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UC Garden Clippings
University of California Botanical Garden
March 2010 - Vol 2, Issue 9
In This Issue
Are You Wearing a Plant Today?
Green Stuff Camp
Show & Tell
Tell Your Story
March Programs
Propagator's Choice


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Plant Lists
 Are You Wearing a Plant Today?

Was fashion invented in a garden? A biblical reference to Adam and Eve sewing garments from fig leaves reveals the historical use of plants in clothing and reminds us that plants and animals were the sole source of clothing for centuries. In the past hundcamellia japonicareds of plants were used to produce fibers for textiles, but today just four plant species, cotton, flax, sisal and jute, prevail in the industry. A growing number of designers are rejecting synthetic fibers -  and even cotton -  as unsustainable and exploring other plants, like hemp, as eco-friendly sources for fibers and dyes in modern clothing. The Garden's Fiber and Dye Exhibit, opening on March 20, explores the relationship between people, plants and clothing.

Pictured above right is a camellia (Camellia japonica), stop #25 on on the Fiber & Dye Garden Walk (brochure available at the exhibit).  The leaves give a brownish-yellow dye and the bark gives a reddish-brown dye. Visit the garden in March to see many spectacular camellias blooming throughout the Asian Area.

Discover the Fig Leaf in Your Closet
Join us this month for the Fiber & Dye Exhibit and a host of related progams.

The Exhibit and Garden Walk
Collaborating with the California College of the Arts (CCA) and the Permacouture Institute, the Garden's Program Coordinator, Deepa Natarajan, is creating an exhibition celebrating fiber & dye traditions from around the world. Cotton, linen, and other natural fibers such as bamboo, hemp, soya, abaca and pina (pineapple) provide a multitude of material options for textiles. From basket weaving to denim jeans, plants have allowed for both utility and beauty in our everyday lives. There will be materials that you can see, a display of the process from seed to garment, and a display of edible dye plants. The core of the exhibit is a self-guided walk of fiber & dye plants through the Garden. Learn more in a brief podcast featuring Natarajan and Garden Director Paul Licht.

Exhibit Preview Party: Drinks to Dye For!
Meet textile students from CCA and other fiber & dye enthusiasts. Be the first to see the exhibition and view the displays with Deepa Natarajan and Christine Manoux, exhibition iris douglasianacurators. Enjoy plant based snacks and drinks colored by nature.

Fiber & Dye Programs
Spinning with Eco-Fibers
Native Plant Dyes:
Hands-On Weaving Demonstration
Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs
Felting with Plant-Dyed Wool

Pictured in the banner and above is coast iris (Iris douglasiana). The leaves provide a very strong fiber for animal snares and cordage and the plant is #35 on the Fiber & Dye Garden Walk (brochure available at the exhibit). Many beautiful varieties of coast iris cultivated by our volunteer propagators are available for purchase on The Plant Deck.

by Holly Forbes, Curator
The Fiber & Dye Exhibit informs us of the long tradition of plant use in fabric creation and decoration. Many of these plants can be found in the garden on the self-guided tour. Insects also play a role in this story.

Insects can be used for fabric dyeing as well as for conservation. The large cactus Opuntia ficus-indica was introduced into Australia in 1787 as a host for cochineal scale insects (Dactylopius coccus) from which the dye carmine is made. This would have proved a valuable addition to the British economy, had the insects not quickly died off. However, the cacti proved so successful an invader that it became very problematic in the landscape. In the 1920s a South American moth species was purposefully introduced into Australia where it eventually brought the invading cactus under control. (pictured right: Opuntia in fruit)

St. John's wort or Klamath weed (Hypericum perforatum) is native to Europe, but is now naturalized in large tracts of the US (including California) and in Australia. The plant tops, when used with a mordant, produce a bright yellow dye. Other mordants produce a red color. This very invasive species has been brought somewhat under control by the introduction of two foliage beetles, Chrysolina hyperici and C. quadrigemina, which were released in California from 1945 to 1946, and established within two years. A root-boring beetle Agrilus hyperici and a leaf bud gall-forming midge Zeuxidiplosis giardi were released in 1950 to help the Chrysolina spp. These established California colonies became the source for collections and distribution to Hypericum perforatum infestations throughout the western United States. Recently released and established is the moth Aplocera plagiata. ( US Forest Service Weed of the Week 1-08-07)

Five Reasons to Join the Garden
Polypodium calirhizaFree Fern Walk on Thursday, March 18
Free unlimited Garden visits for a year
Free subscription to Better Homes & Gardens
Reciprocal privileges with nearly 200 gardens nationwide
Admission to the Members Only Plant Sale on Friday April 23

Five 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 94720-5045

Fern Walk dicksoniawith Chris Carmichael, Associate Director of Collections & Horticulture
Free for Members!
Thursday, March 18th, 1pm
Noted for their simple beauty and textural interest, ferns are found in nearly all the collections of the UCBG.  While ferns play a prominent role in tropical ecosystems, there are many temperate and even desert species of interest to Bay Area gardeners.  

The UCBG collection of ferns is one of the largest in US public gardens, numbering about 435 taxa in around 695 accessions.  This tour will focus on hardy ferns, including California natives (pictured top right - Polypodium calirhiza), New Zealand tree ferns (pictured left), dry growing xerophyic ferns, and the rich diversity ferns from Mexico and Central America.

Green Stuff Camp
by Christine Manoux, Education Program Coordinator

Green Stuff Camp is filling up!
This summer science day-camp has been a Berkeley favorite for generations.  Children explore our amazing collection of plants from around the world through walks and creek discoveries, hands-on investigations, journaling, crafts, and edible gardening.

Monday - Friday; 9 am - 2 pm
$210 per week or $195 w/ Family Membership · Weeks grouped by age: 5-7 yr olds, 8-10 yr olds

 Click here to see this year's schedule and to download a registration form.
Show & Tell on Facebook
When the big oak crashed in the Garden last month the Garden's Facebook fans were the first to know. They were also the first to learn about the narrowly averted crisis when slide debris roared down Strawberry Creek and when the first newts of the season were spotted cavorting in strawberry Creek. We're making daily posts on Facebook -  including lots of plant photos and links to interesting botany articles. Fan the Garden on Facebook and be among the first to see new blooms!

Tell Your Story in the Garden on our New Tribute Plaza

tribute plazaPlans are underway to  refurbish the Garden's current tour deck and include a Tribute Plaza. Two sizes of bricks will be available with a variety of inscription options. The bricks and the stories they tell - your stories - will become a permanent part of the Garden's history and provide an inspirational place to pause and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Details and order forms will be available on the Garden web site soon. Interested in a brick? Contact Vanessa Crews. Pictured right: draft sketch of proposed plaza modification

Programs and Events
Sick Plant Clinic
Saturday, March 6,  9 am - noon

The Buzz on Native Bees
Saturday, March 6,  1 - 3 pm
Join UC Berkeley Professor Gordon Frankie for an afternoon talk on our native bee populations. Presentation followed by a walk in the Garden with Professor Frankie and his graduate students.
$10, $5 members, Registration required.

Author Series: Golden Gate Gardeningbook
Sunday, March 14,  1 - 3 pm
Be re-inspired to grow delicious food year-round with Pam Peirce. Bring your gardening questions. Useful handouts included. A booksigning will follow.
Free with Garden admission; Books available at the event.

Fern Walk with Chris Carmichael
Thursday, March 18th, 1 pm
$10 (includes Garden admission),  Free for Members

An Introduction to Botanical Art
Thursday and Friday, March 18 and 19, 10 am - 4 pm
This two-day class will teach you to observe, measure and draw plants in great detail with botanical accuracy. Work with graphite, colored pencils and watercolor. Led by renowned artist Catherine Watters. All levels welcome. (Note other venues charge twice as much for this class with Watters.)
$125, $115 members, Registration required, Suppy List

Fiber and Dye Exhibit
Saturday, March 20 - Sunday, April 4, 10 am - 4 pm
Visit our special display of plant fibers and dyes from around the world.
Free with Garden admission.

"Drinks to Dye For" Reception
Saturday, March 20, 4 - 8 pm
Celebrate the return of our Fiber & Dye Exhibit at this lively and colorful reception.
$10,  $7 Members

Author Series: Succulent Container Gardening Workshopbook
Monday, March 22, 6 - 8 pm
Enjoy a glass of wine and learn everything you need to know to create stunning container displays of exceptionally waterwise plants with Debra Lee Baldwin. Includes a demonstration of planting a container garden and a special sale of succulents and books. One lucky attendee will go home with the demonstration garden!
$30,  $25 Members, Registration required

Butterfly Walk
Tuesday, March 23,  3 - 4 pm
Join Sally Levinson, Garden volunteer propagator, docent and caterpillar lady as she guides you through the collection in search of butterflies.
Free with Garden admission; Space is limited; Registration required; Children welcome

Spinning with Eco-Fibers
yarnSaturday, March 27, 1 - 4 pm
Learn to make beautiful yarns using a drop spindle
 with the guidance and instruction of Kristine Vejar. Price includes fiber & instruction; bring your own spindle or purchase one for $18.
$40,  $35 Members, Registration required

Native Plant Dyes
Sunday, March 28, 10 am - 4 pm
Ecological Artist Rebecca Burgess leads a day long exploration in native plant dyes. Learn everything from harvesting to preparing fibers to producing beautiful textiles with natural color.
$75,  $65 Members, Registration required

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.

Propagator's Choice
by Bryan Gim, Volunteer Propagation Coordinator & Arid House Horticulturist

Save the Date! 2010 Spring Plant Sale
After the wonderful season of rain...
 its time to redo your garden!

Members' Preview and Silent Auction: Friday, April 23rd, 5 - 7:30 pm

Public Sale: Saturday, April 24th 10 am - 2 pm

Exquisite Plants, Rarities, Exotics and More
Visit our website for plant lists, silent auction updates and more information.

Thursday Propagation Area Sales
Thursdays, 10:30 am - 1:30 pm

Visit the behind-the scenes propagation areas to purchase plants and consult with our expert volunteer propagators. Check the following sites for current plant lists:

California Native Plant Nursery
Landscape Cacti & Succulents Nursery
Trees and Shrubs Nursery
South African Plants Nursery

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

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.
  • Garden Events & Programs: This is a quarterly preview of upcoming workshops, classes, tours and festivities.
Editor: Vanessa Crews,, 510-643-2937