Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Berkeley Botanical Gardens, Part 1

Part of my continuing series on our October trip to California…
The Berkeley Botanical Gardens are amazing. Seriously amazing. I took over 400 pictures, I’m not kidding! Of course they all weren’t keepers but it was a job to edit them down to “blog-able” quantity. I’ll try to do the gardens justice in the next 2 days.
The gardens were established in 1890 and currently have over 13,000 different kinds of plants from all over the world. The collection is planted in naturalistic landscapes covering 34 acres. The plantings are grouped primarily by geographic origin; nine regions (and several special collections) are represented: Mediterranean, Asia, Southern Africa, New World Desert, South America, Australasia, Mexico/Central America, Eastern North America, and California. Here is a map if you want to know more about the layout. Unfortunately the tour I am taking you on is a hodgepodge of my favorites, heavy on the Agaves and in no particular order other than the counterclockwise path we took from the entrance.

Right near the entry were these Encephalartos. So far as I can remember this is the first time I’ve seen this plant and I was instantly in love. Put this on my must have list…never mind that they are only hardy to Zone 9 (a zone warmer than mine).
Encephalartos arenarius (above and below). Like all Encephalartos, this is an African native, this one from S Africa. Like all cycads, it is a dioecious plant (separate male and female plants).
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii (male)
Encephalartos horridus
Agave macrantha
Agave macroculmis
Agave pacifica Agave parryi (so said the label, I am not used to seeing the leaves flare out like these do...which reminds me, to remind you ,that I'm doing my very best to get these names correct, if anyone sees something I've got wrong please let me know so I can correct it!)
Look at all of those pups! And what lucky gardener is going to clean the needles? They must have a special blower/vacuum just for this!
Agave sobria ssp. Roseana
Agave ferdinandi-regis, this plant is considered to be a form of Agave victoriae-reginae with a more open rosette and fewer and larger leaves (so says the San Marcos growers website)This is how they dealt with an agave that was projecting it's spike into the path, ouch!
Nolina Beldingii It was hard to tell if this was a recent accident or it had been like this for a while. And what caused it? Nolina CF. beldingii, I so wanted to cut off one of these squiggly leaves and take it home with me! (don't worry, I didn't - that would be wrong)
Beschorneria albiflora Sonoran palm Sabal Uresana
Equisetum hyemale relative in the tropical house. They were also growing outside along the building, like they had escaped! Below, fronds of Rock Palm Brahea decumbens, I loved it pared with the berries, beautiful! Mexican Grass Tree Dasylirion longissimum Mexican Grass Tree Dasylirion quadrangulatum and Nolina nelsoni I neglected to get the name of the tree, but I loved the cones… Agave wercklei
Don't know what this one is...but I love it!This beautiful agave was growing in the “off-limits” area. The bloom spike on this agave got to heavy and fell over, it didn’t seem to slow it down any.
Crassula tetragoma
Echium decaisnei Echium lusitanicum If you look really close you can see the golden gate bridge in the distance. Or at least I can see it because I know it was there, you might have to use a little imagination. Well, you made it to the end of Part 1! Tomorrow is Part 2…including my new favorite (must have) Aloe…


  1. What a great garden. I love those agaves, dasylirions, and nolinas. But I have not learned to love cycads, I'm afraid. Too bad, as several varieties grow very well here in Austin. I look forward to Part II (and Lotusland! Sorry, I had to get that in).

  2. gotta love any plant with a name like
    encephalartos horridus. the squiggly leaves are as captivating as your description. Brahea decumbens: those berries! those leaves! that great composition! WOW! can tomorrow get any better?

  3. What truly spectaculer, architectural plants! Lovce the waves of the Nolina, the sculptural "off limits" agave, the female encephalartos...If they have plant sales now THAT would be a treat.

  4. I do believe in plant love at first site. Those Encephalartos would be fine in Zone 8, right?
    I always wonder how garden photographers get the leaves and debris out of the plants they're shooting. Especially the ones that hurt. I'm always poking myself when cleaning up the agaves.

  5. Pam, no Cycad love? Why? Oh and week! But, unfortunately my photos are not very good. :(

    ricki, I do love it!

    Nicole, they do have plant sales...and you better believe that if I am in the bay Area anytime soon I will make sure it's while a plant sale is happening!

    Megan, I'm thinking the Encephalartos would have to be seriously babied but I am willing to try! I bet they use canned air...and a lot of it!

  6. I go to Berk. Bot. a few times a month, some months more. I love watching the plants from one season to the next. Helps me not to need to have every plant I love there in my own garden! LOL Though I have started collecting South American bulbs.

    I am glad you loved the Garden too!

  7. I think the plant in the "off limits" area is agave zebra.

  8. I just discovered this post (sorry I missed it earlier). Your enthusiasm is refreshing and I'd love to reward it with a nice tour the next time you visit. By the way, I've just determined that we have one of the most diverse plant collections in North America. Paul Licht, Director, UCBG

  9. AnonymousJuly 14, 2013

    from Córdoba ,Argentina I loved your ágaves an dangerous plants. Nice moment I've passed watching the fotos. Silvana.


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