A great place to visit and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

The beautiful view of the Bay from the rose garden.

The beautiful view of the Bay from the rose garden.

There’s a lot to be thankful for living in the San Francisco Bay area. Not only the beautiful scenery around every corner – bridges, parks, overlooks- but the weather as well. Right now I’m definitely thankful we’ve been having some pretty consistent rain storms. This Thanksgiving the forecast is projected as picture perfect, which I’m also thankful for. Although, I think by Saturday another storm is predicted to hit us so let’s make the most of Thursday and Friday. If black Friday shopping is not high on your list of to dos with your family and out of town guests – I want to share with you a little gem I discovered recently, even though it’s been located right in my back yard forever. It’s the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley!

 

The redwood forest

The redwood forest

I always love seeing water lillies

I always love seeing water lillies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently made a trip there with my mom and sister. We met there one afternoon because we all work close by and had all never been. I was completely surprised by the magnitude of the botanical garden, I had always just assumed it was a small university garden and boy was I wrong. There is so much to explore there, we didn’t even make it to all the gardens because it was the end of the day. The Botanical garden features a collection of plants from the Mediterranean, Asia, Southern Africa, South America, Australia, Mexico/Central America, Eastern North America, the New World Desert and California, not to mention several special collections including an arid house and a beautiful rose garden. It really is quite a collection of species.

 

The flowering Puya

The flowering Puya

I stepped back a little so you can see the whole height.

I stepped back a little so you can see the whole height.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One main reason we finally made it to the UC botanical garden is because they have a very special natural event happening right now, their Puya Raimondii, or Queen of the Andes, is blooming! The Puya raimondii is the largest bromeliad species in the world, classified as a terrestrial bromeliad because it has its roots in the soil. The flower stalk can reach upwards of 30 feet and produce over ten thousand flowers. After flowering and setting seeds, the plant will die. Flowering for these plants “in captivity” is very rare and typically they do not flower until they are about 80 – 100 years old. The Puya at the UC Botanical garden is a young 24 years old, so many are unsure why it is flowering so early, but they all exclaim it is a unique, possibly once in a lifetime experience to see. In fact blooms of a plant this young have never been recorded. It is truly a natural phenomenon occurring right here in our backyard!

 

So if you’re looking for something fun to do in this gorgeous California weather this Thanksgiving weekend consider a trip to the UC Botanical garden. There is so much to explore and definitely something for everyone to enjoy, especially the Puya Raimondii. The park is closed Thanksgiving day, but is back to regular operating hours Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, click here for some helpful hints in planning your trip!