We've all heard the benefits of native plants – to name a few, they support native wildlife, use less water, and don't need much maintenance. While few city-dwellers have their own patch of green to cultivate these natural beauties, there is a very special place in the Presidio where you can get your hands-on gardening fix – the Presidio Nursery. No, you can't buy plants here. But you can acquire a great appreciation for the native species that can still be seen all around the Presidio though they have largely been lost to development in our built up city.
The Presidio Nursery was founded in 1995 and is run by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the Presidio Trust. The real stars of the show are the volunteers, who share thousands of hours each year to nurture young seedlings.
This "little greenhouse that could" grows up to 85,000 indigenous plants each year, which end up at restoration sites throughout the park. In addition, it grows many trees to support the park's reforestation effort, including about Monterey cypress, Coast live oak, Wax myrtle, and California buckeye.
The nursery consists of an educational garden and several buildings, including the Habitarium where volunteers meet, the Seed and Plant Lab where seeds collected from native plants in the park are stored and processed, and a Shade House where new seedlings go before they're planted at restoration sites.