monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) from Chile
UC Garden Clippings
University of California Botanical Garden
December 2009 - Vol 2, Issue 6
In This Issue
December in the Garden: Conifers
Propagator's Choice.
Membership: Now Available Online
December Programs
Holiday Shopping


Join Our Mailing List!
Propagator Sales
Propagation Areas
Open for Sales

California Natives
Landscape Cacti & Succulents
Trees and Shrubs

10:30 am to 1:30 pm

Becoming a member of the UC Botanical Garden entitles you to 10% off most plant purchases.
The Plant Deck

Open Daily
10:30 am - 4:30 pm


Visit the Garden's Plant Deck for a great selection of choice plants. All proceeds from your purchase benefit the Garden.
The Garden Will be Closed

Due to budget cuts and furlough days the Garden will be closed to visitors December 23 through January 6 and again the first week of February.
Quick Links
December in the Garden: Conifers
Winter in the Garden is for me a reminder of the subtle depth of beauty of our rich and diverse collection. Stripped of at least some leafy distraction and without the extensive floral display present at other times, structural elements stand clearly on their own.
Chris Carmichael, Associate Director of Collections and Horticulture

monkey puzzle male coneWalk with Chris Carmichael through the Garden on December 17th when he will focus on the Garden's extensive collection of conifers, both the common and the not so common. Among Carmichael's favorites is the white pine (Pinus strobus), because its familiar piney fragrance evokes memories of his boyhood home in New England.

The monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) from Chile is a dioecious conifer with distinctive male (pictured left) and female cones (pictured in the banner) on separate trees. Perched at the top of the Garden with their sculptural shape and profuse cones, the monkey-puzzle trees are an astonishing Garden feature.

Other conifers you'll see include the Nordmann fir from Turkey (Abies nordmanniana), an eastern hemlock from New York (Tsuga canadensis) and an Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides). Don't be surprised if along the way Carmichael points out December flowering manzanitas, currants, witch hazel and even a clematis. This stroll is free for members.

Your holiday decorating may include baskets of fragrant pinecones, fresh branches of fir and pine, an evergreen wreath or a living tree. These ancient symbols of life and fertility are elements of winter solstice celebrations for many cultures, offering a promise of longer days and abundant crops. This year's winter solstice on December 21st offers a time to reflect on nature's many gifts to us. The UC Botanical Garden staff extends thanks for your friendship and wishes you and your family a bountiful 2010.
Propagator's Choice
Clianthus puniceus, the kaka beak or parrot's bill (in reference to the beak-shaped flower) is a critically endangered, evergreen shrub from New Zealand. It grows well in the Bay Area and will reward you with clusters of large, bright-red flowers produced in early summer. Growing to 6 feet, it needs a sunny position in your garden with a well-drained soil mix. We have plants in one gallon pots for $12.00.

Landscape Cacti and Succulents Nursery
Special End of Year 30% Off Sale
Friday, December 11th and Saturday, December 12th
10:30 am to 3:30 pm both days

As both a Thank You to those who have purchased plants in our propagation area as well as an invitation to new visitors, we are offering 30% off on retail purchases totaling $200 and over. All proceeds from the sale directly support the Garden. See our plant list for current availability.
Membership: Be Our First Online Member

New Today! Garden membership is available online and the first ten people to purchase a membership (including gift memberships) will receive a dozen Garden note cards as our gift to you.

It's easier than ever to support the Garden with membership. Visit the Garden website and purchase your membership or a gift membership today. Gift memberships to the Garden are a beautifully packaged thoughtful gift for anyone on your holiday list- and the Garden continues to offer a free Bukovnik print with membership purchases at a $65 or above level.

Free For Members in December
Conifers in our Collection: Garden walk led by Associate Director for Collections and Horticulture, Chris Carmichael. Thursday, December 17, 2009 1pm

Members' 20% Discount in the Garden Shop
From December 7 - 13, all members will receive an additional 10% off their total purchases in the Garden Shop (except for plants).  You're sure to love our selection of little gifts: candles, cards, toys, jewelry, books and much more. This is also a great opportunity to pick up a handcrafted John Doyen bowl,many of which are made from reclaimed wood from the collection, for someone special on your list.

doyen bowlFive Ways to Join
On-Site: Stop by the Garden Kiosk
Phone: 510-643-2755 x0
FAX: 510-642-3012
Mail: 200 Centennial Dr Berkeley CA 94720

Thank you for supporting the UC Botanical Garden.
by Holly Forbes, Curator

The Garden is home to 152 rare and/or endangered cone-bearing species from around the world.  Quite a few of these are cycads, but many are the more familiar pines and firs.

martinez pinon pineThe oldest were accessioned in 1945, but these Monterey pines (Pinus radiata) are older, likely planted as part of a WPA (Works Progress Administration) project in the 1930s. Though likely one of the most widely planted trees in the world, Monterey pine is quite rare in habitat, near Carmel, California.

Next oldest are the Chilean cedars (Austrocedrus chilensis), dating from 1949 and located in the South American Area in beds 611 and 657. Chilean cedar is native to southern Chile and southern Argentina, where its decline in low elevation/high rainfall populations is thought to be caused a by fungal pathogen.

Martinez pinon (Pinus maximartinezii), is a very rare pine known only from a small area of southern Zacatecas, Mexico. It produces one-inch long seeds, the longest of any pine species in the world. Conservation efforts are underway to protect it from potential fire losses. You can see it in the Mexican & Central American Area in beds 375 and 378. Lower juvenile foliage is distinct from the upper adult growth (pictured).

The oldest fir tree in the Garden, Korean fir (Abies koreana), was acquired in 1993 and can be seen in the Asian Area in bed 225 above the Japanese Pool. It is native to the mountains of South Korea and makes a fine garden specimen in cool, moist climates.

If you are interested in learning more about individual conifers, please refer to the Gymnosperm Database at:

Programs and Events

succulent wreath
Succulent Wreath Making:
Wednesday, December 2, 2009 7 pm-9 pm
Create a gorgeous succulent wreath to enjoy all year round. You'll select among a variety of succulents and be guided on how to plant and care for your wreaths.
$60,  $50 Members     Registration required.

Sick Plant Clinic:
Saturday, December 5,  9 am - noon
Join Dr. Raabe for his monthly Sick Plant Clinic and find out which diseases ail your plants. Entomologists are also available to identify the pests that are living in your plants. Please bring plants and disease samples in closed containers or bags. There will be no Sick Plant Clinic in January 2010.

evergreen wreathEvergreen Wreaths and Garlands:
Wednesday, December 9, 7 pm-9 pm
Create a beautiful and festive wreath or garland to add to your holiday decorations. Greens from the Garden and other materials are included, but be sure to bring your own hand pruners.
$30, $25 Members     Registration required.

Landscape Cacti and Succulents Nursery
Special end ofyear 30% off sale 30% on retail purchases totaling $200 and over
Friday, December 11
Saturday, December 12
10:30 am to 3:30 pm both days

Conifers in our Collection:
Thursday, December 17, 1 pm
Meet UCBG's most illustrious members of the conifer group, which includes the largest and longest-lived of organisms on our planet today. The Garden houses an extraordinary collection of conifers from around the world. This tour will review both well-known and obscure specimens, from the giant sequoia of California to the strange celery pine of New Zealand. Led by Associate Director for Collections and Horticulture, Chris Carmichael.
$10, Free for members; Price includes Garden admission

Coming in January
Plants Illustrated: An exhibit of Botanical Art sponsored by the Nothern California Society of Botanical Illustrators
January 16-29, 2010 10 am - 4 pm
Free with Garden Admission

Always check the Garden Calendar for event details and updates.
Reservations are accepted daily, including weekends, 9 am - 4:30 pm.
Call 510-643-2755 x03 for event registration or to purchase/renew a membership.

Tempting Holiday Gifts at the Garden Shop
stockingsThe Garden Shop has something for everyone on my list, and there are no crowds or traffic. I love that my Garden Shop purchases support the Garden.
Vanessa Crews

Candles Toys Books
Garden Logo Items
Garden Apparel & Tools
Unique Gifts

t shirtDecember Sale: Just in time for winter long sleeved organic cotton t-shirts with the beautiful Garden logo are on sale for the month of December at  only $12.95 each (you save $5) !  They come in chocolate or natural. 

No other discounts apply. Limited to supply on hand. Sale prices good only in December 2009.

olive oilNew: Local Early Harvest Olive Oil
The Garden Shop carries a limited supply of early harvest organic olive oil from Hillcrest Ranch in Sunol. Kathleen Elliot, owner of the ranch, recently gave a program at the Garden on brine-fermented olives and her ranch was featured in the latest edition of Edible East Bay. This delectable artisinal oil, perfect for dipping and drizzling, makes a wonderful holiday gift or an addition to your table.
$20/ bottle

Fresh Local Honey from the Garden's Own Beekeeper
The benefits of honey are legendary, and honey is fun. The UC Botanical Garden is pleased to be working with outstanding local beekeeper, Steve Gentry (Steve's Bees). Visit the demonstration hive at our Tropical House, and take home honey from our Garden Shop at a great price.
$8 for 12 oz jar. Other sizes available.

Manage Your Subscription
The UC Garden Clippings is a publication of the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. You can manage your subscriptions to Garden electronic publications by choosing Update Profile/Email Address at the bottom of the newsletter. The Update Profile/Email Address feature provides subscription options, allowing you to select those garden publications you wish to receive. Select Safe Unsubscribe to remove your email address from all UCBG electronic publications. The Garden offers five email publications:
  • UC Garden Clippings: This is a monthly newsletter featuring garden events and stories.
  • Updates: Occasional brief emails are sent to highlight special garden events.
  • Plant Deck: This is a monthly email describing plants available for purchase in the Garden.
  • Garden Clubs: This is an occasional publication describing special events and opportunities for garden clubs and plant societies.
  • Tours: Be the first to know when the Garden has a new tour available for schools and other groups. Get details on arranging tours for your group.
Editor: Vanessa Crews,, 510-643-2937