SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Botanical Garden is preparing to step into a new role of guarding the world’s plants from extinction with a $2 million gift to help fund a modern nursery, replacing a 50-year-old facility.
This challenge gift comes from longtime garden volunteer and Board Chair Delle Maxwell and her husband, Patrick Hanrahan. Of the $6.7M fundraising goal, $5.4M has already been committed. All contributions received by June 30, 2020 will be matched dollar for dollar.
“We are thrilled and grateful to receive this generous matching gift that will inspire others to support this critical project for the Garden’s future,” says Stephanie Linder, Executive Director, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society.
The new nursery will allow the Botanical Garden to nurture and exchange rare plants from around the globe with other botanical gardens, governments, and nonprofits with the goal of preserving these species and saving them from extinction.
The Garden worked with award-winning design firm Siegel & Strain to develop the new nursery and maintenance facility concept design. Scheduled for completion in Spring 2022, the new facility will be approximately 40,000 square feet including outdoor growing space, a climate-controlled greenhouse and sanitary areas for plant propagation. As an additional benefit from this consolidation, nearly 20,000 square feet in the current upper nursery will be re-purposed to house a new Afromontane collection.
Funding to date includes a contribution from the City of San Francisco through the Recreation and Park Department representing 22% of the total cost.
“As the Garden celebrates its 80th year and Golden Gate Park its 150th anniversary we must ensure future generations can enjoy, be inspired by, and learn about the rare and endangered plants in the Garden,” says Phil Ginsburg, General Manager, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
A functional nursery is critical to maintaining and growing a thriving living plant collection. Worldwide, botanical gardens play a crucial role in protecting the world’s plant biodiversity in the face of the extinction crisis. As habitats are destroyed, botanical gardens are working to conserve and protect species that may otherwise be lost forever by cultivating, documenting and sharing rare and iconic species.
The new nursery will lead to changes with the Garden’s popular plant sale program. Before construction begins, there will be a large spring plant sale on the weekend of May 2-3, 2020 and daily sales at the Plant Arbor beside the Bookstore inside the Main Entrance near 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way will continue indefinitely. Once complete, the new nursery will allow the Garden to better offer noteworthy plants that are not commercially available.