Fresh from the Forge
Allison Carmody ‘17, Food and Dining Intern
What to escape the oppressive heat of the city in summer? Start exploring the many gardens of California. Our beautiful state houses gardens that are a walkable distance from campus and some that are road-trip worthy.
Start off your journey with a stop at the San Jose Japanese Friendship Garden. Located right next to San Jose State University, this Japanese Friendship Garden features multiple ponds, an abundance of koi and peaceful pathways. Bring a book for a relaxing and reflective morning at this lovely (and free!) local gem. Keeping with the theme, mosey on over to Hakone in Saratoga. Hakone is one of the oldest Japanese gardens in the Western Hemisphere...and it’s right in our backyard! Built in 1917, Hakone has transformed from a California hillside to one of the most tranquil destinations in the Bay. There are four main gardens and over fifteen acres of ponds, historic buildings, waterfalls and stone gardens. Hakone also features tea ceremonies, zen meditations and docent lead tours for all visitors.
If you find yourself yearning for a longer getaway, roadtrip up to wine country! But of course, not for the many wineries, but for a visit to the home and gardens of Luther Burbank, the famed horticulturist. Burbank hybridized 113 plums & prunes, 91 different ornamentals, and many other popular fruits and vegetables. Both his home, gardens and experimental farm are all open for touring. His experimental garden features the many success and flops of his career and offers visitors of all abilities to volunteer at the farm. The other site (his home) also houses a museum dedicated to the science and journey of Burbank's many horticultural breakthroughs, as well as a greenhouse staged just like Burbank himself would have used it.
On a weekend when you’re itching to go to the beach, take a side trip to the UCSC Farm & Gardens! After a morning playing in the waves and sun-bathing, cool off with a tour at the Farm. Offered each Sunday from 2 to 3:30 pm, docent-lead tours will bring you through the 30-acre Farm and 2-acre Garden, and are a great educational opportunity for master gardeners and light green thumbs, alike. Or if you are looking for a weekday wander, the Farm is open to the public daily 8 am to 6 pm. Stop by the campus on a Tuesday and Friday and you might catch their Market Cart, featuring the delicious organic produce grown on site!
Still can’t get enough? Take the short drive up to Berkeley and mender through Tilden Park. Tilden Park features activities for all ages, from a botanical garden to a merry-go-round to a wee steam train. The park district also operates an environmental educational center and native plant nursery, both of which are open to the public. Between the scenic trails, the views of the Bay and the exotic plants, Tilden Park is sure to make for an unforgettable adventure.
And if the concrete jungle is more your style, don’t fret! Curbed put together an interactive map of San Francisco’s secret gardens. Check one out every week for an endless summer activity that will bring to all of SF’s neighborhoods!