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The Alcatraz Gardens

The Resurrection of Alcatraz Gardens

In the shadow of the infamous Alcatraz prison, a lesser-known story of resilience and revival unfolds. The gardens, once lovingly tended by families of the original Army post and later by prison guards, were abandoned after the prison’s closure in 1963. Over time, they fell into a state of neglect, becoming wildly overgrown and unrecognizable. However, after four decades of dormancy, these gardens are experiencing a renaissance, thanks to the combined efforts of dedicated individuals and the financial support of the Garden Conservancy and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

The once-neglected gardens had transformed into a dense, overgrown sanctuary, providing a nesting habitat for a variety of bird species. Today, these areas are being carefully preserved and protected, demonstrating a commitment to maintaining the island’s newfound biodiversity. Simultaneously, many of the original gardens are being meticulously restored to their former state, a testament to the island’s historical legacy.

As the overgrowth was cleared, workers made a remarkable discovery. Many of the original plants were still growing in their initial planting spots, some of which were over a century old. Among these were several heirloom rose hybrids, including the Bardou Job, a Welsh rose previously believed to be extinct. These plants have since been propagated, ensuring their survival for future generations.

Today, the gardens of Alcatraz are a vibrant tapestry of plant life. Various species of roses, succulents, and geraniums flourish alongside apple and fig trees. Sweet pea banks, meticulously maintained cutting flower gardens, and wildly overgrown areas of native grasses with blackberry and honeysuckle add to the island’s botanical diversity.

The revival of the Alcatraz gardens serves as a poignant reminder of nature’s resilience and the power of dedicated conservation efforts. It is a testament to the fact that even in the most unlikely places, life finds a way to thrive. The gardens now stand not only as a symbol of the island’s past but also as a beacon of hope for its future.

Wikipedia source:

Gardens planted by families of the original Army post, and later by families of the prison guards, fell into neglect after the prison closure in 1963. After 40 years, they are being restored by a paid staff member and many volunteers, thanks to funding by the Garden Conservancy and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. The untended gardens had become severely overgrown and had developed into a nesting habitat and sanctuary for numerous birds. Now, areas of bird habitat are being preserved and protected, while many of the gardens are being restored to their original state.

In clearing out the overgrowth, workers found that many of the original plants were growing where they had been planted – some more than 100 years ago. Numerous heirloom rose hybrids, including a Welsh rose (Bardou Job) that had been believed to be extinct, have been discovered and propagated. Many species of roses, [[succulents]], and [[geraniums]] are growing among apple and fig trees, banks of sweet peas, manicured gardens of cutting flowers, and wildly overgrown sections of native grasses with blackberry and honeysuckle.

Alcatraz Experience

Dare to visit Alcatraz Island

The terms and conditions of sale are as follows: Tickets are nominative and must be presented with an identity document when boarding. To ensure the best travel experience, it is recommended that you arrive at least 30 minutes before the ferry departs. The exclusive concessionaire for Alcatraz Island is the Hornblower Group. is owned and operated by tour operator Fabulous Operator Ltd. When you book tickets on, you ask to Fabulous Operator Ltd to purchase tickets from the Hornblower Group concessionaire at the regular price for you to travel to Alcatraz Island. The service you purchase on is booking tickets through the concessionaire Hornblower Group, charged as a commission. These commissions are already added to the price of tickets sold by the Hornblower Group. Please note that you have the option of purchasing Alcatraz Island tickets directly from the concessionaire, The Hornblower Group, without going through our ticket purchasing service at You can buy the tickets to Hornblower on this website. Please note that Fabulous Operator Ltd is not responsible for providing the ferry transport service. Fabulous Operator Ltd sells a ticket purchasing service allowing travelers access to Alcatraz Island. The conditions of use and safety rules on board the ferry are governed by the exclusive concessionaire, the Hornblower Group, and must be observed by all passengers. As a tour operator, it is essential for us to cover our operating expenses. Therefore, we retain a fee of ten dollars (10$) per ticket for cancellations. This retention helps us maintain the quality of our services and ensure an exceptional experience for all our customers. Cancellation must be made at least 72 hours before the scheduled date of your visit. If you fail to comply with this deadline, it will unfortunately not be possible to obtain a refund with the Hornblower Group . We encourage you to consider this condition when planning your visit.

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