Best of the Bay 2011: BEST GARDEN VARIETY HISTORICAL HOTBED

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With rock walls made from the stones of a medieval monastery, gravel beds, and balmy southern exposure, the San Francisco Botanical Garden succulent garden is one of our favorite places to bask in the heat like a lizard. But even here, the storms of controversy gather. The rightful ownership of the wall rocks has been disputed for decades — they've changed hands from Spanish monks to the megalomaniacal William Randolph Hearst to the City of San Francisco to an abbey near Sacramento to their current scattered locations throughout Golden Gate Park. Whew! Talk about your rolling stones.

Ninth Ave. and Lincoln, Golden Gate Park, SF. (415) 661-1316, www.sfbotanicalgarden.org

Photo by Ben Hopfer