Fifty-five acre Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park provides a sanctuary for plants from around the world and place for city dwelling humans to relax in a variety of natural settings.
When the sanctuary theme was announced for the 2004 WWP Winter Solstice event I decided to use my newer equipment to update a panorama that I shot a few years ago on the Redwood Nature Trail
in the Mediterranean Climate Gardens of Strybing Arboretum. It's my favorite spot in the gardens and on a hot summer day a cool and quiet sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city. Unfortunately many of the bushes and other plants in that part of the garden lose their leaves in the winter making it visually obvious that the trail is really only a few yards from a busy street.
Not far away and at a slightly higher elevation plants from the Chiapas, Mexico cloud forest thrive in Strybing's New World Cloud Forest
. Costal fog lingers over Golden Gate Park during summer months making California's mediterranean climate quite similar to the cool mist and fog typical of the Chiapas, Mexico cloud forest.
New World Cloud forests, like rain forests at lower elevations in the tropics, are centers of biological diversity. Both rain forests and cloud forests are nurseries to new forms of life. Plants in the cloud forests are little-know and new species are still being discovered and catalogued. The pressures of humanity on cloud forests force many species into extinction.
Flowers bloom even in late December in this climate. Another New World Cloud Forest panorama I shot at about the same time as the one on the Redwood Nature Trail includes plants that flower in late spring and early summer.
California's mediterranean climate region is unusually rich with 4,300 species of plants, making it one of the worlds "biodiversity hotspots." Many plants from other mediterranean climate areas can be grown in California as well. Conservation of plants in Strybring Arboretum and Botanical Gardens helps to preserve this natural heritage for future generations.
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