UC Berkeley Botanical Garden with Michael – 17 September 2018

Our second Footloose hike this fall was at the UC Botanical Garden in the Strawberry Canyon area of Berkeley. Here we’re doing a second circle-gather because a fair number of new hikers came on board that week. This time for a change of pace Michael had us guess where each one of us lives now and where we lived, what we were doing when we were sweet or just maybe not so sweet 16.

It’s a round the world tour without any jet lag looking at plants from almost every continent with an emphasis on the mediterranean climates – California, Mediterranean Basin, Australia, South Africa, and Chile. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/collections

Additions, corrections and life lines are always welcome!

http://berkeleyheritage.com/berkeley_landmarks/strawbcanyon.html Janice Thomas writes lyrically for BAHA Berkeley Landmarks about this part of Berkeley using ear photos and quotations from early writers about this “mountain gorge” as described by Frederick Law Olmstead.

Could it be our “footloose” name that has a number of us experiencing the “slings and arrows” of some broken toes? Michael broke his metatarsal and has needed to enjoy flip-flops on the first two hikes, Jeannie who broke her little toe a number of weeks ago has only recently has been able to get back into her hiking boots and Marjory writes that she broke her big toe and fifth metatarsal last April – “Ouch”! Recalling Pub names we might start meeting at the “Sign of the Broken Toe”.

Strange bedfellows and odd juxtapositions:
Looking over Strawberry hill from the entry of UC Botanical Garden we see that it is sharing the area with Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In between is the beautiful Stephen T. Mather Redwood Grove with trees that were planted in the 1930s. Interesting placement, a wall of Redwoods envisioned?
http://berkeleyplaques.org/e-plaque/stephen-t-mather/ An amazing site detailing plaques and e-plaques from David Brower to Richard Pryor. Don’t miss Hillary and Bill.
The national lab was established in 1931 and just prior to this the garden had been relocated from the UC Campus between 1925 and 1928 to the Such Farm location in the hills above campus. Director Thomas Harper Goodspeed and landscape architect John William Gregg directed this plant migration to the Strawberry Canyon site. . http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/timeline/1934
http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/the-garden Shows an impressive timeline of the garden with brief descriptions and old photos by years and periods.

While the garden was developing and taking shape, Earnest Lawrence was nearby building his first model for an “atom smasher”, a cyclotron with Stanley Livingston. “Lawrence would receive the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing the cyclotron. https://www.atomicheritage.org/location/university-california-berkeley
http://www2.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/history-of-lbl.html Describes both the beginnings, the development of the bombs and the transition to peaceful uses
of atomic energy in Berkeley as well as its many other areas of scientific research. Nuclear weapons development was transferred to Lawrence Livermore National Lab starting in 1952 with independent administration there in 1971.

From the info by these plants: Pitcher plants of the genus Sarracenia are native to boggy areas of the southeastern United States, with one species extending north to Canada. Insects are attracted to nectar-like secretions on the lip of the pitchers. Slippery, waxy compounds inside the pitchers coupled with downward-pointing hairs make it difficult for the insects to escape. The tubular, pitcher-shaped leaves are filled with fluid containing digestive enzymes. In spring, they produce large red or yellow flowers to attract insects for pollination (instead of dinner).

A Bouquet of Smiles

Walking through and lingering at the New World Desert. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/timeline/1932-1935 James West’s (aka Prince Egon von Ratibor) rock garden and cacti collection formed the basis of this remarkable garden. He was a pivotal player along with Goodspeed in establishing the garden on the hill. He had an equally remarkable and colorful history. https://plants.jstor.org/stable/10.5555/al.ap.person.bm000025272 He’s described as a close friend of Imogen Cunningham and an eccentric “who preferred to inhabit a tent in the garden of his (Berkeley) boarding house rather than a lodging room.”

From our visit on 16 December 2013, a close-up of an Argentine Saguaro, Echinopis terscheckil. It’s native to Catamarca Province in northwest Argentina and to the western slopes of the Andes in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Heidi takes in a Cycad. Michael mentioned that these plants preceded the dinosaurs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encephalartos http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/collections/cycad-palm-garden
http://www.cycadpalm.com/encephalartos.html This video from the Jurassic Garden website shows a remarkable variety of South African Cycad Encephalartos
(Encephalartae?) set to beautiful native African singing.
https://vimeo.com/292434530 Michael talking about how plants have hedged their bets for reproduction.

From our 2013 visit: SEA-URCHIN CACTUS, Echinopsis chiloensis, Quillota Prov., Chile It was the 75th acquisition in 1998.

A new acquisition in its bed still to be logged in.

The excitement caused by the blooming of the QUEEN OF THE ANDES (Puya Raimondii) was perhaps inspiration for our visit to the Garden (UCBG). This rare and amazing plant, the world’s largest bromeliad, planted from seed in 1990 is now blooming after only 28 years! In its austere native environment at 13,000 feet in the Andes mountains of Bolivia and Peru it usually takes almost a century to bloom.

http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/puya-raimondii This link shows the sequence of rapid growth this past year and has a short video explanation narrated by the current director of UCBG, Eric Siegel.

Looking for all the world as Michael pointed out like a tree from Dr. Seuss “The stalk can be up to 10 m. (30 ft.) tall, have thousands of flowers and set 8-12 million seeds. The Garden distributed seeds of this species in 1988 from (another) plant that bloomed here in 1986. The flowering stalk will last a couple of years, but the plant will die (after that) – it’s monocarpic, which means it flowers and sets seeds once before dying.” http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/puya-raimondii

Aeonium valverdense (Crassulaceae) from the Canary Islands of Spain. The plant was acquired in 2009 and was the 282nd acquisition that year and looking even more Seussian.

Having a picnic in the Canary Islands

We held our breath as Anne snapped a photo in the midst of these giant leaves of the Gunnera tinctoria (“Marching to Tinctoria”) but the plant was well mannered and hospitable. The sign said that it came from the Llanquihue Province of Chile. There are a number of these along a lovely walk in the San Francisco Botanical Garden.


On our way out of the Garden we stopped to see the beautiful Dawn Redwood tree (Metasequoia glyphstroboides) acquired in 1948 on an expedition to China by Ralph Woods Chaney. Dr. Chaney has a remarkable history and was a good friend of E. O. Lawrence. “… due to that acquaintance Cheney was appointed Assistant Director of the Radiation Laboratory in 1944.” http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/about/history/rwchaney.php This was written from a series of interviews with Chaney in 1958 that is a brief biography (but a long article) of this fascinating man.

http://www.quarryhillbg.org/home/quarryhill/The%20Dawn%20Redwood.pdf William A. McNamara is director of Quarry Hill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen, Ca. It’s on Highway 12 next to the Bouverie Preserve where we have gone a number of times and a remarkable visit.
http://www.icogitate.com/~tree/dawn.redwood.timeline.ac10.htm http://www.icogitate.com/~tree/bookreview/review.gittlen.dawn.redwood.htm


Without its leaves on 16 December 2013

Footloose hikers on 16 December 2013. Nearest to Michael in red is Nancy. We had a most cool potluck at her home in the Berkeley hills after our 2013 hike at UCBG.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s