Monday, November 25, 2013

UC Davis Arboretum Australian Collection

The weather was particularly beautiful this past Sunday. On such a glorious fall day—blue sky and warm sunshine—staying inside would have been a crime so I decided to go for a walk at the UC Davis Arboretum. This time I started at the downtown end of the Arboretum, and the first section you come to is the Australian Collection.

While not as extensive or diverse as the Australian Garden at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum (see 1 and 2), it still showcases many iconic plants from down under that thrive in our zone 9b climate. (Santa Cruz has milder winters than Davis, allowing the Arboretum there to grow tender plants that wouldn’t survive here.)

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The UC Davis Arboretum has 39 different species of eucalyptus. Some are still juvenile, but others tower over the paths along Putah Creek.

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Spinning gum (Eucalyptus perriniana)

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Spinning gum (Eucalyptus perriniana)

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Spinning gum (Eucalyptus perriniana)

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Bull mallee (Eucalyptus behriana)

Other iconic Australia natives include acacias such as this Snow River wattle with its needle-like leaves. (The Arboretum also has a dedicated acacia grove with over 50 species from Australia, Africa and the Americas. I will photograph it in the spring when they are in bloom.)

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Snowy River wattle (Acacia buhrmanii)

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Snowy River wattle (Acacia buhrmanii)

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Snowy River wattle (Acacia buhrmanii)

I loved the silvery white shrub in the next three photos but I couldn’t find a label. I initially thought it was a westringia, but I don’t think that’s true.

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Many southern hemisphere plants are winter growers and bloomers. The best examples in the Australian Collection are the grevilleas, beloved by humans and hummingbirds (and bees).

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The grevillea variety with the largest flowers I saw was ‘Mason’s Hybrid’. In the nursery trade, it is also sold as ‘Ned Kelly’.

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Grevillea ‘Mason’s Hybrid’

Even from a distance the flowers stand out.

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Grevillea ‘Mason’s Hybrid’

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Grevillea ‘Mason’s Hybrid’

And up close they’re simply spectacular.

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Grevillea ‘Mason’s Hybrid’

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Grevillea ‘Mason’s Hybrid’

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Grevillea ‘Mason’s Hybrid’

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Grevillea ‘Mason’s Hybrid’

Even the fallen leaves look pretty.

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Grevillea ‘Mason’s Hybrid’

The next shrub was labeled Hakea leucoptera but looking at photos online, I don’t think that’s correct. I’m certain it’s a grevillea as well, and looking at the leaves it could be a Grevillea rosmarinifolia hybrid.

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A large Grevillea thelemanniana along the bank of Putah Creek was literally covered with flowers. What a beautiful sight!

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Spider net grevillea (Grevillea thelemanniana)

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Spider net grevillea (Grevillea thelemanniana)

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Spider net grevillea (Grevillea thelemanniana)

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Spider net grevillea (Grevillea thelemanniana)

Other grevilleas I spotted were groundcovers, like this ‘Royal Mantle’. Take a look at the 2nd and 3rd photo below. Amazing how it has completely engulfed what I assume is a tree stump.

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Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’

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Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’ (with Correa ‘Ivory Bells’ on the right)

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Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’

As I mentioned at the top, banksias are a bit iffy in Davis since so many of them don’t tolerate much frost. But I found several that were in blooming, like this Banksia praemorsa

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Banksia praemorsa

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Banksia praemorsa

…and a Banksia integrifolia on the northern bank of the creek:

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Banksia integrifolia

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Banksia integrifolia

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Banksia integrifolia

But even the shrubs that weren’t in bloom were attractive in their own right. Of course it helps that I’m a fan of small, needle-like leaves.

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Woolly bush (Adenanthus sericeus)

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One-sided bottlebrush (Calothamnus quadrifidus)

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One-sided bottlebrush (Calothamnus quadrifidus)

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Desert cassia (Senna sp.)

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Desert cassia (Senna sp.)

The Australian Collection ends in a small grove of recently planted eucalyptus. This is the site of the yarn bombing project I blogged about last January.

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Desert cassia (Senna sp.) with snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp debeuzevillei)

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Snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora)

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Snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) with Westringia fruticosa ‘Smokey’

Here as elsewhere texture and color contrasts abound.

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Westringia fruticosa ‘Smokey’ with unidentified sedge

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Great leaf contrast

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Unidentified sedges

After I crossed the creek and made my way back towards downtown, I enjoyed more views of the grevilleas in bloom.

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Another Grevillea ‘Mason’s Hybrid’

And I walked under the largest bottlebrush I’d ever seen. Most of us are familiar with the smaller members of the genus Callistemon, like ‘Little John’, but some can grow to an impressive size.

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Weeping bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis)

This weeping bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis) was so large that even tall adults can walk under it without ducking.

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Hanging bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis)

11 comments:

  1. Heaven! Beautiful plants and photos Gerhard.

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    1. Thanks, Loree. I'm glad I have this beautiful place so close to where I live.

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  2. I did not know that you are that close to the Arboretum. All these years, I have never been there. I always talk about going but never did. Now, there's more reason for me to visit if I can visit yours too. Great photos as always. I wish I have more room for the Snow River Wattle. I always love that tree.

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    1. It's not even 10 minutes from my house. Do come up in the spring for a plant sale and I'll show you around!

      I love acacias. Still trying to find a spot for an Acacia baileyana.

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  3. Only a few weeks into cold weather and I'm already ready for a walk in a place like this. Some of those grevillea bloom photos are *perfect*!

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    1. I hope you'll get a chance to come to California again next year. Add a few days to your schedule and I'll show you around. So many places to see!

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  4. Sunshine and warmth at this time of the year, so lucky! Amazing photos, especially of the Grevilleas with gorgeous blooms and foliage not lagging behind the beauty department.

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  5. Hello, I really like your blog!

    "I loved the silvery white shrub in the next three photos but I couldn’t find a label. I initially thought it was a westringia, but I don’t think that’s true." - I think this might be Marieana sedifolia (Pearl Bluebush). I mentioned it in this post - http://crmbsgrdn.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/my-favourite-plant-in-garden-this-week_21.html - just go past everything until the end. If it's not that then it's extremely similar! I could very well be wrong.

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  6. Really beautiful. My favorite photo is the Eucalyptus leaves. You live in such a pretty town!

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  7. Hi Gerhard, I happened on this entry while trying to identify the Banksias that I photographed in that collection today. Thanks to the Plant Idents group on Facebook, it seems the unidentified Banksia (which is blooming today) is B. integrifolia.

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    1. Don, thank you so much for the ID. I was at the Arboretum just yesterday and, as before, was stumped by this banksia. There is still no tag. So B. integrifolia it is.

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