The Best San Francisco Garden You’ve (Maybe) Never Heard of

And its unique flowers are still in bloom… albeit not for very much longer.

San Francisco is a bastion for public green spaces and community gardens. In the 49-square-mile city, there are no less than 42 City-owned shared gardens — a figure that’s continuing to grow. And there are another 100-plus community gardens in San Francisco that aren’t on City-purchased land.

It’s easy to overlook some of SF’s more obscure, less ornamental garden beds. Coincidentally enough, arguably San Francisco’s best small public garden is right outside the City’s oldest. Shouldering the Conservatory of Flowers sits the San Francisco Dahlia Garden… where an estimated thousand dahlia blossoms color an area that’s just a short walk past the greenhouse at 100 John F Kennedy Drive.

Created in 1940, the San Francisco Dahlia Garden was the result of a collaboration with former park superintendent John Malaren and director Richard Eddy — the organizing idea being a place to cultivate dahlia species from all around the world. The flower species, which was first located in Mexico and has been the official City flower of San Francisco since 1926, thrives in SF’s temperate climate; it’s that reason alone why dahlia inside Golden Gate Park can bloom well into summer months.

In fact, you can still see these global flora in bloom right now. (You can thank our unusually wet year yet mild temperatures as of late for their extended blossoming.)

Who maintains the garden, you ask? Local volunteer members of the Dahlia Society of California; the organization also asserts that SF’s flowers have a distinct “gayety and color” that, per the collective’s own words, no other metro in the country can duplicate — “[San Francisco’s Dahlia] like our artists and poets, carry color and beauty into far climes.”

In this current junction when conservative media outlets are obsessed with SF’s doom loop narrative, which is, ironically enough, quickly evolving into more of a Phoenix rising story arch, it’s evergreen, hyperlocal nuggets like these that remind us all we should wax thankful we live in such a spellbinding place.

Now, go and (literally) smell the flowers (with an air of responsibility). 

Feature image: Courtesy of Reddit via u/Potential-Web-2384

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