banner May 2012

UC Garden Clippings

University of California Botanical Garden

May 2012 - Vol 4, Issue 11

Quick Links


Find us on Facebook

South America Blooms in Berkeley
Alstromeria ligtu
At the Garden we grow plants from the five Mediterranean climate zones of the world. The South American Area contains many plants from coastal Chile, South America's Mediterranean climate area.  Right now there are a number of beautiful plants in bloom in South America, including the yellow-eyed grass, Sysyrinchium striatum, the beach strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis, and many salvias and fuchsias.  The very first Alstromeria species, sometimes known as Peruvian lilies, are beginning to open.  Soon the Area will be awash in bright pinks and golds.  The first of our spectacular terrestrial bromeliads, Puya chilensis, is in startling bloom, displaying acid yellow/green blossoms on eight foot spikes.  Check back later in the season to see the amazing teal blue flowers of Puya berteroana.  And of course the monkey puzzle trees, Araucaria araucana, provide year-round interest in the Area.

Members' Horticultural Walk: South America
Wednesday | May 23 | 1 - 2:30 pm
Walk with Garden horticulturist Peter Klement to see floras of temperate and Mediterranean climate areas of South America, featuring plants from the matorral of coastal Chile. Several Puya species are in full bloom, delighting visitors with their vibrant colors and visiting pollinators including the orioles and hummingbirds who take advantage of convenient "bird perches" provided by the plants.
Free. Members only. Registration required. Call 510-643-2755.


arbutus marina
Arbutus 'Marina'

Propagator's Choice 

In keeping with our upcoming Firesafe Gardens Symposium we are featuring a nice selection of California natives and other appropriate plants. Come see our sales display at the Garden entrance this weekend. We have marked plant selections that are recommended by the Diablo Firesafe Council for planting in fire vulnerable areas, such as Ceanothus thysifolius and Arbutus 'Marina'. For those of you inspired by the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour, our California native choices will get you started on your own native garden.

Firesafe Gardens Symposium 
Sunday | May 6 | 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
With a diverse collection from areas around the world that share California's Mediterranean climate, the Garden offers an ideal site to learn about making your garden safe from wildfire. Join Cheryl Miller from the Diablo Fire Safe Council, and local fire agencies to explore how wildfire affects our neighborhoods and wildlands. This workshop will include a tour of the Garden to explore plant characteristics and other features that increase the chance of your home surviving a wildfire. Check-in at 9 am with coffee and pastries, event speakers begin at 9:30 am.
Advance registration recommended. $20, $12 members, UCB staff, faculty, students.


This Mother's Day
Give Mom 365 Days  of Beauty and Exploration  with a Garden Membership

puya chilensis
Puya chilensis
Enchant your mom - and all the moms on your list this Mother's Day by indulging their passion for wonderment, beauty & horticulture! Our collections unveil a changing look season by season and members enjoy unlimited free admission all year-round. Members receive 10% off in the Garden Shop, discounts and free admission at over 270 participating Gardens around the nation, invitations to exclusive members-only events and more!

Explore our  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.

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

garden hats
Garden logo embroidered hats: $29.95
The Garden Shop
Gifts for Mom!
We have a variety of gifts for the moms in your life including Tillandsia globes, plants, books, succulent candles, cards, hand-crafted John Doyen bowls, hats and more. Pair a gift certificate to The Garden Shop with a set of exclusive Garden note cards for a gift Mom will adore.
Proceeds from The Garden Shop sales benefit the Garden.

Spring Self-Guided Tour
Berberis darwinii
Berberis darwinii
photo by Sally Levinson

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 fourteen on the tour is Darwin barberry (Berberis darwinii) Masses of bright orange flowers contrast with the dark green glossy leaves of this spiky shrub. The flowers are followed by shiny purplish black berries - a favorite food of birds. It is a very hardy plant, and, growing to around six feet (2m) in height, makes an attractive hedge. As the name suggests, specimens of Berberis darwinii were collected in 1835 by Charles Darwin when he was a naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle.


 Thank You!
for supporting the Spring Plant Sale
 I would like to extend our appreciation to all of you who participated in our Spring Plant Sale this past weekend and helped make it one of our most successful sales ever.  If you missed this one, please remember that we offer a wide selection of choice plants daily; in fact, we have just set up a special large selection in honor of 'Bringing Back the Natives' this weekend. Also, you will get another opportunity to enjoy the bigger event at the Fall Plant Sale on the last Sunday of September. In the meantime, I urge you to visit and immerse yourself in the wonders of the Garden.

Paul Licht, Director, UC Botanical Garden

Visit our  Spring Plant Sale website to see our wonderful sponsors.


In the Garden
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.

Sick Plant Clinic
Saturday | May 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 too! Please cover plants and disease samples in containers or bags before entering the Garden.
Free; No reservation required.

Berkeley Morris Dancers Welcome May
Sunday | May 6 | 2:30 pm
Come celebrate May at the Garden! The Berkeley Morris Dancers will perform their traditional rites of spring.
Free with Garden admission.

Garden Strollers
Wednesday | May 9 | 11 - 11:45 am
Join Botanical Garden docents and their little ones on this special tour of the Garden for parents with their children under 3 years old. This 45 minute tour will guide you around the Garden and end on the lawn for gentle play and snacks (bring your own). While geared towards the adults, understanding accommodations are made for diaper changes and enthusiastic kids. Children must be in a stroller or carrier for the tour portion.
Free with Garden Admission

National Public Gardens Day
Friday | May 11 | 9 am - 5 pm
Come celebrate National Public Gardens Day with UCBG! National Public Gardens Day is a celebration of America's public gardens and their important role in promoting environmental stewardship and awareness, plant and water conservation and education. Better Homes and Gardens magazine offers BHG readers a free admission coupon for two to visit participating public gardens on National Public Gardens Day (visit their website at for coupon). To show our gratitude for your support we'll be featuring special tours and activities throughout the day. There will be docent-led tours at 11am and 1pm leaving from The Garden Shop.
Free admission with BHG coupon.

Fabulous Flowers: Walk & Workshop for Kids
Saturday | May 12 | 10 am - noon
Take a floriferous walk through the Garden, learn about pollinators, and make a one-of-a-kind flower-themed gift - perfect for Mother's Day!
Registration recommended; drop-ins welcome; $12, $8 members.

Mother's Day Tea & Succulent Gardens
Sunday | May 13 | 10am - noon
Start a new springtime tradition with mom! This succulent garden workshop is designed to nurture her creative spirit. Enjoy a traditional cream tea in our beautiful Garden setting in celebration of mom's special day. Following your splendid tea you'll get your hands dirty! With a few choice plants, a touch of inspiration and a cute container, you can create an elegant and easy-to-care-for garden. Bring a container from home or get one here!
Registration required; $45, $40 members.

A Walk through the Garden of Old Roses
Saturday | May 19 | 10 am - noon
Join horticulturist Peter Klement for a lovely morning stroll through the Garden of Old Roses at the peak of its bloom. Discover the rose's rich historical background and listen to amazing ethnobotanical tales.
Registration required; space is limited; $15, $10 members.
Puya berteroniana
Puya berteroana

Butterfly Walk
Tuesday | May 22 | 3 - 4 pm
Join Sally Levinson, Garden volunteer propagator, docent and caterpillar lady, as she guides you through the collection in search of butterflies. Space is limited.
Children welcome. Free with Garden admission.

Members' Walk: South America
Wednesday | May 23 | 1 - 2:30 pm
Walk with Garden horticulturist Peter Klement to see floras of temperate and mediterranean climate areas of South America, featuring plants from the matorral of coastal Chile. Several Puya species are in full bloom, delighting visitors with their vibrant colors and visiting pollinators including the orioles and hummingbirds who take advantage of convenient "bird perches" provided by the plants. Registration required; members only; free.

Makin' Mead
Saturday | June 2 | 2 - 4 pm
Join the Garden and Robert MacKimmie of City Bees as we turn honey into wine! Participants will mix their gallon of mead under Robert's expert guidance, ensuring delicious results. The class will also present more advanced recipes for cyser (apple and honey wine) and melomel (fruit and honey). There will be plenty of samples to try, and everyone will go home with recipes, as well as a gallon jug of mead to ferment at home.
Registration required; $50, $45 members, $40 students.

New Members' Welcome Wagon
Sunday | June 3 | 9:30 am - 12 pm
We're rolling out the Welcome Wagon to greet all our newest members and everyone that has joined the Garden over the past year. As a thank-you for joining the Garden family we are officially celebrating your contribution. New members are invited to join us at 9:30 am for a "meet & greet" and morning treats, followed by an introduction from Garden Director Paul Licht at 10 am. At 11 am we'll take a special docent-led tour of the Garden. Come learn more about the Garden, its exciting programs, rich history and the many ways you can become involved in our Garden community. Pre-registration required; free.


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