Thank you .. ‘Dirt du Jour’

for the glowing review! "Go ask Alice ... where all the best vineyard gardens are. She's an erudite charmer; you'll have fun!"

Historic Gardens

Spring Bloom - Gardens of Alcatraz

A spring tour of the Alcatraz gardens is revelatory, with brilliant, beautifully tended borders rising up amid breathtaking views of the San Francisco skyline, Angel Island, and the Tiburon Peninsula.

Aeonium bloom Chasmanthe Alcatraz Photo © Alice Joyce

Fuchsias - Heirloom Survivor Photo © Alice Joyce

Since 2003 when The Garden Conservancy became involved in the restoration of the island’s historic landscape, some 25,0000 work hours have been logged by staff and volunteers associated with the Conservancy’s Alcatraz Historic Gardens Project, in partnership with the National Park Service and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

Historic Gardens .. Amazon

Alcatraz Ruin Photo Copyright © Alice Joyce

Heirloom plants abound, survivors from the 1940s such as Fuchsia and AeoniumEchium, bearded iris and Centranthus ruber. A 330-ft long trough overflows with pelargoniums flowering in red and pink hues, melded with a bit of white.

Kenilworth Ivy Whitewashed Brick ALCATRAZ Photo © Alice Joyce

In 2004 work moved forward in an area known as Foundation #8. A handsome variegated Lavatera and Limonium grow here .. along with Kenilworth Ivy that has found a home in the whitewashed brick wall.

Whitewashed Brick Wall and Lavatera Photo © Alice Joyce

Docent tours of the Gardens are offered Friday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Those interested must take the 9 a.m. boat from Pier 33 in San Francisco. Alcatraz Cruises –  On Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. a docent is located in the garden at Officers’ Row for a talk and to answer questions.

Alcatrz Gardens Volunteer at Work Photo © Alice Joyce

View of Alcatraz from the Ferry Photo © Alice Joyce

3 comments to Spring Bloom – Gardens of Alcatraz

  • What lovely gardens. I had no idea….
    Next time I visit SF, I will make sure to visit these gardens.

  • Hi Noelle,
    You won’t be disappointed, although I’ve many more photos yet to share. I haven’t revealed the full scope of the restoration.

  • Hi Alice – Belatedly getting over here to your new site, very nice! I visited Alcatraz in the 90s and was stunned by the beauty of the gardens. I think it was a bit wilder then, but still so unexpected and lovely in such a harsh and foreboding place. This reminds me that I need to go back sometime! The boat ride and the gardens are a great way to spend an afternoon, and you can just skip the icky prison part! Cheers – Karen