Garden Hopping

Why give your lover a bouquet when you can give them an entire collection of rare and endangered…

My Weekend Sherpa:

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Why give your lover a bouquet when you can give them an entire collection of rare and endangered flora? How to do this: spend a day garden hopping around Golden Gate Park. You’ll have a lot of ground to cover, so ride your bike (or rent one from San Francisco Cyclery). Start by smelling the multicolored blossoms at Queen Wilhelmina Garden under the northern windmill, then catch the giant Magnolia campbelli right now in full pink and white bloom in the Moon-Viewing Garden in the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum. Next, get Zen-spired by soon-to-bud cherry trees and artfully pruned pines at the tranquil Japanese Tea Garden. Finally, climax your day at the Conservatory of Flowers. This Victorian postcard of a building—all glass and wood—houses the oldest greenhouse in the Western Hemisphere. Inside are 1700 different species, ranging from Jurassic-era cycads to six-foot-wide water lilies. Get all wet, wild, and steamy among the conservatory’s lush jungle greenery, dripping with waterfall spray. Just don’t get too carried away, Tarzan.

San Francisco Cyclery, 672 Stanyan St., 415-379-3870.

Golden Gate Park map and links

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