Sunday, November 8, 2009

Across the Golden Gate - Sausalito at Sunset

Echeveria species: A drought-tolerant, pass-along plant.
An octogenarian when we met, Dr. Herman Schwartz loved to walk through his Bolinas gardens giving visitors bits of succulent plants as he shared tales of plant collecting in Africa, the Americas, and Madagascar. The passionate plantsman's arrays of cacti, agaves, aloes & crassulas put on a brilliant flowering spectacle in the winter! Amid all the rarities, a Euphorbia greenhouse contained towering to tiny, spiny and spineless species: Countless plants that one could see nowhere else in the U.S. When Dr. Schwartz died not long ago, the Marin-Bolinas Botanical Gardens - as his renowned collections came to be known, were shuttered.

Golden Gate Bridge
View from the grounds of Cavallo Point Lodge, a new resort hotel within historic Fort Baker, Marin County.
San Francisco Bay
November is a great time to visit the city, although it's the rainy season, days are often dry and sunny.
Many summer days in San Francisco are cold & fog shrouded... yet each city neighborhood
has its own microclimate!
Cross the Golden Gate into Marin County and the weather shifts dramatically once you're away from the coast,
with crystalline blue skies, hot days , low humidity, and cool nights for sleeping.

View of the city from Sausalito.

Sausalito ... a ferry ride from San Francisco - often the only other town visited
by international tourists.
Intrepid travelers rent bikes and travel across the Golden Gate Bridge to explore the surrounding hillsides.


  1. Capturing the magic of our home area, Alice! Bittersweet to read the Bolinas tale.

  2. DP
    We are fortunate, indeed, to live in a beautiful area, even if we are awaiting 'the big one.' (That's earthquake, people!)

    Every time I look at one of the plants given to me by Dr Schwartz I feel sad - his passion was encompassing, and his spirit boundlessly generous.

  3. lovely post! san francisco has always been one of my favorite cities... especially for the food.
    i got turned onto succulent rosettes this summer. must be cool to see them growing in a natural habitat.

  4. It is good to have plants that remind us of people we knew and places we have visited.

  5. I'm sorry to hear that Dr. Schwartz is no longer. It's good you have reminders of him. Your photos of San Francisco are lovely. The Westringia is beautiful.

  6. love all those succulent rosette plants, I have yet to get them in my place as somehow they are rare & difficult to cultivate. How strange.

  7. Fond memories of the generous and always happy Dr. Schwartz.
    Many of his cuttings are growing well here in my Marin garden.

    I thought that his son David would take on the responsibility of the Bolinas Botanical Garden, sad that it didn't happen, but not surprising.

    Yes indeed, it was a spectacular crystal clear warm day driving across the bridge from Marin to the City and then back again.
    A great day for taking in the sights , sounds and gardens on either side of the bay !

  8. Great post!

    One day I hope to visit and enjoy all the fantastic sights and sounds.

    Thanks for sharing!


  9. Hi Alice, yayyy - three plants I have in my garden - the westringia, two of which unaccountably died this week, and rosemary, one specimen of which also died last week. Very odd because usually they are dependable and tough as anything and our drought season has only just started. Maybe that's the answer - we had a rainy spell recently and maybe they just died of shock at the unaccustomed moisture! The third is the aeonium or a variety of it - I keep it in a pot and it doesn't mind not being watered. btw I have awarded you a truth scrap award. cheers, catmint

  10. Beautiful post! San Francisco is such a great place. It is too bad we didn't go to Sausalito.... just have to go back :)

  11. S.F. is one of my favorite places to visit. Much of my family comes from there. The sights and smells of the city will stay with me forever.

  12. I would love one day to visit San Fransisco and hit Sausalito as well. From the Golden Gate bridge to the hilly streets and the wonderful gardens, I think I could spend weeks and weeks there. Thanks for showing a little bit of it to us. (Don't want to be there for the big one!)

  13. I have only been to San Fran once, (to my dismay), I really need to get back for a visit,
    Love the echeverias, I often cut them and use them in a flower arrangement, they last forever.

  14. Always a sad event when a garden is closed. Hopefully his collection is still maintained for that not to happen would be a travesty.

  15. Do you know what happened to Dr Schwartz's collection Alice? Very sad if it has been broken up but it seems he has left a legacy of plants with all his friends.

    Lovely to get a feel for what is growing in your own garden, after reading about all the places you visit. Yan

  16. I really need to make it to your side of the states. I can see why Sausilito would be frequented by international tourists. Lovely story about Dr. Schwartz. I hope his plants have divided and lived on...

  17. Wonderful post I am suddenly tempted to visit for some odd reason. heheh. You showed the area to great advantage.

  18. I want to visit so much now and I haven't the money, aarrghhhhh! We are trying to sell our house and holidays are a thing of dreams. Oh, it looks lovely. Get a petition going for that garden, you could be its carer!

  19. I invite you all to visit the Bay Area.... there's much to see. You won't be disappointed!

    Unfortunately, it was a tremendous let-down to learn that Dr. Schwartz's beloved, densely planted landscape & greenhouses filled to the hilt with rarities were not going to be preserved.

    Some specialists have been able to take specimens for care & propagation,
    but overall the doctor's dream of an educational botanical garden - one to be shared especially with children & school groups, as well as plant lovers from around the globe - ended with his passing.

  20. Thank you Alice! I love Sausalito! We try to visit it every time when we are in SF.
    I hope someone will take care of the Marin-Bolinas Botanical Gardens.

  21. What a tragedy when someone's productive life's work is allowed to slip away. To borrow from one of my countrywomen, we don't know what we've got till it's gone. Love the succulents, and wish they were hardy here. Rosemary, too; the scent is intoxicating, but I'm lucky to get one through the winter.

  22. I loved that echeveria. Your trip to Sausalito was fun to follow. The aeonium looks good. All friends here in my garden in LA. Being warmer here, they winter well outside.