Dr Marm never without my Nikon!

Alcatraz Island Gardens


Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.   The purpose of our visit was to view the old prison and grounds.  For those planning a trip–tickets need to be purchased 7-10 days in advance, as they limit the number of visitors daily.  There are a few ferries that go to Alcatraz– be sure to book in advance if you are visiting.   


We arrived on a Sunday morning via the first Alcatraz Cruises Ferry, the ride is not long at all.   The island is part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and The National Park Service, for more information contact: www.parks.conservancy.org and www.nps.gov/goga respectively.   A Park Ranger welcomed us and gave the logistics–part of the welcome was an opportunity to attend a tour showcasing the Gardens of Alcatraz.  This is not a regular tour and involves access to areas of the park–otherwise off limits.  I previously posted pictures of the baby Seagulls and Snowy Egrets that were a highlight of the garden tour…now for the flora and fauna!   


The Gardens of Alcatraz are maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers and The Garden Conservancy– www.gardenconservancy.org  two docents led our tour.  The island is divided into seven specific garden areas.  Some gardens were maintained by officers and some prisoners.  Surprisingly–some prisoners had access to officer areas and gardened along side staff members and their families.  It was a privilege for prisoners to garden; some chose to stay on the island after their sentence was complete–need to do more research on that to provide names. Feel free to share your knowledge with me,  I tried to match some of the images with the relative area of Alcatraz they came from.  

Main Road Landscape   


                     Fire Engine Red   


                         Flowers dress up this old stump   


                          Veggies Anyone?   



Officers’ Row &  Warden’s House Areas   


                         Gardens growing inside previous homes!   


                       Beauty Within   


Cellhouse Slope   

A native flower from South America, Fuchsia ‘Rose of Castille’  


Another from South America, Fuchsia magellanica  


West Lawn and Toolshed Terraces   

From North Africa, Aeonium  

                         Seemed to be thriving –easy to care for 

West Side Prisoner Gardens  



   The prison yard is just above the covered hillside.   


What I realized as I have been working on this post is that I so would love to go back to Alcatraz–but only with the Garden Tour included!  Have been spoiled and thankful I was able to attend such a great behind the scenes tour.  Hats off and kudos to the fabulous volunteers that work tirelessly to maintain such lovely gardens.   Research is good–will be happy to ‘have’ to return:) 

Additional flowers from The Gardens of Alcatraz…enjoy! 





Close Up View




Poppies seemed to be in numerous spots on the island

Climate seems to agree




With so many baby Seagulls--there were numerous feathers!


Foggy and overcast--good for flowers!

Rich and Abundant

Still to come…images from within the walls and halls of Alcatraz Prison…





5 responses

  1. These are LOVELY images!!

    August 23, 2010 at 10:36 am

  2. A wonderful series of photographs! I did not know there were gardens at Alcatraz. They are all beautiful but my favorites are “Beauty Within”, “Veggies Anyone?” and “Rich and Abundant”. Thank you for sharing!

    August 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

  3. Kerry

    Hi Nice series great job shooting them. Beautiful gardens did not know that they still had maintained gardens ahh see I am not alone in that thought.

    August 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm

  4. Monica Beary

    I’m one of the volunteer gardeners — have been going to the island for past 3.5 yrs once a week — it’s a privilege to work in such a special location. These photos do a wonderful job of capturing the beauty of our restored gardens.

    August 27, 2010 at 1:52 am

    • Thank you for your dedication and commitment to restoring The Gardens of Alcatraz. I am honored and humbled by your comment. Look forward to returning to the amazing beauty of the gardens and learning more about the history and restoration. Please thank your volunteers for the countless hours you give, so others may enjoy. The gardens were an unexpected highlight of my visit to Alcatraz.

      August 28, 2010 at 4:41 am

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