Wednesday, July 13, 2016

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden summer smörgåsbord

On Sunday I joined the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society for a field trip to the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley. The first event of the day was a workshop on hardy Australian plants given by Jo O'Connell, owner of Australian Native Plants Nursery in Ventura County (Southern California) and one of the country's leading experts on the subject.

Jo has been guru of mine for a number of years, and I'm happy to report that she was every bit as wonderful as I had expected her to be, both as a person and as a plant expert.

I didn't take photos during her presentation (intellectual property and all) but you can find much of the information on Jo's web site under Help.

Jo had brought a selection of plants for sale, and I bought three 1-gallon plants: Grevillea 'Flora Mason', Callistemon pinifolius (yellow form), and Goodenia viscida. I’ll have more information and photos as I get these new additions into the ground, probably later in the year.

As an aside, I found out that Jo has a cabin on her property that she rents out as an Airbnb. This got me thinking about a potential winter trip to Southern California. The wheels in my head are turning….

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After Jo’s presentation we had a brown-bag lunch, followed at 1 p.m. by a docent-led tour. At our request, the tour focused on the Southern African and the Deserts of the Americas Collections. We also walked through the Australasia Collection and could have explored other areas but everybody’s energy level was beginning to drop because of the unexpected heat.

Here are some random snapshots of things that caught my eye. They’re not in any systematic order so enjoy them for what they’re worth.

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Plant sale area outside the gift shop. The plants on and in front of the table were Australian natives Jo O’Connell had brought.

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These are the nicest buckwheats I’ve ever seen (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens)

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Eriogonum grande var. rubescens

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Pitcher plants at the entrance plaza

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Horned poppy (Glaucium grandiflorum)

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Dudleya pulverulenta

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Beschorneria albilora

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New water feature

SOUTHERN AFRICA COLLECTION:

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Fan aloe (Kumara plicatilis)

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Aloe capitata var. quartziticola

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Aloe capitata var. quartziticola

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NOID aloe baking in the summer sun

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The plants on the Southern Africa hill are definitely grown hard. This area bakes in the sun and doesn’t seem to receive supplemental watering.

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The green plant in the back is Crassula tetragona. I don’t know what the orange leaves in the foreground are, but it’s definitely a plant that goes dormant when the heat arrives.

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Some sort of heather (Erica sp.)

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Euphorbia coerulescens

DESERTS OF THE AMERICAS COLLECTION:

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Agave mitis var. albidior

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One dasylirion and three yuccas

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Agave stricta

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Agave stricta

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SCSS members exploring the Deserts of the Americas

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Agave colorata

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Deserts of the Americas hill

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Deserts of the Americas hill

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Deserts of the Americas hill

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Deserts of the Americas hill

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RIGHT: Cardon (Pachycereus pringlei)   RIGHT: Bulbils on Agave vilmoriniana flower stalk

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Cleistocactus buchtienii in front of Hyalis argentea

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Deuterocohnia brevifolia

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Deserts of the Americas hill

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Hechtia texensis and Agave lophantha

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Hechtia texensis

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Love this bench!

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Agave parryi var. huachucensis

BACK TO THE SOUTHERN AFRICA COLLECTION:

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Boophone disticha

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Senecio pyramidatus

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Helichrysum sp.

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Helichrysum sp.

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Encephalartos arenarius

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Berkheya purpurea

SOUTH AMERICA COLLECTION:

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Gunnera tinctoria

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Gunnera tinctoria

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Puya sp.

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Alstroemeria aurantiaca

AUSTRALASIA COLLECTION:

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Wire netting bush (Corokia cotoneaster) from the South Island of New Zealand

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Wire netting bush (Corokia cotoneaster)

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Tasmanian tree fern (Dicksonia antartica)

10 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fabulous day was had, good company and selection of beauties to look at!

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    1. I love how a place like the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden never stands still. There's always something new to see, plus old favorites to revisit.

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  2. It sounds - and looks - like a great event. Did Jo O'Connell say that the Callistemon was definitely the yellow/green form? I bought a 2-gallon plant from her in April but she warned me that there was a 50-50 chance of getting red flowers instead of green ones when it's grown from seed as her plants were. My plant is still in its nursery pot as I wait to see it reveal its true colors.

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    1. Now that you mention it, I'm not sure. The label shows a yellow flower (technically green, I guess) but it says that a red form also occurs. I didn't ask Jo, but if they're grown from seed, chances are the answer would have been the same as what she gave you. Time will tell.

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  3. What fun you must have had! I'm glad you got to meet Jo, she's a treasure.

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    1. I was hoping to have a longer chat with Jo but there was just too many people with questions of their own. Will definitely make an effort to visit her nursery and the elusive Taft Garden (she said she would get us in).

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  4. You want to come south, and I want to go north! I miss visiting this bot. garden. So much to glean from your photos. I see that their Beschorneria albiflora looks to be grown in dappled shade. I just bought another one for a shadier position, because full sun does not seem to be to its liking. And I wonder if they're selling that Aloe capitata var. quartzicola -- mine fell victim to ants/aphis.

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    1. I'm glad my photos were of interest. They seemed like just a ragtag bunch.

      Yes, these beschornerias are in a fairly shady spot. Based on my own experience, they need more regular water than, say, agaves or aloes.

      I see Aloe capitata var. quartzicola at the Ruth Bancroft Garden Nursery quite regularly. I'd be happy to pick one up for you. Just say the word. (I have three, but no pups yet.)

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  5. Last visited the botanical garden 3 years ago.... such a fantastic place! Thanks for the pictures. Hopefully we'll get back in a year or so.
    You always do such interesting field trips, Gerhard!

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  6. Looks like it was a great day despite considerable heat. Jo must have been a fascinating speaker.

    That Erigonum is a fabulous plant and I wish it liked my garden, which is killing off a 2nd one--the Heatpocalypse in June hammered it. Ack, summer!

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