Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Yellow and pink: spring at the UC Davis Arboretum

Last weekend was as busy as the entire week had been, but on Sunday afternoon I was able to carve out an hour for a quick visit to the UC Davis Arboretum. (It’s only 10 minutes from my house so it’s not a big trip.) Specifically, I wanted to see how the acacias in the Eric E. Conn Acacia Grove were doing. I’d photographed them in full bloom last March (see this post) and was reasonably sure they’d still be going strong.

Wrong. All the large trees that had been so gorgeous last year where already done flowering. Maybe because of the drought or the warm weather we’ve been having? Most of them looked like this:

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But there were pockets of yellow, especially in more shaded corners:

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Unlabeled acacia

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Unlabeled acacia

150307_UCDA_009_Acacia-tysonii

Tyson’s wattle (Acacia tysonii)

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Tyson’s wattle (Acacia tysonii)

150307_UCDA_010_Acacia-tysonii

Tyson’s wattle (Acacia tysonii)

150307_UCDA_008_Acacia-tysonii

Tyson’s wattle (Acacia tysonii)

150307_UCDA_018_Acacia-cultriformis

Knife acacia (Acacia cultriformis)

150307_UCDA_016_Acacia-cultriformis

Knife acacia (Acacia cultriformis)

150307_UCDA_019_Acacia-cultriformis

Knife acacia (Acacia cultriformis)

150307_UCDA_028_Acacia-wilhelmiana

Dwarf nealie (Acacia wilhelmiana)

150307_UCDA_029_Acacia-wilhelmiana

Dwarf nealie (Acacia wilhelmiana)

150307_UCDA_032_Acacia-spectabilis 150307_UCDA_030_Acacia-spectabilis

Mudgee wattle (Acacia spectabilis)

150307_UCDA_024_Acacia-iteaphylla

Willow-leaved wattle (Acacia iteaphylla)

150307_UCDA_023_Acacia-iteaphylla

Willow-leaved wattle (Acacia iteaphylla)

But even without flowers, acacias are beautiful. I love the variety of leaf shapes.

150307_UCDA_022_Acacia-iteaphylla

Willow-leaved wattle (Acacia iteaphylla)

150307_UCDA_014_Acacia-cardiophylla

Wyalong wattle (Acacia cardiophylla)

150307_UCDA_042_Acacia-podalyriifolia

Pearl acacia (Acacia podalyriifolia)

150307_UCDA_045_Acacia-pravissima

Ovens wattle (Acacia pravissima)

150307_UCDA_046_Acacia-pravissima

Ovens wattle (Acacia pravissima)

150307_UCDA_026_Acacia-stenophylla

Shoestring acacia (Acacia stenophylla)

150307_UCDA_033_Acacia-stenophylla

Shoestring acacia (Acacia stenophylla)

In the photo above you get a first glimpse of the other dominant color I saw on Sunday: purple. It was everywhere along Putah Creek.

150307_UCDA_041_Acacia-podalyriifolia- -redbud

150307_UCDA_039_cercis-occidentalis

All that purple is from western redbud (Cercis occidentalis). Dense clusters of purple flowers erupt from bare branches in late February or early March, followed a few weeks later by heart-shaped leaves.

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On the way back to the car, I spotted this carpet of purple:

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It’s trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis), and it blooms almost year round.

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And just as I thought I was done taking photos, I came across this cherubic vision: yellow angel’s trumpets!

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I have no idea which species or hybrid or cultivar of Brugmansia this is, but it’s a stunner.

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I’ve rarely seen such perfect flowers and leaves. When I was trying to grow brugmansia, I was locked in a constant battle with bugs ranging from slugs to caterpillars. Maybe on a tree-sized specimen like this one the leaves and flowers are much safer from crawling pests…

150307_UCDA_058

Even though I didn’t find the acacia motherlode I’d hoped for, I encountered some unexpected surprises that were just as delightful.

13 comments:

  1. Fabulous photos! I 'd never seen or even heard of an acacia grove before. This one was an eye-opener. And the contrasts with the purple flowered plants is quite stunning.

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    1. Apparently the acacia grove at the UC Davis Arboretum is quite famous. It's home to over 50 species of acacias.

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  2. Odd isn't it that some of the acacias flowered early? Still you managed to see some still in bloom. Although the blooms are a cheer to see as you've said acacias are well worth growing for the foliage alone.

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    1. Everybody is saying how unusual this spring is.

      As for acacias, if I had acreage, I'd have my own acacia grove!

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  3. Glad you weren't completely disappointed. Lots of yellow in springtime, isn't there?

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    1. To me, yellow is the color of spring. Daffodils, wild mustard, flannel bush (and acacias)--all harbingers of spring in our neck of the woods.

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  4. I'm a bit shocked by that Brugmansia Gerhard..what kind of micro-climate must be going on there ? I have seen a few here in Napa County but usually in the far south --Carneros or American Canyon--where it can be frost free, but the blooms are usually late summer , after we've had some heat.

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    1. You and me both! I can't explain it. As you said, brugmansias bloom in the summer, not now, but this shrub/small tree was covered with the most pristine flowers imaginable!

      It's next to/partially underneath a huge eucalyptus and just a few feet up from Putah Creek, so it clearly gets enough a) protection from the cold as well as b) water to thrive.

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  5. Glad you got out to stretch that camera lens! I do love the acacias, I'm trying to remember if you had any in your garden...

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    1. I have an Acacia pravissima in a pot, getting too large and needing to be put in the ground. Unfortunately, it's never flowered for me so I'm not sure I want it permanently.

      I also have a small start of a sandpaper wattle (Acacia denticulosa) that's very cool. The Australians call it a "shrub," but with a potential height of 12 ft, it's a small tree to me. Not sure what to do with it yet, but I want to keep that one. No flowers yet.

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  6. Thanks for featuring the Acacias. Your post has prompted me look at that option to fill a recent void in my garden.

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    1. I think acacias are fantastic trees. One of my favorites is Acacia baileana; for some reason I couldn't find a specimen at the UCD Arboretum.

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  7. Really beautiful shots. I'd love to see that arboretum one day.

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