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UC Garden Clippings

University of California Botanical Garden

April 2012 - Vol 4, Issue 10

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Take a Butterfly Walk
Free with Garden Admission
Tuesday April 24
3 - 4 PM
sundial by George Post
I Only

Sunny Hours 

The Garden contains a number of plantings termed ethnobotanical collections, where we grow plants associated with human uses, such as the Crops of the World Garden, Garden of Old Roses, the Herb Garden, and the Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden.

In the Herb Garden we grow plants that have a history of human use, often dating from ancient times. Plants in this collection are mostly European in origin. The Mediterranean region is a particularly rich source of culinary herbs such as oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage.

The Herb Garden is assembled into beds based on plant uses. Leaves, flowers and roots are used for culinary flavorings, liquors and teas, as well as fragrances, perfumes, dyes, cosmetics, tinctures and other medicines.

Herb Garden knot by George Post
This photo and the sundial photo are by George Post.

Visit our Herb Garden where you will encounter many familiar garden plants, as well as the more rare and unusual.  It is arranged around a traditionally designed knot garden with a sundial at its center.  A variety of plants are used to create the look of ribbons flowing over and under one another to form a knot. The predominant plants in our knot are rosemary and lavender.

Members' Horticultural Walk: Herb Garden
Thursday | April 19 | 1 - 2:30 pm
Join Horticulturist Elaine Sedlack for a walk through the Herb Garden and learn about the care and cultivation of this picturesque Garden area.
Free. Members only. Registration required. Call 510-643-2755.


 37th Annual Spring Plant Sale
Join Us for the Best Plant Party in Town
Members' Preview and Silent Auction 
Friday | April 27 | 5 - 7:30 pm
Members are invited to the preview reception and silent auction. Enjoy appetizers from Bancroft Catering and sip wine from Eden Canyon Vineyards with the first choice of plants in a beautiful twilight Garden setting.

Public Sale
Saturday | April 28 | 10 am - 2 pm
New this year at the plant sale is our Unusual and Vintage Herb section. We are featuring Mediterranean-climate herbs, thyme, oregano, rosemary, lavender and more, all suited to Bay Area gardens. We are carrying
offering varieties with design appeal, fragrance, or culinary interest; many of which are uncommon in the trade. Shop the plant sale and see if there are some herbs in your future!

Visit our new Spring Plant Sale website to see the latest Silent Auction items, available plant lists, map, sponsors, tips for success and more.


by Holly Forbes, Curator

The term "herbs" applies to many plants of conservation concern around the world, though not all are of direct use to humans. Of those that are, some are harvested from the wild, which may place these plants in jeopardy if collection pressure isherbs too intense. Examples include American ginseng and some species of Echinacea from the mid west, whose roots are used for a popular cold treatment.

There is currently a popular trend of "foraging" for edible herbs, which I encourage you to practice only on your own personal property (see the current issue of Bay Nature Magazine). If you aren't absolutely sure of plant identification, don't eat it! Mistaking foxglove for comfrey can have deadly results. On the other hand, one can enjoy a salad of miner's lettuce with a sprinkling of garden nasturtium and borage flowers (all annual herbs) from your own garden without concern. Given their proclivity to naturalize, it's almost like wild foraging.


Invest in the Garden with Membership
Membership is an investment in our Garden community and an opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts and new friends. Spring is a great time to take on new adventures and we welcome you on this exciting journey. Join us for horticulture walks, tours, workshops, art & education exhibitions, volunteer opportunities, campus, community and Garden events and more!

Explore our new Membership Central website and discover FAQ's and a page devoted to our partner nurseries. Read about the benefits of membership and download a reciprocal admissions brochure. Best of all is the new interface for easy purchase or renewal of mEden Canyon Vineyardsembership. 

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

Membership questions: Suzanne Field, 510.643.1924 or

Members will enjoy fine wines (pictured) from Eden Canyon Vineyards and appetizers from Bancroft Catering at the Spring Plant Sale Preview Party on Friday April 27.

arisamma cf ringensSpring Self-Guided Tour

Welcome to this spring tour of the UC Botanical Garden. The tour, which highlights plants from around the world, is a circuit and takes about one hour. It starts at the Garden Entrance. Look for the ORANGE numbered markers to guide you to the featured plants. Download the tour and map here.

Stop number five on the tour is Arisamma cf. ringens.  This plant is native to Kyushu in Japan. Although it is sometimes known as a Cobra Lily, it is not a true lily, but is an aroid, in the Araceae family. Other members of this group include the calla lily, jack-in-the-pulpit and the native Californian skunk cabbage.  Arisaema cf. ringens, seen here, is a striking foliage plant with glossy trifoliate leaves and speckled stems. Its flowering structure resembles a striking cobra. It is composed of a club shaped spadix and hooded spathe and is exotically striped in shades of purple. There are many other species of Arisaema planted in the Asian Area.



The Garden Shop

The precious little eggling looks and feels like an extra large egg, but crack its top and discover an herb garden ready to grow! Cultivation is easy - seeds are already sown into eggling's fortified peat mixture, just crack it's top (by tapping on it with a spoon), water and place in bright spot. Plants grow for up to five months in the eggling, after which it can be planted directly in soil.



green stuff camp

Green Stuff
Summer Camp

Registration is open for our popular Green Stuff Summer Camp. Children spend one magical week at our outdoor science day camp exploring our amazing collection of plants from around the world.  Each day is unique and includes walks and creek discoveries, hands-on investigations, journaling, edible gardening, animal studies, storytelling, crafts, and lots more.

June 18 thru August 17
Monday - Friday; 9 am - 2 pm
Weeks are grouped by age: 5-7 yr olds, 8-10 yr olds
To find out the schedule and to register, click here for our enrollment flyer.


Host Your Special Event at the Garden

The Garden is the perfect place for your wedding, corporate event or family celebration. Visit our new website for photos and details!

The knotted bridge by Michael Biondi in the Herb Garden is a favorite of brides and photographers.



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.
  • Botanical Art: You''ll receive exclusive information about classes and exhibitions.  
Editor: Vanessa Crews,, 510-643-2937