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Treasures from San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum

Walking map showing the location of each of the plants illustrated in the watercolor paintings in the library
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.6 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview:  This is a mobile tour to complement the 'Treasures from San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum' exhibit, or a virtual... more »

Tips:  Wear your walking shoes and layers of clothing, and bring curiosity and a sense of adventure. This is a lovely way to visit the garden... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Monterey cypress

Cupressus macrocarpa, M McClaren© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
The Monterey cypress standing tall in the Great Meadow welcomes everyone who comes to the Arboretum, with its raised branches and its majesty. This tree is drawn by each of Mary’s students during their very first class to push us past our fears. In sun or fog the... More

2. Blue bamboo

Himalayacalamus hookerianus, K Townsend© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
For me, the enduring importance of art is to delight and surprise, and to enlarge my world. Art allows me to see and think in new ways, to make a dying leaf a universe, and a root a star.
When I was introduced to Blue bamboo for the first time in the... More

3. Magnolia

Magnolia stellata 'Waterlily', M Plovinac© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
The branches of Magnolia stellata in winter are bare and linear. I started my painting in January with a cutting that was dry, intricate and calligraphic. Later, I painted a second section, with the woody parts plumper and colorful buds emerging. Finally, a... More

4. Magnolia

Magnolia stellata 'Rosea', R Banish© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
Magnolia stellata ‘Rosea’ captured my attention in springtime. I was drawn to its plethora of pale blossoms – with petals dancing and drooping in all directions –against a bold, branching structure. I wanted to capture the lightness and energy of this particular ... More

5. Camellia

Camellia x williamsii 'George Blandford', K Young© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
I painted the Camellia x williamsii because this delicate pink flower reveals grace, innocence, beauty, femininity, and strength – all elements which I admire in women.

6. False cypress

Chamaecyparis funebris, J Boero© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
I was captivated by the somber, stooped form of Champaecyparis funebris in Bed 26C. Could its soulful demeanor be the result of its burdensome common names –False cypress, Chinese weeping cypress and Mourning cypress – or is it a much deeper and wiser calling? This... More

7. Plume poppy

Bocconia arborea, S Tarczy© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
As I wandered the Botanical Garden in search of a special specimen to paint, I became aware of the loveliness of the Boconnia arborea. I looked and looked, becoming aware of the fine beauty of the hanging clumps of tiny seed pods – which vary in color – the pale... More

8. Chinese magnolia

Magnolia doltsopa, J Kraft© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
Anything with a name as odd as doltsopa deserves a second look. This huge and gorgeous old tree produces masses of lively downward-growing blossoms in brilliant white. White is certainly a challenge to a watercolorist because the full spectrum of colors must be revealed... More

9. Maidenhair tree

Ginkgo biloba, J Alexander© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
Many years ago I was given a silver leaf pin with delicately etched veins radiating from the stem to the outer edge like a fan. I prized it but never considered the source for the design. Much later, walking under a canopy of street trees, I looked up to see a golden... More

10. Snakeskin bamboo

Phyllostachys nigra 'Bory', R O'Connell© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
Walking through the bamboo grove is a lovely experience. The path is narrow and cool, and many varieties are named – each unique – and the nearness of the bamboo creates a dense, green forest of slender canes. The structure of Snakeskin bamboo is very tall,... More

11. Cloud forest magnolia

Magnolia dealbata, A Turner© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
Walking on a grey, wet fall day in the Arboretum, I rounded the corner to the Meso American Cloud Forest, and there at my feet were several giant, magnificent leaves of the Magnolia dealbata dressed in their autumnal colors and waiting to be painted. Later that spring,... More

12. Coralberry

Ardisia venosa, M L Harden© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
I always stress that artists must fall in love with the plants they select in order to paint with passion. Hidden deep within the Meso American Cloud Forest, I discovered the Coralberry, and was struck by an eye-catching, huge, glowing mass of pink, red, coral, green,... More

13. Monkey hand tree

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon, M A Ho© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
When I took my first pen and ink class from Mary L. Harden I was given a dried Chiranthodendron pentadactylon flower to draw. I was fascinated by the complex details, especially the five-fingered stamen. I drew the flower from six or seven angles, and from... More

14. Dawn redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides, C Dellor© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
Metasequoia glyptostroboides is the botanical name I was most proud to learn in a plant identification class. It flows off the tongue. The tree itself has a beautiful, graceful appearance. I love that it is sort of an oxymoron: a deciduous conifer. I worried... More

15. Silk tassel bush

Garrya elliptica, L Luikart© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
This California native presented me with a glorious show of dripping strands of tiny pink flowers. In springtime, the Native Garden’s seven-foot tall plantings with dripping tassels appear like strands of pearls hanging from a wall of green foliage. This is a surprising ... More

16. Flannel bush

Fremontadendron 'California Glory', D Morrison© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
As a docent at the Bay Area’s Regional Parks Botanic Garden, I’m particularly interested in painting California native plants. Fremontodendron has long been one of my favorite native shrubs. The bright yellows, oranges and reds of the blossoms against ... More

17. Mexican hand tree

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon, M A Ho© 2011 All rights reserved

Maria's statement:
This tree is on the trail twice - this one is my favorite tree in the whole garden!

18. Anchor plant

Colletia paradoxa, M Hanley© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
A succulent of possibly unique shape, the leaves come in pairs at successive right angles, and each leaf is crowned with a substantial thorn, making it impossible to approach from any angle. When examined closely, it is a bizarre modern sculpture. When not examined... More

19. Chilean bellflower

Lapageria rosea, B Murov© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
The Lapageria rosea was a challenge to capture in watercolor because its rosy red flowers have a waxy quality. You must seek out these flowers hanging deep among twisted vines that climb over a large tree stump in the South American Garden.

20. Angel's trumpet

Brugmansia sanguinea, T Bartholomew© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
While looking for passion-flowers along the northern fence of the Arboretum, my eyes were inevitably drawn to the group of Brugmansia in the Andean Cloud Forest. The color of the flowers – with green merging into yellow and then into red – haunted me, and I knew... More

21. Lilly pilly tree

Syzygium smithii , N Cohrs© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
Who could resist a tree named “lilly pilly” or its joyful clusters of berries showing off in pinks, mauves and deep purple! Add its majestic presence and shimmering leaves, and I was hooked!

22. Old man banksia

Banksia serrata, Mary L Harden© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
I was inspired to paint the Old Man Banksia about five years ago when I came around a bend in the path in the Australian Garden to discover these extraordinary seed pods embedded in a profusion of hairy, dried stamens. It was a painter’s memorable moment.

23. Camellia

Camellia 'Notre Dame', D Boate© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
“Go find something that just blows you away,” said Mary L. Harden. Many explorations of the Arboretum later, Camellia ‘Notre Dame’ was looking down at me from high in the trees. The flowers with their voluptuous shape and luscious colors cried out, “Paint me.” Yes,... More

24. Protea

Protea 'Pink Ice', P Compton© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
My interest in botanical illustration was inspired by my love of gardening.
Observing and experimenting with drawing and painting plants puts me in touch with the miracle of growth, and provides me with endless visual patterns and forms to explore. The Fibonacci spiral ... More

25. Silver tree

Leucadendron argenteum, M Barr© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
Silver trees greet you throughout the Garden with a glimmer of bright, white light that catches your eye and draws your attention to its source. It is aptly named the Silver tree for the velvety silver-white leaves covered with tiny white hairs that reflect the light.... More

26. New Zealand tea tree

Leptospermum scoparium cv., P McIntyre© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
This is the plant that keeps on giving! In my garden and the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the tea tree brings joy throughout the year. Each season’s growth adds another layer of drama. When it seems that nothing else is in flower, you will find tiny tea... More

27. New Zealand Christmas tree

Metrosideros excelsa, L Cavanaugh© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
The minute I saw the crimson tendrils that distinguish the aerial roots descending gracefully from the branches of this gentle giant, I knew I needed to paint it. The challenge for me was figuring out how to convey the enormity of the tree while still showing the ... More

28. Monkey puzzle tree

Araucaria araucana, J Petersen© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
I love the challenge of the stiff, sharp, whirled Araucaria araucana leaves. As an accountant, I am intrinsically drawn to paint plants through mathematical sequencing, such as this amazing Fibonacci spiral of 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 13. I wanted to paint the story of the... More

29. Chilean rhubarb

Gunnera tinctoria, Y Goldman© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
How could you not love a huge Gunnera? The leaves are as big as a three-foot umbrella, and grow out of a swirled spring topknot! The gigantic, crinkled, dried leaves are veined, gnarled, and a wonderful inspiration for me to paint their exuberance. Dinosaurs would... More

30. Southern magnolia

Magnolia grandiflora, N Ballard@ 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
I have always loved the Magnolia, with its luscious, leathery leaves and magnificent white flowers. Grandiflora grabbed my attention with its hundreds of greens, and the brown undersides of the leaves, each more interesting than the next. This was a challenge to paint ... More

31. Rhododendron

Rhododendron 'John McLaren', J Mac© 2011 All rights reserved

Artist statement:
John McLaren called out to me and I saw the possibility of a love affair. A large bud looked like an artichoke sitting in a circle of lush green leaves. There was a speck of red peeking out of the bud that made me curious about the flower. After four days of... More