Native California Gardens
One of the easiest conservation choices you can make is to select plants native to your region for your home garden. Native plants are adapted to the natural water cycle, which in California means a wet winter and a dry summer. Once established, California native gardens need little maintenance or water. Our native gardens can be found in front of the Connie and Bob Lurie Education Center building, at Greenie’s Conservation Corner and across from the Lion Fountain. Look for California poppies, yarrow, ceanothus and more.
One benefit of the Bay Area’s moderate climate is the huge variety of plants from other regions that can thrive in this area. This includes the many African plants that can be found around the Leanne B. Roberts African Savanna and Osher Giraffe Lodge. Stunning examples include many protea species, a common type of cut flower, that bloom large and bright, in a variety of shapes and colors. As you stroll around the savanna area, be sure to look for some of the amazing biodiversity and colorful blooms.
One of the newest additions to the Zoo’s gardens is the Prehistoric Garden across from the South American Tropical Building by the edge of the lake. This area is still being developed and will focus on ancient plant varieties that have survived for millions of years. Mosses, gunnera, horsetails and ferns have survived since the time of dinosaurs and continue to delight to this day.
It can be easy to forget that the Sunset District of San Francisco was once covered with sand dunes. Small shrubs and plants help anchor the dunes, preventing erosion and keeping the flowing sand in place. In our small dune garden near the Lion Fountain, you’ll find dune tansy, coyote brush, coast iris and beach strawberry.