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[Today a Month Ago] The Familiar and the Unfamiliar

December 17, 2014

There’s not much to say about this day – it was Monday, Cyan had to go to work, and I had to head out on my own. As much as I often worry about doing unfamiliar things, being in unfamiliar places, riding trains and buses is something that’s very familiar, and I decided to start this week of doing things by myself by doing something else that’s very familiar: going to a botanical garden.

I remember it took me a bit to get my bearings in Golden Gate Park, but I made it to the botanical garden, and then… well. Plants. Pictures. Too many pictures of plants. And so, so many plants I had never seen before. I’ll only post a tiny fraction of my pictures now, but I’m sure I’ll post more about it later on.

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Baby’s tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) growing in the cracks of a wall… here, it’s only to be found as a houseplant (one that I haven’t tried, because it seems like it wouldn’t deal very well with my irregular watering.)

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Staghorn fern, another plant I’ve never seen growing outdoors (and I rarely ever see them in this size).

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Okay, I admit, they are kind of cute… but European squirrels are still cuter.

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An unfamiliar palm tree and very familiar ivy… that picture feels very symbolic of the whole Bay Area for me, that odd combination of the familiar and the totally unfamiliar.

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In the beginning, I still went down every tiny little path – and it’s a big botanical garden! – but I evenually had to stop doing that, because I was running out of time (and also growing tired, and I’d run out of food).

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At one point, an older man asked me to take a picture of him with his huge camera… which, between me understanding neither his camera nor his accented English very well, was a little frustrating for both of us. He reminded me a lot of my father, with his bad English and his hair and beard. My father may have been a professional photographer, but I can’t remember him taking pictures outside of work since I was very small, so it can’t have been that. We talked a bit, about where we were from – he was from Vietnam, and when I said I was from Austria, I got the, “Oh, yes, I have friends in Sydney.” I should probably not find it this funny when people confuse Austria for Australia… but I find it very entertaining.

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Sometimes I just had to stop and go, “no, no, no, plants with daisy-like flowers can’t be trees! That’s just crazy!” All members of the daisy family I’d seen before – known of before – were herbaceous plants.

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Speaking of daisies… daisies and dandelions, like you’d find them in pretty much every lawn here, side by side with baby’s tears, which is, as I said, only to be found as a houseplant. Yes, I even got excited about weeds.

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Sparmannia africana. It’s always a little frustrating when you’re glad to have found a plant at an affordable price and then you just see it casually growing in the park, about fifteen times as high as your own…

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And how odd to see these familiar guys in Golden Gate Park…

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