Monday, June 11, 2018

Touring the UC Davis Conservatory

As I mentioned when sharing photos from Gerhard's garden, I was recently in Davis, CA, for a PacHort board meeting.

That meeting took place in the conservatory office, and lucky me, included a tour of the conservatory...

Euphorbia cylindrifolia
Euphorbia decaryi

Melocactus matanzanus, a double! 

And the regular old version.

Welwitschia mirabilis subsp. namibia

I could have spent hours in here examining all the treasures.
UC Davis Staff Horticulturalist Marlene Simon, aka "the plant lady" (in the cranberry t-shirt), led the tour and held us all in rapt attention with her incredible knowledge and entertaining stories, as evidenced by fellow board member Saxon Holt's expression.

Very few of my fellow board members had ever smelled a Stapelia flower, but they all have now, and I doubt they'll soon forget it.

Here Marlene is talking about the remarkable ability of cactus segments to attach themselves to human flesh. PacHort Editor Lorene Edwards Forkner and Secretary Monica Martin look a little unsure that this is a good idea.
Sweet! I had one of these Cleistocactus winteri for awhile. It's since passed on without ever blooming.

Moving from the arid room to one with a moist tropical vibe...

And carnivorous plants!

We were encouraged to taste the sweet, sticky, substance surrounding the pitcher of the Nepenthes, and if memory serves of the "dew" of the Sundew, Drosera binata, as well. Don't read this as an endorsement of such behavior!

The largest Staghorn fern I've ever seen was hanging in another greenhouse. Marlene told us about its being donated and how they had to break it into smaller pieces to house it it.

I've never been a fan, but this one, I would proudly call it mine.

There was more tasting (actual cocoa beans!) and exploring (exploding seeds!) done but I'm skipping over those photos (they weren't very goo anyway) to bring you...

Extended coverage of the amazing outdoor Sarracenia collection.

I was rather enthralled...

And can you blame me?

Gotta keep those special strains pure...

Such flouncy blooms!

I need to track down a white one.

That's a wrap on the conservatory portion of this visit, but I've got more from UC Davis to share in upcoming posts...

Weather Diary, June 10: Hi 58, Low 50 Precip .19”

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

27 comments:

  1. What a fun and interesting visit to a conservatory full of horticultural oddities and marvels!

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    1. It was hard to concentrate on the meeting.

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  2. A marvelous collection. I see some very enviable plants! Alas, my greenhouse is ever so much smaller.

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    1. And your staff is pretty light.

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  3. Those are some wild looking plants, especially in the dry room.

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  4. Now that's a conservatory! I feel like waving your photos in front of the gardeners at my local botanic garden and asking them why they don't cultivate such interesting specimens to get our school visitors truly excited about the conservatory. As for me, I'm coveting that Welwitschia.

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    1. I visited the Gaiser Conservatory in Spokane's Manito Park over the weekend. I was very sad to see colorful annuals taking up space in the arid section.

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  5. Truly a garden of delights. The Welwitschia was pretty cool!

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    1. And to think, only two leaves!

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  6. I expected to see a Mandrake in there somewhere (Harry Potter version) -- such wonderfully weird plants!

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    1. Never having seen Harry Potter that one goes right over my head...

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  7. A dream of a conservatory! Very refreshing that the plants all have labels. A truly amazing collection.

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  8. Well hell, if they can grow those Sarracenias outdoor is Davis I surely should be able to grow them here. They get significantly hotter in summer than I do. What an interesting collection of plants you saw , and how nice to get a tour from an insider !

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    1. I would think you'd have no problem, do it!

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  9. I am fan of Stapelia, despite the distinct fragrance (stink) of it's bloom. I've had a few different varieties, but none as magnificent as the one you showed here. Wow, it looks like an underwater creature.

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    1. I remember seeing my first Stapelia growing along the ground at the Huntington, I had the same reaction..."that belongs underwater!"

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  10. It felt like you were looking at plants from the moon or somewhere equally exotic. But I would take any of the pitcher plants in the outdoor display!

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    1. Moon plants...what a fun concept.

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  11. That collection is gorgeous - so many cool plants. I can't wait to see your take on the rest of the campus, there are so many great things to see!

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    1. Sounds like you've been. I got a tour from Gerhard too!

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  12. This is the best blog post about the Conservatory I've ever read. You remembered so many details from Marlene's tour! She's the most wonderful guide, isn't she?

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    1. She is, and I feel bad...I forgot more than I remembered. I should have done this post right away.

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  13. Wow! I had no idea that the Conservatory there was open for touring... I can't wait to try and coordinate one the next time we are in Davis!
    I knew they had plant sales as Gerhard found me a baby Mexican Blue Fan palm tree at one last year, after I had searched everywhere unsuccessfully. Gotta hit that up too!

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    1. Well, they may not actually be open to everyone all the time, but I'm sure Gerhard could swing something for you.

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  14. Oooh, that white Sarracenia is surprisingly hot! Glad you got to tour and share with us.

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