particular garden area displays how well these plants can not only survive but thrive in San Francisco.
The South African garden area is one of my favorites. Let's take a walk through the area and I will show you some of these gorgeous plants.
Protea Cynaroides (King Protea) South Africa National Flower
The Protea Cynaroides also known as King Protea is the National flower of South Africa and in bloom at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. These blooms can measure up to ten inches in diameter and are comprised of hundreds of individual flowers surrounded by vivid colorful leaves or bracts as you can see in the photos.
The "Lily of the Nile" is known as the African lily. They are in bloom at the San Francisco Botanical garden. Their while and purple or blue colored blooms are just stunning and grace the garden with beautiful color all year long.
Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) Bud
The sugar bush protea is one of my favorite flowers in the garden. It can grow up to ten feet tall and is very popular with our feathered friends as it once was used as a sweetener for coffee and tea. If you come across this beauty during the late afternoon or early morning hours with the sun hitting the leaves just at the right moment, it displays a glow of light that is just gorgeous.
The Protea genus was named after the Greek God Proteus who was known for his ability to change his colors and shape. The few displayed here are the perfect example of the exotic nature of these flowering plants. This is just a small display of what the San Francisco Botanical Garden houses all year round.
I am participating in Macro Monday 2