Monday, November 5, 2012

UC Santa Cruz Arboretum fall 2012: Australia

A few days ago I showed you photos from the South African Garden at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum. This post takes you to the Australian Garden and to Norrie’s, the Arboretum gift shop.

While there were plenty of blooming shrubs in the South African Garden, the Australian Garden wasn’t as colorful. Compared to this time last year, the banksias were still weeks from flowering and even the grevilleas were behind schedule, with the exceptions shown below.

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Grevillea ‘Austraflora Fanfare’. This is a low-growing groundcover grevillea that can spread to 15 ft. I planted one at our house along the sidewalk.

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Grevillea ‘Austraflora Fanfare’

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Grevillea lanigera ‘Coastal Gem’. Another groundcover grevillea, this one is taller than ‘Fanfare’ and blooms profusely.

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Grevillea lanigera ‘Coastal Gem’

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Grevillea ‘Boongala Spinebill’

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Grevillea ‘Boongala Spinebill’

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Grevillea ‘Boongala Spinebill’

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Grevillea ‘Boongala Spinebill’

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Grevillea ‘Red Hook’

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Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’

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Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’

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Grevillea ‘Moonlight’

Calistemons (aka bottlebrushes) are a fairly common sight around Davis, but I’d never seen one with such a pronounced weeping habit:

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Calistemon pachyphyllus ‘Viridis’

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Calistemon pachyphyllus ‘Viridis’

The only banksia flowers I could find were on this Banksia marginata. And even they were still in their early stages.

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Banksia marginata

But even without flowers Banksia marginata is an impressive sight with its otherworldly seed cones.

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Banksia marginata

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Banksia marginata

Here are some other interesting plants I spotted in the Australian Garden:

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Cordyline sp.

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Acacia podalyriifolia

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Acacia podalyriifolia, new growth sprouting from an old stump that’s been cut almost flush with the ground

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Unidentified Eucalyptus sp.

A visit to the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum would not be complete without a stop at Norrie’s, the small but well-stocked gift shop near the restrooms and parking lot. While my daughters were busy perusing Norrie’s selection of jewelry and gift items, I checked out the many unusual plants. Norrie’s is a great source for South African and Australian shrubs. I wish I had more room because most proteas, leucadendrons, grevilleas and banksias growly fairly large.

After much back and forth, I only bought one plant: a Tasmanian shrub that goes by the intriguing name of bushman’s bootlace (Pimelea nivea). It grows to 4 ft. and has very attractive foliage as well as small but beautiful flowers. (From the flowers, you might be able to tell that Pimelea is in the daphne family.)

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Featured plants

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More featured plants

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Silver tree (Leucadendron argenteum)

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Assorted leucadendrons

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Assorted grevilleas

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Assorted banksias

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Assorted salvias (foreground)

What I wouldn’t give for more space in our garden so I could grow more of these fascinating plants…

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6 comments:

  1. So many goodies in the plant sales area! I would have found it difficult to choose only a few. Despite both Oz and SA being in the southern hemisphere, notable difference in the amount of plants in bloom. Love the habit of Calistemon pachyphyllus ‘Viridis’

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    1. This fall has been warmer than usual, maybe that's the reason some winter bloomers are slower to get going?

      I didn't buy more plants at Norrie's because I still have a protea, grevillea and leucadendron left to plant. Once I've found spots for those, I'll be able to reassess. Plus, we're already planning another trip to Santa Cruz in late winter...

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  2. I love the Grevillea blooms! As for more room, why not plant one of these beauties, enjoy it for 4 or 5 years, then rip it out if you can't keep it behaving by pruning?

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    1. I actually planted a grevillea in the backyard earlier this year (a cultivar called 'Superb'). It's still small but it has put on a lot of growth and it's working on its first flower. Plus, I just planted a Grevillea 'Fanfare', a Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' and Protea susannae in the front yard. And I still have a Leucadendron lauroleaum 'Yellow Tulip' to plant. So it's not like I don't have any protaceae :-).

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  3. Yes I'm kind with Alan on this one. Why are you so intent on the future? Live for the moment man! (I just flashed you a piece sign but since this is only a bog comment you couldn't see it).

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    1. See my reply to Alan. It seems I *am* living for the moment. Peace out.

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