Spring in Australia, courtesy of UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum isn't close—just over two hours if there's no traffic—so I don't get to go very often. At least their twice-a-year plant sales are a good incentive: Not only did I make it to the fall sale last October (click here), I also managed to hit the spring sale on April 13.

The UCSCA plant sales are crazy, with hordes of plant-hungry people who know exactly what they want and aren't afraid of making a run for it, so I don't take photos while shopping. But once I'm done and my haul is safely stashed in the car, I allow myself the luxury of relaxing and taking a leisurely stroll with my camera.

Last month I began my walkabout in the Australian Garden (this post) and then checked out what was in bloom in the South African Garden (next post). I'm keeping my commentary to a minimum and let the photos speak for themselves.

If you want to read more about UCSCA and its history, head over to their website. After you're done with this post, of course!

Friends of the Arboretum info booth on the left; the sale area is behind the big shrub on the left

Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Purple Haze'

Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Purple Haze'

Grevillea curviloba subsp. incurva

Grevillea curviloba subsp. incurva

Banksia spinulosa 'Red Rock', new and old flowers

Banksia spinulosa 'Red Rock'

Kunzea parvifolia, the species name meaning "few leaves"

Isopogon anemonifolius

Isopogon anemonifolius

Isopogon anemonifolius

This is a different specimen from the one above. Some of the leaves were a rich red.

Grevillea 'Poorinda Queen'
Grevillea 'Poorinda Queen'

Grevillea 'Poorinda Queen'

Grevillea lavandulacea 'Tanunda'

Grevillea lavandulacea 'Tanunda'

Tetratheca 'Amethyst Eyes'

Tetratheca 'Amethyst Eyes'

Pimelea nivea

Pultenaea pedunculata 'Grampians Gold'. What a nice groundcover—low and tight.

Pultenaea pedunculata 'Grampians Gold'

Grevillea aquifolium, the species name meaning "holly-leaved"

Grevillea aquifolium

Lechenaultia biloba

Telopea 'Fireball' (Telopea oreades × T. speciosissima). This hybrid of the waratah, the state flower of New South Wales, is perfectly named.

The flower color is so brilliant, it almost hurts the eye

Telopea 'Fireball'

Cut-leaf dryandra (Banksia undata).
Until 2007, Dryandra was its own genus, with 94 recognized species. Now they're considered a series in the genus Banksia. Many people still prefer to use the old genus name.

What is now Banksia undata used to be called Dryandra praemorsa.

Banksia squarrosa, formerly Dryandra squarrosa. I love the common name, "pringle."

A "real" banksia

What is left of last years flowers on Banksia baueri

Banksia baueri seed cone

Isopogon formosus, light and airy

Isopogon formosus

Isopogon formosus

Isopogon formosus

Isopogon formosus

Isopogon formosus

Grevillea alpina 'Warby Range'

Grevillea alpina 'Warby Range'

Melaleuca wilsonii

The color defies description. It's such a neon hue, it almost looks fake!

Melaleuca wilsonii

This post covers only a tiny portion of the Australian Garden—basically just the plants that were in flower at the end of April. It doesn't matter when you visit, there's always something exciting to see. It's so gratifying to see the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum entering a new phase of glory after many years of benign neglect necessitated by ever shrinking budgets.


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  1. I love the pringle! The UCSC Arboretum is on my list of places I MUST visit.

  2. This garden has become one of my favorite public gardens in Norcal.I've never been this late in spring and I like seeing what is going on there now. I really should plan to attend a plant sale there, but it always seems to conflict with something else. I missed all the local-ish plant sales this spring-mostly due to being out of town .

  3. Australia has some amazing flowering shrubs. Am especially fond of the Banksia as there seed pods are so cool. Can see why Aussie flora is so popular in California.

  4. Great post, wonderful to see all these plants in flower. Isopogons have especially pretty flowers.

    Hurt to see the Telopea 'Fireball'-- what a stunning flower. Mine apparently has died. Still has a few green leaves, but it is Not Happy. Well, I tried.


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