Fall Footloose Farewell with Michael – 16 December 2013

It was an ambitious last hike starting in Southern Africa, trekking Asia, making a dash through South America, lingering in Eastern North America and finishing in the New World Desert all courtesy of the UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley. No need for passports and no jet lag. Michael was on deck throughout sharing his sage comments and observations. Warm enough for shorts, Michael intrigues us with a t-shirt of the day – this one in festive Christmas red with a Voodoo Doughnut logo. http://voodoodoughnut.com/about.php

Heading down from the parking lot to the entry kiosk. We passed by an amazing and mesmerizing Australian just as we entered the garden.

The garden is well marked but at this time of year many plants in dormancy are not “available” or very obvious, come back in the spring or summer.

We consider the possibilities and decide to avoid the Carnivorous Plant House.

Michael spoke to us about convergent evolution where plants seem similar in form and design yet have evolved separately with no reference to each other following an “independent evolution”. Here he was comparing plants of the New World Desert with those of Southern Africa.

The accordion pleats expand with adequate available water but can contract and tighten when it is scarce, think an accordion or concertina.

The deciduous redwood. http://www.savetheredwoods.org/redwoods/dawn-redwoods.php

Michael was talking about an expedition to China by Ralph Works Chaney (1890-1971) in 1947 accompanied by Martin Silverman, a science write for the SF Chronicle. They were the first westerners to see a living Metasequoia, a Dawn Redwood. Here a worker from the garden joined us for a moment to relate that Chaney was a remarkable UC professor and part of the botanical garden’s history.

Quarryhill newsletter talks of the discovery: http://www.quarryhillbg.org/page16.html

Here is Chaney’s account of this expedition and the discovery:

And a fine biographical sketch of his life: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/about/history/rwchaney.php done in May 1958.

A moment of inspiration, wonder, curiosity? We’d just seen a Fox Sparrow but there was something else as well.

UC Botanical Garden shares the greater hill with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: http://www.lbl.gov/Publications/75th/

In between, the Mather Redwood Grove, part of the garden, provides a buffer.

Monkey Puzzle Tree, Araucaria araucana: http://faculty.ucc.edu/biology-ombrello/pow/monkey_puzzle_tree.htm


Bromeliaceae, CHAGUAL PUYA CHILENSIS – Sheep-eating plant (Valparaiso Province, Chile) It is a Bromeliad with roots.

Down past the Research and Propagation buildings

Marigold bloom: http://www.offthegridnews.com/2011/06/17/medicinal-uses-of-marigolds/

Arugula in “Crops of the World Garden” with tenny.

Losing the balance and other dangers of monoculture

Asteracae MUGWORT Artemisia Vulgaris (Europe, Asia) Michael mentioned that Mugwort is a component of Absinthe, a drink with a storied history. http://www.absinthe101.com/history.html http://www.absinthesupply.com/What-is-absinthe.html


Bench promenade

Scott and Barbara

Michael’s monocot: http://www.sciencemonster.com/life-science/monocots-dicots/monocots-dicots-02.html

Heading back through the New World Desert

Cactaceae, BEAVERTAIL CACTUS, Opuntia Sp., (Sinaloa State, Mexico)

Cactaceae OPUNTIA MICRODASYS – Polka Dot or Bunny Ears Cactus (San Luis Potosi State, Mexico)

Hamish guarding the door of our wonderful potluck at Nancy Falk’s home.

The cups await some great soup but in the meanwhile some Afghan spinach bolani will do just fine.

Salads and dessert in the other room

“The naming of cats is a difficult matter, It isn’t just one of your holiday games,
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter, When I tell you a cat must have three different names” T.S. Elliot

Chris Jones, Blue on blue

Adding to the bravo moment, Armando had a meeting nearby and joined us later on. Here’s one from the archives on our Miller Knox Hike with him, was it 2009?

What’s all that green?

Hillary’s hat was a hit adding some svelte style to the day.

Three cheers for our hostess!!!

Until next time.

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