I took this picture on a June 2007 trip to San Francisco. Crissy Field is on the Bay very near to Golden Gate Bridge (seen in the background). Apparently this saltwater wetland had been covered over to make way for an airfield sometime ago but has been recently resurrected and replanted with natives. I have no idea what the plant is in the foreground. There were lots of unknowns planted there. Visiting places like San Francisco is a humbling reminder of how many plants I don’t know and how much more is out there to discover.
That’s what makes these sorts of trips so fun! The first time I went to San Francisco in the mid 90s was the furthest trip I had ever taken from home and my first time in a southern climate. The plants all seemed so exotic and exciting. I teared up hugging palm trees. I ran around the city touching and smelling everything, marveling at the giant jades, monstrous geraniums and citrus trees. Before that trip it had never occurred to me that a common garden geranium could be so gnarly and wonderful unlike the sad little annuals people grow here. I was so excited to see everything and walk everywhere that I screwed up my knee going up and down all those steep hills and had to hobble around with a knee brace for my last few days there.
And it hasn’t changed really. I’ve been to a few southern climates now, San Francisco 4 times, and it never gets boring or repetitious. It’s always a thrill. I still tear up at the sight of a palm tree. And the same monster geraniums and giant jades are just as intoxicating as they were that first time.