We had an appointment in San Francisco yesterday, and even though plants or photography weren’t on the agenda, I managed to snap a few photos on my daughter’s iPhone. While the image quality isn’t as good as my Canon DSLR, it’s still pretty decent considering this is a phone, not a camera.
View of San Francisco Bay from Pacific Heights. If you look closely, you can see Alcatraz on the right.
Walking to our appointment, I spotted these flowering aeoniums from half a block away.
These aeoniums look to be some hybrid involving ‘Zwartkop’, judging from the purple-tinged leaves. The inflorescences were stunning—as good as it gets.
The aeoniums in the next two photos are juveniles and will need another few years before reaching flowering size. (Aeoniums are monocarpic. This means that flowering is the end of the road for that particular rosette, but usually there are plenty of offsets to keep the clump going.)
Aren’t these metal containers great?
A couple of houses further I came across this planting. Judging from the metal containers, the homeowners must have used the same designer.
The size of these aeoniums was jaw-dropping.
But there was more: Agave attenuata, Senecio mandraliscae and some sort of Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias)…
…and my favorite leucadendron (Leucadendron ‘Jester’).
And then there was this:
I’m a sucker for metal cladding anyway, but the tillandsias take this wall to a whole new level.
The larger plants were wired in place, the smaller ones were just tucked in. I saw no irrigation setup, so the homeowners must rely on air moisture to keep these tillandsias alive—or else they spray them manually. (Fortunately, San Francisco gets quite a bit of fog.)
The last photo (below) is just a snap from the car and doesn’t have anything to do with aeoniums or tillandsias. But I loved the murals and the laundry hanging from many of the windows. Look closely, and you’ll see a lady hanging out clothes on the top-floor balcony.
Photo courtesy of Elena Bock
As modern and glitzy the new highrises along the waterfront are, many neighborhoods in San Francisco look like they’re stuck in time—and in another place.