Maybe you are looking for ideas and inspiration to landscape your own garden. Or maybe you just want to spend a few hours admiring the Bay Area bloom. Spring is the best time to visit these gardens — some large, some small and a few that are very unusual.
Allied Arts Guild – Features a number of gardens, including the Rose Allee, Court of Abundance and Garden of Delight. 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. 650-322-2405.
Bamboo Garden – Established in 1989, the two-acre garden features more than 70 varieties of bamboo, many not commonly seen in the U.S. Foothill College, El Monte Road (adjacent to Parking Lot 6), Los Altos Hills. 408-255-4085. .
Berkeley Rose Garden – Built in the 1930s, the garden features 3,000 rose bushes, showcasing 250 varieties. 1200 Euclid Ave., Berkeley. 510-981-6700.
Brazil Quarry Park – This four-acre park features a butterfly garden that was designed and built by students in an environmental education partnership among the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, the Mount Diablo School District and the City of Concord. End of Kent Way off Sutherland, Concord. 925-671-3000.
Candlestick Point State Recreation Area – Features an area for community gardens where people from the community can plant their own vegetables and flowers in individual garden plots, as well as a variety of flowers around the park, such as the California Golden Poppy.500 Hunters Point Expressway, San Francisco. 415-671-0145.
Conservatory of Flowers – The conservatory is a living museum of rare and beautiful tropical plants including palms, orchids, carnivorous planets and much more. Golden Gate Park, 100 John F. Kennedy Drive, San Francisco. 415-666-7001.
Crow Canyon Gardens – First planted in 1978 as a source of fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables for Mudd’s Restaurant, today the gardens offer a demonstration kitchen garden, group tour program, classes and community garden plots. Call or visit site for tour schedule. 160 Park Place (off Crow Canyon Road, behind Mudd’s Restaurant), San Ramon. 925-973-3287.
Dunsmuir House & Gardens – Fifty-acre estate featuring a 37-room Neoclassical Revival mansion, landscaped grounds and farm area with carriage house. Docent-led tours, Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (April-Sept.). 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland. 510-615-5555. .
Elizabeth Gamble Garden – This 2.5-acre property features a historic home, a carriage house, tea house and formal and demonstration gardens. 1431 Waverly St., Palo Alto. 650-329-1356.
Filoli – This 654-acre estate features a grand Georgian mansion that sits among 16 acres of gardens full of rare flowers, plants and trees that were built for prominent San Franciscans from 1915-1917. 86 Cañada Road, Woodside. 650-364-8300.
Friendship Garden – Designed by landscape architect Edwin Wood, the garden was planned for the enjoyment of those with disabilities and the general public alike. Harvey West Park, 326 Evergreen St., Santa Cruz. 831-420-5270.
The Gardens at Heather Farm – Established in 1968, the gardens are a living museum with a broad range of plants situated in more than 20 demonstration gardens and learning sites, such as the Cowden Rose Garden, Children’s Garden and Waterfall Garden. 1540 Marshbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. 925-947-1678.
Golden State Bonsai Garden – Features more than 100 bonsai trees and suiseki water stones, mostly by California artists. Lakeside Park, 666 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. 510-763-8409.
Guadalupe Gardens – Features The Garden Center horticultural library, Courtyard Garden and Taylor Street Rock Garden, Heritage Rose Garden and Historic Orchard. Guadalupe River Park, 438 Coleman Ave., San Jose. 408-298-7657.
Hakone Garden – Attractions include a koi pond, zen and tea gardens and a reproduction of a 19th century Kyoto tea merchant’s home and shop. 21000 Big Basin Way, Saratoga. 408-741-4994.
Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve – This 235-acre preserve features a year-round display of blossoming plants, many rare to the East Bay. Skyline Boulevard, just south of Elverton Drive, Oakland. 888-327-2757), option 3, ext. 4532.
Japanese Friendship Garden – Dedicated in 1965, the garden is patterned after the world famous Korakuen Park in Okayama, San Jose’s Sister City. Hours vary seasonally. Senter Road and East Alma Avenue, San Jose. 408-794-7275.
Japanese Gardens – These unique gardens combine traditional Japanese gardening principles with native California stone, rocks, trees and plants. 22373 N. Third St., Hayward. 510-881-6700.
Japanese Tea Garden – The oldest public Japanese garden in the United States, it features bridges, walks, ponds, pagodas, statuary, waterfalls and more. Golden Gate Park, 75 Hakiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Japanese Tea Garden – Considered one of the finest tea gardens in California, it features a granite pagoda, teahouse, lanterns, koi pond and bamboo groves. San Mateo Central Park, 50 E. Fifth Ave., San Mateo. 650-522-7490.
Lakeside Park – The garden center features a Japanese garden, koi pond, herb and flower gardens. The Gardens at Lake Merritt is a seven-acre collection of themed gardens, including the Golden State Bonsai Garden (see above.) Lakeside Park, 666 Bellevue Ave., Oakland.
Markham Regional Arboretum – This 17-acre arboretum features a number of educational display gardens, a rose garden, an herb garden and the International Garden where all trees, shrubs, perennials and vines are arranged by country or continent or origin. 1202 La Vista Ave., Concord. 925-681-2968.
Morcom Rose Garden – This seven-acre oasis, located one block off Grand Avenue, is a 1930’s-era formal rose garden with winding paths, stairways, water features and thousands of fragrant roses. 700 Jean St., Oakland. 510-238-2218.
Regional Parks Botanic Garden – Features the world’s most complete collection of California native plants, including rare and endangered species. Tilden Regional Park, Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive, Berkeley. 510-544-3169.
Ruth Bancroft Garden – Part of what was once the 400-acre Bancroft Farm bought in the 1880s, today the garden houses important collections of succulents including aloes, agaves, yuccas and echeverias, as well as many other plants. 1552 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek. 925-944-9352.
San Francisco Botanical Gardens at Strybing Arboretum – Features 55 acres landscaped gardens showcasing nearly 9,000 varieties of plants from around the world. Golden Gate Park, 1199 Ninth Ave., San Francisco. 415-661-1316.
San Jose Heritage Rose Garden – Features a collection of almost 5,000 plants of more than 3,000 plants of 2,800 varieties of heritage, modern and miniature roses. Guadalupe River Park, Spring and Taylor streets, San Jose. .
San Jose Municipal Rose Garden – This 5.5-acre garden features more than 4,000 rose shrubs of 189 varieties. Naglee and Dana avenues, San Jose. 408-793-5510.
University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley – This 34-acre living museum features one of the most diverse plant collections in the country and is famous for its large number of rare and endangered species. 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley. 510-643-2755.
Yerba Buena Gardens – Features a number of gardens, such as the Cho-En Butterfly Garden, The Esplanade, Sister City Gardens, Ohlone Indian Memorial and the Children’s Garden, with a popular playground. 750 Howard St., San Francisco. 415-820-3550.