Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Island of Rare Fruits and Trees

A Pleasure Island for Plant Nuts
Today we discovered a garden treasure in Fremont in a place that was so very unexpected. This garden is only a few miles from home.  It is on a peninsula, almost an island, in our local quarry lakes.  The garden, even in January, was full of bright colors, odd shapes, strange flowers, exotic plants, fruits, and a promise of free samples. Just the list of conifers takes up 8 pages. Wow.

I was as excited as Pinocchio when he first saw Pleasure Island, without the dire consequences (donkey ears) that Pinocchio's friends suffered.

Several years ago in 2007, The Cloudforest Gardener put together a list of plants in the garden. Eight years ago!!! Why have we never been here? We thought that we have visited most of the EBRPD parks.

We have ignored Quarry Lakes Regional park for many years, because we thought that it was just a park for swimming. HOWEVER, there's more to it than just swimming. There's a bald cypress swamp, a Master Gardener demonstration garden, a rare fruit grove, native plants, birds, views! We did make it to the demonstration garden once or twice, which is very nice. You ought to go see that, too.

Here are some pictures from the Rare Fruit Grove.

Looking North to South.
The portion of the Quarry Lakes map.
"Please sample" in many languages.
Garden Volunteers
Quarry Lakes Rare Fruit Grove
"Main Orchard Area"
"Subtropical Fruit and Tree Area"
"Macadamia Nuts"
My favorite fake buttered corn cob plant!
 One of the Banksia's?
Some kind of eucalyptus, I think.
I don't know what this is.
I was lured by the flashy colors,
but never made it to look up close.

What the heck is this plant?
Here is its flower. A reader says it is a Hong Kong Orchid Tree (Bauhinia blakeana) and indeed it is!
Lots of Canada geese, lots of goose poop. 
I hope the trees like it. 
A nice view of Mission Peak.

What funny sad flowers exploding from the ground.

I think that this is some cycad!

Some shaggy conifer.

This plant looked like it was mostly stem.
Some small leaves.

This is the spectacular flower on that almost leafless plant.
I can't even place it in a family.
What the heck is this plant?

How is it that we finally discovered this magic garden so close to home? It's all because of the Panama Pacific International Exposition centennial that is being celebrated this year.

Here's how it happened and any break in this set of links would have kept this dream island a mystery for a long time.
  • Some amount of sleepiness needed to be counteracted by coffee and rather than wait for the machine to warm up we decided to go to Devout Coffee in Niles. I was hoping that they still had the incredible Traderspoint Creamery egg nog cappucino even though egg nog season probably has ended. Sadly no eggnog cap, but still dynamite coffee.
  • Next, the choice of parks. I have spent countless hours looking for the defunct Eberly spur on the former Western Pacific line (connected to the PPIE story). Googled "western pacific eberly" and found this picture of "Western Pacific Trail looking SE towards Mission Peak, Quarry Lakes Regional Park". Put it on the to-do list to go check it out last week.
  • Decided we'd check out this Western Pacific Trail at Quarry Lakes. Pulled up the map and noticed something labeled "Rare Fruit Tree Grove" on the Quarry Lakes trail map. Rare fruits? Always game for rare fruits.
  • Headed out on Western Pacific trail and took the Isla Los Rancheros trail. OMG! It's a real pleasure island for plant nuts! I went bonkers! Parden my French, but "What the He** is that?". I got lots of photos :O)


  1. The purple flower with heart shape tree is a bauhinia blakeana or the Hong Kong orchid tree. It supposed to be fragrant and I grew up with that tree. Glad to know it would grow here in the Bay Area. I saw some in LA and San Diego.

    1. Glad to know what it is. I've updated the blog with the name. Thanks!