Saturday, February 24, 2018

UC Santa Cruz Arboretum in late winter: Australian Garden

In part 1 of this post I showed you the South African Garden at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum. Many shrubs from the Proteacea family were in bloom when I visited a couple of weeks ago, including cone bushes (Leucadendron), pin cushions (Leucospermum) and Cape heaths (Erica).

The Australian Garden was even more stunning, as you will see below. I tried hard to edit myself, but this post is still image-heavy. So grab a cuppa and settle in for the duration.

We'll get to the Australian members of the Proteacea family (Grevillea, Banksia and the like) shortly, but the first plant I actually photographed in the Australian Garden was this Eucalyptus caesia, commonly know as silver princess.

Eucalyptus caesia

Aren't these flowers something? 

Eucalyptus caesia

I toyed with the idea of sorting my pictures from the Australian Garden by genus but that seemed a bit too obsessive-compulsive. Instead, I'll show them roughly in the order I took them. This will give you an idea of how magical it is to walk through this wonderland, not knowing what you'll find around the next bend. 

Grevillea 'Austraflora Fanfare'

Grevillea 'Austraflora Fanfare'

Callistemon salignus 'Rosy Tips'

Callistemon salignus 'Rosy Tips'

Callistemon viminalis 'Little John', one of the most popular bottlebrushes for residential landscaping. It's easy to see why.

Not sure which eucalyptus this is, but standing underneathing was special indeed

Flowering acacia and eucalyptus

Grevillea sericea

Broad-leaf drumstick (Isopogon anemonifolius). Isopogons are members of the Proteacea family that are rarely seen in cultivation in the U.S.

Isopogon anemonifolius

Isopogon anemonifolius

Mountain pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata). Needless to say a sign like that ("not for the faint of heart!") is a challenge that's impossible to resist. And yes, the leaf I tried did have a peppery taste. It started out mild but eventually developed quite a bit of heat.

Banksia ericifolia

Banksia ericifolia (left), Banksia spinulosa (right)

Banksia spinulosa

Grevillea lanigera 'Coastal Gem'. This cultivar is very common in nurseries. Even Lowes and The Home Depot stock it.

Grevillea lanigera 'Coastal Gem'

Bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii), a Queensland relative of the Chilean monkey puzzle tree. This one is but a babe. 

Red bloodwood (Corymba gummifera), a eucalyptus relative

Lavender grevillea (Grevillea lavandulacea 'Tanunda')

Grevillea lavandulacea 'Tanunda'

Grevillea lavandulacea 'Tanunda'. I bought a small one at the gift shop.

Unidentified acacia in full bloom

The shrub in front of it is called snow pimelea (Pimelea nivea)

'Deua Flame' grevillea (Grevillea rhyolitica 'Deua Flame')

Grevillea rhyolitica 'Deua Flame'

Ashy hakea (Hakea cinerara), another rarely seen Proteacea member

Hakea cinerara

Holly-leaved grevillea (Grevillea aquifolium)

Grevillea aquifolium

Grevillea aquifolium

Gold matted pea (Pultenea pedunculata 'Grampians Gold')

Isn't this a great combination? The purple shrub on the left is Tetratheca 'Amethyst Eyes', the one of the right Hardenbergia violacea, most commonly seen as the vining form known as "happy wanderer."

Tetratheca 'Amethyst Eyes' (front), Hardenbergia violacea (back)

Hardenbergia violacea

Banksia grandis

Banksia grandis

Aren't these seed cones cool? I thought of tiny garden dwarves.

Banksia undata, or cut-leaf dryandra. Dryandra used to be a genus of its own, but 20 years ago it was merged with the genus Banksia. Even now, there are many hard-core banksia lovers who argue that the two should be kept separate.

Banksia undata, until 2007 known as Dryandra praemorsa. Look how it's scrambling up this tree!

Banksia undata, formerly known as Dryandra praemorsa

Banksia undata, formerly known as Dryandra praemorsa

Banksia undata, formerly known as Dryandra praemorsa

Banksia undata, formerly known as Dryandra praemorsa

Banksia squarrosa, formerly known as Dryandra squarrosa. Its common name in Australian is pingle. I have no idea where that word comes from.

Banksia squarrosa, formerly known as Dryandra squarrosa

Dryandra-leved banksia (Banksia dryandroides). Funnily enough, this was always a banksia, never a dryandra, although its leaves reminded botanist William Baxter of a dryandra, hence the name (dating back to 1823).

Banksia dryandroides

Banksia speciosa

Banksia speciosa

Banksia baueri

Banksia baueri

This very unusual groundcover is actually a grevillea (Grevillea nudiflora 'Medusa'). It so strange-looking, I had to buy one at the gift shop.

Wide view of new plantings in the Australian Garden. It's my new favorite spot there.


Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' and Banksia undata (aka Dryandra praemorsa)


Rice flower (Pimelea ferruginea), another plant I couldn't resist buying

Grevillea thelemanniana

Grevillea thelemanniana

Banksia baxteri

Banksia victoriae

Banksia spinulosa 'Coastal Cushion'

Grevillea wilsonii 

Grevillea wilsonii 

Grevillea 'Long John'. The name of this hybrid has nothing to do with winter underwear or oversized parts of the male anatomy but simply combines the names of its two parents: Grevillea longistyla and Grevillea johnsonii.

Grevillea 'Long John'

Grevillea 'Long John'

Grevillea 'Ned Kelly', essentially the same parentage as 'Superb'

Grevillea 'Ned Kelly'

Grevillea 'Ned Kelly'

Grevillea 'Ned Kelly'

Grevillea 'Ruby Clusters'

Grevillea 'Cherry Royal'

Grevillea 'Cherry Royal'

Grevillea 'Canterbury Gold'

Acacia pravissima 'Golden Carpet', a really cool prostrate form of the comon Oven's wattle

This may look like a bottlebrush, but it isn't. Instead, it's a scarlet kunzea (Kunzea baxteri). Both callistemons and kunzeas are in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae). This is my favorite photo of the day. The red flowers against the stark white gum tree are stunning.

Kunzea baxteri

There's no better way to end a visit to an Australian garden than with an iconic grass tree (Xanthorrhoea preissii)

Brian and I ended our visit at Norries, the Arboretum's gift shop. Even though the plant selection was smaller than usual (probably because it's still winter), what they did have was all special. I'd say half, if not more, of their inventory falls in the "buy it now because you may never see it again" category. And I did just that. But that's a topic for another post!



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12 comments:

  1. So gorgeous! I've never been to this garden, but it may need to move up in the must-visit list!

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    1. It truly is a hidden gem tucked away in a quiet corner of Santa Cruz.

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  2. Completely agree with your fav photo of kunzea. And that 'Golden Carpet' acacia definitely needs to have a tryout in my garden. Let me know if they have stock!

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    1. I have never seen that prostrate form of Acacia pravissima for sale, but I'll keep my eyes open for you.

      The UCSC Arboretum has their own plant introduction program called Koala Blooms. They've brought some really cool plants to market over the years. Grevillea lanigera 'Coastal Gem' is probably the best known.

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  3. What a pleasure to come home from a long trans-con flight, pop a brewskie and look at your terrific photos. I'm so remiss to have no gone to this garden in a few years, especially considering how fun it is to photograph. It looks like your visit was timed perfectly !

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    1. I hadn't been in a few years either, and I was happy to see that in spite of some damage from the drought, the garden is in good shape.

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  4. I am almost in tears. Seriously! Next February, we have to go! Can't wait to see what you bought.

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  5. So many Grevilleas, so little space! I'm not sure I should visit UCSC after all - it'll only stoke my desire to add more Australian plants to my garden and I'm already running out of places to put what I have. I was a Seaside today and barely stopped myself from buying a new variety from their Jo O'Connell collection, G. 'Flora Gem', even though the tag included no description of size, flower color, etc. I love that Banksia undata too.

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    1. Kris, the good thing (or bad) is that the gift shop has a really nice plant selection--not just Australian, but California natives as well.

      I have a grevillea from Jo O'Connell called 'Flora Mason', and it's about to bloom. I hope to visit Jo's nursery some day.

      Can't wait to find out what you bought at Seaside Gardens.

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  6. Wonderful place--enjoyed your post, though it makes me desperately long to go back there again. Treasure land of amazing plants.

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  7. Gerhard, I so enjoyed your great photo essay of UCSC! FYI - the 2 banksia photos you labelled "Possibly Banksia praemorsa" are Banksia baueri. Loved this post!

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