Friday, February 8, 2019

Tilden Regional Park, the one that got away

I had the opportunity to spend a sunny December morning exploring Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley, but instead I opted for a walk to The Dry Garden. Now I'm not saying I regret visiting the nursery, far from it. But had I known what Tilden had to offer, well, I may have gone there instead.

As it was we (the Pacific Horticulture Society board of directors) met up there in the afternoon and got a very quick tour. This place is beautiful...

As we drove to the park I was surprised to discover we were taking the same route as if we were visiting the Berkeley Botanical Garden, which we passed, but kept going up, up, up and eventually ended up at the park.


From their website: "The Regional Parks Botanic Garden is a naturally beautiful and tranquil living museum of California native plants. Located within Tilden Park in the hills above Berkeley, California, this enchanting 10-acre garden is a sanctuary for many of the state’s rare and endangered plants and a place for visitors to wander among trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses from plant communities throughout the state."

The Arctostphylos collection in the park was staggering. A better blogger would have remembered the specifics but eh, you get what you pay for, right?

"The living collection of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden is composed of plant species native to the state of California and to the California Floristic Province (CFP map). The CFP extends into southwesternmost Oregon and into northwesternmost Baja California, Mexico, and can be roughly characterized as the region that has a Mediterranean-type climate. This climate type is notable for its cool, moist winters and warm, dry summers. Mediterranean climates are globally rare (about 2% of the world’s land mass) and are noted global biodiversity hotspots.

Plant life in Mediterranean-type climates has a number of distinctive adaptations to living in a summer-dry environment including: small, leathery, evergreen leaves that are often covered with hairs and aromatic sticky material."

Myriopteris covillei, formerly known as Cheilanthes covillei

"A species of lip fern known by the common name Coville's lip fern. Coville's lip fern is native to California, Baja California, Arizona, Oregon, and Utah. It grows in rocky crevices in the mountains and foothills." (source)

Sexy Arctostaphylos branches...

Hey look, there's a cactus popping up into the photo! (dead center)

This guy, doesn't he look a little out of place?

Beyond that there was an entire section of Agaves and Cactus and the like. Even some palms.

Agave shawii

Long creeping Agave shawii...

Yikes, somebody lost their head, there on the left. Oh and more Agave shawii, they look better in the sun.

Check out the new spiky growth along the old woody arm.

This was puzzling. I think they must be in place to keep things dry? Berkeley had received significant rainfall just a few days earlier, I saw sand bags along Shattuck Ave as I walked to The Dry Garden.

No cover for this guy!

Self portrait...

Something special must be under those enclosed covers. Surely these don't stay in place all winter? (I emailed to try and get clarification, since I wasn't able to ask the day of our visit, but haven't gotten a reply)

Hey little guy, you okay under there?

I stuck my camera under this cover to see if I could get a shot of the protected one, but no.


This was pretty cool, Linanthus californicus, aka Prickly Phlox.

Blurry, but you get the idea.

I hope to get the chance to explore all of this park someday...

Weather Diary, Feb 7: Hi 39, Low 23/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Wow, what timing! I was at Regional Parks Botanic Garden just last Saturday, specifically to see the manzanitas. I'll have a post soon.

    Yes, this is a fantastic place. And the location! A perfect slice of paradise high above Berkeley.

    1. Were the covers still in place? Look forward to your post...

  2. Interesting to see the plants under tents in their native habitat. A special place for sure.

  3. What a place! Linanthus californicus? Yes, please. Sometimes I daydream of living in the Bay Area again....California dreaming to be sure. Especially on a day like today.

  4. Now you know about it, I'm sure you'll find a way to work in a more lengthy tour at some point. Those rain covers are interesting. The way things are going, I may need to find something like that for selected succulents.

    1. Maybe when I make it back to the Berkeley Botanical Garden again I can combine the two.

  5. Oh, that prickly phlox is interesting. I hope you get to go back some day and explore more.

    1. And fun to say too... "prickly phlox"...

  6. This is fascinating and not how I think of Berkeley at all!

  7. The place I miss most. Especially early mornings when there is sometimes fog and t'ai ch'i.
    You didn't photograph the meadow and the creek, but it does have plants from all over California, so dozens of small eco-system plots. lots to see. For spring, there is one small plot where one docent recreated prairie. It's not marked, you have to ask where it is.

    1. I didn't photograph them because I didn't get to see them. We only had a very brief time there. I can see why you miss it!

  8. The line of 'baby' growth along the woody cacti arm are cool. Look like little birds all lined up. Looks like a great place to spend a day.

  9. You always find the most interesting places to explore. What kind of camera do you use? You manage to get nice shots. In the selfie it appeared to be smaller than mine. I am looking for something smaller than what I now have to carry. There are just too many choices.

    1. Thanks! My camera is a Sony cybershot, nothing fancy. It fits in my handbag so I always have it with me!

  10. Just love the moss and lichen covered rocks in the first few pictures.

  11. Coville's lip fern--that's one I hadn't heard of. I love native plant displays, wherever they may be. I'll have to remember this botanic garden for the next time I'm visiting the West Coast. Thanks!

  12. Always good to have a few places that bear revisiting. I'm sure this peek will land this place on many such lists.


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