nov 10 banner olives
UC Garden Clippings
University of California Botanical Garden
November  2010 - Vol 3, Issue 5
In This Issue
Wild Olives
Propagator's Choice
The Garden Shop
November Programs
Membership Matters
Docent Training
Thank you to our 1738 Facebook fans!


Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

Plant Lists
Purchase your plants from the Garden. Visit these lists for availability. Natives and Succulents Nurseries are open to the public most Thursdays from 10:30 AM until 1:30 PM. Come by and check our plants. There are volunteers who can give you help if you would like, or just stop by and browse.

California Native Plants Nursery

Landscape Cacti and Succulents Nursery

Bulbs Nursery

Tropical and Indoor Plants Nursery

Vines Nursery
November Garden Day
Visit the Garden's wild olives then rest on the nearby bench and take in the glorious views of the Golden Gate.

Admire the autumn colors of the many maples around the Japanese Pool.

Seeds are everywhere in the Garden. How many can you find?

Walk with an expert: free docent walks (with Garden admission) are available Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 PM.

Take the Garden's self-guided autumn stroll.

Wild Olives
olive branch
Olea europaea sylvestris

Did civilization spring from a wild olive? The ancient Greeks honored the olive's nutritional and economic contributions to the region with a mythological tale revering the goddess Athena for her gift of the olive. They depended on the olive as a major food source and a thriving economy developed around the olive trade. The olive endures as a symbol of peace and wisdom, and its nutritional value is touted by today's experts.

The UC Botanical Garden focuses on plants that have been collected in the wild from around the world. This means that many common cultivated food and flower crops are not found in our collection.  While we do not represent the cultivated olive, Olea europaea, in our collection, you might be surprised to lean that we grow several wild olives. 

Olives have been cultivated for millennia, and in our Mediterranean Area (look near the water towers) we grow a wild form from Spain - O. europaea sylvestris - that is presumed to be the progenitor of the cultivated olive.  Its small, dark fruit is mostly pit.  Similarly, the wild olive from the Southern African collection - formerly known as O. africana, and now know to be O. europaea cuspidata - has small, dry fruit.  In South Africa it is harvested for its wood, and many parts of the plant are used in traditional medicines.  We also grow other members of the olive family, Oleaceae, including forsythia, ash, jasmine, privet, and lilac.


Only a few spaces remain.

Sign up for both Olive programs: $55, $50 member

Handmade Olive Oil Soaps
Sunday, November 14, 1 - 3 pm
Learn how to make olive oil soaps from freshly harvested olives. $25, $20 members

Make Local Traditional Brine-fermented Olives
Sunday, November 21, 1 - 5 pm
Kathleen Elliot, owner of the Hillcrest Olive Ranch teaches you to brine olives. Make a jar to take home. $40, $35 members

by Holly Forbes, Curator

barren ski slopeGarden staff Holly Forbes & Barbara Keller, assisted by Susan Bainbridge and Kim DeLong, as well as by many Garden volunteers in the field and in the seed cleaning room, have been working much of the summer on a US Forest Service (USFS) project. We collected seeds from a list of about 20 common species in the Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes areas. These will be used by the forest service in an experiment to put plants back out on denuded/eroded ski slopes.

Each of four ski resorts on the Lake Tahoe perimeter have an average of 12 experimental plots, some with amended soil, some cleared of trees, and some unmodified. The seeds were being packaged and sent to USFS botanists at the end of October, to be hand sown before the snow sticks for the winter.

What isn't usually apparent in winter when we ski on these slopes, is that many are missing any sort of vegetative cover. Without plants, soil is lost and often slides downhill, especially when it rains. This can change the slope contour, reduce available habitat for wildlife, and pollute waterways with sediment.

We're pleased to be helping to change the situation for the better. USFS personnel will monitor the success/failure of these plantings for the next three years. Recommendations will then be made to ski resort managers on which species to use in restoring plant cover to these slopes.

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

White Rock Palm or Oaxacan Palm (Brahea nitida)

This slow growing rarity from southwestern Mexico and Guatemala is a great addition to the Bay Area garden. It features beautiful palmate leaves that have a glossy green upper surface contrasting with a chalky white underside. It can eventually grow to 30 feet tall and is both frost (hardy to 18F) and drought tolerant. We have beauties in five gallon pots for $35.

The Garden Shop: Local Olive Oil and Hand--made Olive Oil Soaps
olive oil

The Garden Shop has Hand-Made Olive Oil Gardener's Soaps made by Hillcrest Ranch in Sunol. Soaps are made with home-grown olive oil, coconut oil and come in lavender and plain scents.

Also in stock is a limited supply of early harvest organic olive oil. An artisinal oil, it is great for dipping, drizzling, and gift-giving.
$20/ bottle

Programs and Events

4th Annual Spooky Tales in the Redwood Grove
Sunday, October 31, 1 - 2:30 pm
Listen to the Witches Four tell you playfully scary stories. Join in a costume parade through the redwoods. Bring your favorite Halloween riddle to stump the witches. Program will move indoors in the case of rain.
$10, $8 Members; $3 Add'l child/family

Sick Plant Clinic

Saturday, November 6, 9 am - noon
Free. No reservations required.

Fall Bird Walk
Saturday, November 6,  9 - 10:30 am  (rescheduled from 10/23)
Observe resident, migrant and vagrant birds in the Garden's many bird-friendly micro habitats with birding expert Phila Rogers and Associate Director of Collections & Horticulture Ch
 ris Carmichael. Heavy rain cancels this walk.
$20, $17 members
bean soup
Heirloom, Organic Bean Soup Making

Saturday, November 6,  1 - 3 pm 

Come assemble beautifully-layered jars that make great holiday gifts or can be eaten at home just for the yum! Our "glorious old-fashioned heirloom beans" were generously donated by Rancho Gordo. Class is led by Vanessa Crews,

$10 per jar (plus Garden admission fees)

Fall Family Day

Thursday, November 11 (Veteran's Day Holiday)

Bring a picnic! Price includes 1 adult, 1 child and admission

11 am - noon Felting with Plant Dyed Wool for Kids

$20, $15 members

1 -  2 pm California Natives: Plants & People Tour

$10, $5 members


Sign up for both Olive programs: $55, $50 member

Handmade Olive Oil Soaps

Sunday, November 14,  1 - 3 pm

Learn how to make olive oil soaps from freshly harvested olives.

$25, $20 members


Making Local, Traditional Brine-fermented Olives

Sunday, November, 21,   1 - 5 pm

Discover the joy of making your own olives. You'll learn the process from harvest to milling and from brining to cooking.Take home a beautiful jar of your own olives. Led by Kathleen Elliot, owner of the Hillcrest Olive Ranch in Sunol, CA.

$40, $35 members



Succulent Wreath Making

Wednesday, November 17,  6 - 9 pm

Aristolochia californica
Aristolochea by Lee McCaffree

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. All materials prov ided.

$60, $50 members 


Sketch in the Garden to Begin a Botanical Art Painting

Saturday and Sunday, November 13 & 14, 10 am - 4 pm

Get to know your subject in its growing habitat by recording details of the plants--size, posture, parts, color and the environment.  These field notes  will be used to compose a painting in the classroom. Taught by Lee McCaffree. Lee trained at Kew in London and is a popular instructor at Filoli.

$160, $150 members

ozge tile

Planting Comics
Explore the Garden and discover the whimsical tiles of Ozge Samanci. Tiles are available for purchase in The Garden Shop for a special price of $95.

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.

Membership Matters: Family Plus
The Garden has a new Family Plus membership level for a gift of $100. With the addition of two guests of any age, Family Plus members can bring their friends, and family whenever they visit. Family Plus members enjoy many other benefits including:
  • Unlimited free admission for four adults (two members + two guests) and up to four children under age 18 during regular Garden hours
  • A one-time guest pass to a Members-Only Plant Sale
  • Admission to the Members'-Only Plant Sale before before the public Spring and Fall Sales
  • Members only events and tours
  • Exclusive mailings of the biannual Garden Newsletter
  • Two free one-time guest passes
  • Discounts on classes, workshops
  • 10% discount in The Garden Shop and Plant Deck
  • Reciprocal privileges with nearly 200 gardens, arboreta and conservatories across the nation
  • Discounted subscription coupons to Pacific Horticulture and Bay Nature magazines
  • Discounts at select local nurseries

 The Garden greatly appreciates the generous support of all our members. Thank you! Individual memberships start at just $45. Join today!

Five Ways to Join or Renew
On-Site: Stop by the Garden Kiosk
Phone: 510-643-2755 x0
FAX: 510-642-3012
Mail: 200 Centennial Dr Berkeley CA 94720-5045

Register Now for Docent Training
The program includes 24 sessions and will run January 10 through April 18, 2011 on Mondays & Thursdays, 1-4 pm. Fee: $250 (includes one-year Individual UCBG membership), $225 members.

For more information about volunteering, and to apply for Docent Training, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 510-643-1924. Your name will be added to the list and application packets will be mailed out in November.

docent training flyer

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 this Clippings. 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 publication 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