This post is about finding an excuse to show some of the beautiful flowers that grow here in the spring. These were all flowers that were photographed growing on the side of the road, in shopping centers and gas stations and I never had to be invasive or get anyone’s permission to photograph. Nothing in Marin is free – except the views !!
It’s springtime in Marin County, and the countryside looks like a landscape painting come to life. With the lengthening of the days and comfortable temperatures, the abundance of flowering plants and shrubs are transformed from dormant into clusters of painterly color, splashed over the landscape.
I am not being disrespectful when I say Marin County could be called the “Promised Land” and the people who live here, the “Chosen People” — especially at this time of year.
There are shrubs in the neighborhood that I photograph more than once a year. I know them well as I observe how they go from dormant to tight buds, then open flowers, and finally, in the fall they change color again and drop their leaves. I watch them change with the seasons — especially now when change comes very quickly and I know exactly when to be ready to capture their spectacle with a photograph.
Delay by a day and I will miss them at their best – or perhaps it will rain overnight and in the morning all the petals will be lying on the ground. That’s too bad because it will take another year before they come back to their prime.
There are several microclimates creating a lot of diversity in what will grow. Seeing the variety, I think anything will grow here, from cold climate plants to exotic tropical fruit.
Marin has the perfect climate, never too hot and never too cold. It is mostly warm and sunny, much sunnier than San Francisco, with almost no fog. We “endure” a winter where temperatures are mostly in the sixties, with spikes of seventy while other parts of the country are digging out from under snow or warnings of ice on the roads.
The population that lives here enjoys the outdoors. They are health-conscious, and hiking is the number one outdoor activity, where people can enjoy the many hiking trails and open spaces filled with mature trees and an endless cascades of seasonal flowers.
The landscape is made up of undulating hills, with the ocean bordering the western edge of the horizon — and every aspect of the topography is beautiful. Most of the terrain is a maze of curving roads that follow the hills either up and down, or around, creating surprising views at every bend.
At weekends, large groups of cyclists from San Francisco arrive on the ferries that ply between Marin and the City to breathe the clean air and share the views. And the views are everywhere: try the harbor in Sausalito; on a clear day, everywhere between there and San Francisco in between is beauty.
Even though San Francisco and Marin County are separated by a short 30 minutes travel time, they could not be more different. San Francisco is a major metropolitan city with highrise buildings, a financial district, and urban landscapes; Marin County, by comparison, is more suburbia with low rise buildings and a slower pace. Climatically, San Francisco is colder than Marin County and has fog. Marin County enjoys more sun, no fog and warmer temperatures overall. Ten miles and they could not be more different!
GETTING TO MARIN COUNTY FROM SAN FRANCISCO
The Golden Gate Ferry leaves the Ferry Building Terminal on the Embarcadero at regular times. One route embarks at Larkspur Landing and the other at Sausalito. To get the departure and return schedule, go to www.goldengate.org.
Adults: $7.50 each way
Children 5 – 18 years $3.70 each way
Children under 5 years: free
The crossing takes about 30 minutes!
If you’re driving, use the 101 freeway from San Francisco, going north, and cross over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Shortly after the bridge, you will go through a tunnel and coming out the other side, you have arrived in Marin County. It will take about 30 minutes depending on the time of day.