Monday, 5 April 2010

Seeds and another city, part 2

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Every front patch, alleyway, rooftop and roadside in San Francisco seems to be cultivated in some way. Even in the wonderfully named Dog Patch, a neighbourhood that is currently sitting somewhere in that post-industrial, pre-gentrification time zone, streets are tree-lined.
Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised in a city where Golden Gate Park, the biggest green space, was built out of Sand Dunes. Naysayers told its creator John McLaren that it couldn't be done. But with 100,000 tonnes of manure, and an equal volume of determination, he found the right plants and transformed a desert into the green heart of the city.
It's where San Franciscans spend their Sundays and at the Ocean Beach Chalet, the story of the big greening is told against the backdrop of some fabulous murals. But Golden Gate is not just a park. Yes, apart from all those big hippy events of the sixties, it's the location of the Botanical Gardens, Arboretum, tulip garden and the fabulous De Young Museum, which successfully brings together American Art, design and architecture, with sculpture gardens and a wonderful fern court pictured above. I love the way the collection of tree ferns splices the corten steel exterior of the building.
And the De Young offers one of the best views of the city from the roof. No better way to appreciate the greenness of the city than from on high.

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