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Laura Hartman, with the architectural firm of Fernau & Hartman, talks about the Center for Sustainable Gardening, and offers her vision of what sustainable gardening might look like.

Nursery: Center for Sustainable Gardening

The proposed Nursery: Center for Sustainable Gardening (CSG) at San Francisco Botanical Garden will replace the existing rundown, temporary nursery facilities that were built in the 1960's in the coldest part of the Garden. A new highly-efficient building will enable both the Recreation and Park Department and Botanical Garden Society staff and volunteers to maintain and expand plant propagation and growing activities in a safe and improved work environment.

Center for Sustainable Gardening: view from the Learning Court

Artist rendering: a view from the Learning Court.

Targeted for LEED Platinum certification, the CSG will include a Headhouse (4,230 square feet of working space, staff meeting area, and restrooms for staff and the public), a Greenhouse (2,800 square feet), a Shadehouse (2,800 square feet), and an outdoor publicly accessible Learning Court. Key elements of the project include the Living Roof on the Headhouse, showcasing California native plants; photovoltaic panels for on-site energy generation; and an on-site stormwater management system that will capture stormwater and condensed fog from the Greenhouse and Shadehouse roofs and store the water in cisterns for future use in irrigating plants.

One of the CSG's most important features is its accessibility to Garden visitors.  The outdoor Learning Court, adjacent to the Headhouse and Greenhouse, will allow year-round visitors to learn about the sustainable operations of a working nursery facility in a major botanical garden. The scale of the CSG offers visitors a chance to observe the kind of sustainable architectural and operating systems that can be applied to a residential scale. The Learning Court's interpretive materials and small amphitheater space will provide an outdoor forum for classes and lectures and a gathering place for public tours. With its proximity to the existing and active Children's Garden, the outdoor Learning Court and public restrooms will also be a valuable resource for support of the youth education program, which presently serves approximately 10,000 children each year.

The aged existing nursery facility will be demolished, its materials salvaged and re-used where possible, and the site will be transformed into an extension of the California Native Garden. Adjacent to the site of the new CSG, the Garden will create new landscaping showcasing California native plants, including those of the coastal dunes.

On August 17, 2011, the San Francisco Planning Department issued the Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration (PMND) for the project in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This document thoroughly and conservatively analyzed the potential environmental impacts of the project, and concluded that with the implementation of certain mitigation measures, the project will have no significant environmental impacts.

Comments and questions about the CSG Project are welcomed and may also be sent directly to San Francisco Botanical Garden Society by email at

Please continue to check back for updates on the CSG project! 

SFBGS and San Francisco Recreation and Park Department San Francisco Botanical Garden's beauty and value as a major cultural resource are the result of a successful public/private partnership between San Francisco Botanical Garden Society and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.

ADMISSION  FREE for Members, SF Residents (with proof of residency) & School Groups | $8 Non-residents | Discounts for Seniors, Families & Children

LOCATED In Golden Gate Park, with entrances at the corner of Ninth Ave. at Lincoln Way (Main Gate) & at MLK Jr. Drive off the Music Concourse (Friend/North Gate) | Phone: (415) 661-1316 | Mail: 1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122-2370

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