Fort Mason Entrance Gardens
Franklin St. at Bay St.
Fort Mason, once an historic army post located at the edge of the San Francisco Bay, is the headquarters for both the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. It’s also a birding hotspot where you can see warblers, sapsuckers, orioles and sparrows within a small 100-yard radius.
You may know Fort Mason for its sterile lawns but Black Point is an historically significant natural area. Pacific Horticulture notes that, “From the days of the Ohlone, the east-facing cove was protected from the westerly winds blowing in through the Golden Gate. Within this shelter, a bay-oak woodland thrived. Plants in this community included California bay laurel (Umbellularia californica), coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), California buckeye (Aesculus californica) and Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii). Seen against the surrounding light gray coastal scrub and sand dunes, the dark green of the mostly evergreen trees on the bluff gave the site its name of Black Point.”
This tour, however, is primarily focused on the entrance to Fort Mason. Once a site for unhappy plum trees, the boulevard and side gardens have now been restored with local native plants. The area, once moribund, is teeming with life, hosting butterfly larva, indigenous bees and hummingbirds.
Featured plants: sticky monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiacus), common yarrow (Achillea millefolium), checker bloom (Sidalcea malviflora), pink-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum var. Glutinosum), silver lupine (Lupinus albifrons), blue blossom (Ceanothus sp.), sea thrift (Armeria maritima), seaside daisy (Erigeron glaucus), coast angelica (Angelica hendersonii)