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Portola Garden Tour



Tour the hidden gardens of SE San Francisco

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The Portola has been celebrating the Portolas private and public gardens since 2006 and the neighborhood was officially designated as San Franciscos Garden District in 2016. Covid-19 restrictions necessitated a truncated tour in 2020, but it will resume its signature hidden gardens tour this year, following San Francisco city guidelines. This years Portola Garden Tour features 20 gardens. In addition to neighborhood favorites, there are new gardens that have been created by gardeners enjoying their outdoor space during the Covid-19 at-home-orders.

The Portola boasts of a willingness to share backyard gardens that are not visible from street view and a generous spirit. With the remnants of a true blue-collar neighborhood, it is a draw for families hoping to retain urban living in a relaxed setting. The Portola has the added wholesome charm of growing ones own food, having a yard big enough for the kids to play or for the dog to romp while enjoying the vistas of San Francisco, McLaren Park, the Bay and the Pacific, from a mostly undiscovered angle.

The annual Portola garden tour is a great way for residents in The Portola to give back to their community as well as get to know their neighbors, and for people who live in other areas of San Francisco and beyond to discover this wonderful enclave. To date, the Portola Garden District Scholarship, the beneficiary of the tours fundraising, has awarded 25 scholarships and seven work projects in the Portola to students in the Environmental Horticulture and Floristry Department at City College of San Francisco.

Gardens featured in this years tour have the advantage of more on-site care than in previous years given the amount of time the gardeners have had at home due to the pandemic. One has been completely revamped to provide more outdoor recreational space for children and family, another has given the gardeners an opportunity to extend their outdoor space and take advantage of city views. Many of the others have become more prolific fruit, vegetable growers and added egg production for the families that tend to them.

Once home to flower-growing enterprises and farms, The Portola is San Franciscos Garden District. With its high level of homeownership, southern exposure, and diverse population of newcomers and old-timers, the neighborhood has redefined itself. The Portola is one of The Citys most diverse neighborhoods with a rich history. Maltese, Italian and Jewish immigrant families settled in The Portola in the late-19th century, followed by African-American shipbuilders who moved to San Francisco from the south during World War II. In the decades since, Latinos, Filipinos, Chinese, Vietnamese and others have planted roots in The Portola, a neighborhood that welcomes all.

Roughly bordered by Silver Avenue to the north, Mansell Street to the south, San Bruno Avenue to the east and McLaren Park to the west, The Portola is one of the last undiscovered, affordable sections of San Francisco. Young families, as well as long-time San Franciscans, are finding it an attractive and convenient place to live. Many of the homes have large yards — by San Francisco standards; bay and city views; and nice weather. Added to those factors is the emerging green movement, heralded by City Hall and embraced in the southeastern quadrant.

The Portola Garden Tour began in 2007 as a fund-raiser for the Portola Branch Library at Goettingen and Bacon streets. When the library opened in 2009, the community decided to continue the popular event as a fundraiser, and created The Portola Garden Scholarship at City College San Francisco for Environmental Horticulture and Floristry Department students. The first scholarship was awarded in 2010 and has grown to two or more per year and pays for work projects in The Portola that employ City College students. Donations to the Portola Garden District Scholarship can be made directly by check to Portola Garden District Scholarship: CCSF, c/o Steven Brown EF/H, 50 Frida Kahlo Way, San Francisco, CA 94112.

Event Details

Date: 09/25/2021

Start time: 10:00

End time: 15:00

Venue: To be announced

Address: To be announced, San Francisco, CA, 94134

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