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Botanical Gardens

U.C. Botanical Garden at Berkeley

A fetching array of drought-resistant species are planted in the Entry Garden at the …

UCBG Berkeley Entry Structure by Marisha Farnsworth Photo © Alice Joyce

University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Currently on view is an inviting structure created by Marisha Farnsworth and her students from Merritt College’s Natural Building Class. The cloth textile ties are remnants provided by designer, Sasha Duerr.

Dudleya brittonii from Baja - Photo © Alice Joyce

The soft hue and fleshy foliage of Dudleya brittonii from Baja California caught my eye. Succulents like beautiful Dudleyas appeal more and more to gardeners looking for plants with low-water requirements.

The botanical garden is truly a living museum, with a global collection comprised of wild collected plants from the Americas to Asia, the Mediterranean to Australasia to Southern Africa. You’ll see rare cycads – architectural plants from the age of dinosaurs, along with a trove of orchids, ferns and carnivorous plants cultivated under glass. The Tropical House is a particularly delightful destination on cool winter days, when you’ll feel transported by the warm, moist environment. Notice a Red Dot? It points out rare and endangered species.

Mantis by Patrick E. Photo © Alice Joyce

Sculpture by artist Patrick E. installed at the Botanical Garden.

Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden Footbridge Photo © Alice Joyce

Spend time in the Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden and you’ll experience a complex melding of fragrances wafting on the air. I love being enveloped by the scent in this distinctive atmosphere, and can recall how captivated I was during my first visit (when doing research on my first book), before moving to the Bay Area.

Babiana ringens – So. Africa baboon flower         Photo: Paul Licht
Canary Island Collection   Photo: Paul Licht

Savvy garden lovers can expect varied exhibitions of vivid blooms year-round: The Garden of Old Roses starts a bold display in May thru June. The Mediterranean area, South Africa and California gardens are lush from mid-April through mid-June.

South America blooms in May through June, while the Mesoamerica section is looking great in early August. Visit the Eastern North America section to see peak bloom in May for Rhodies & Trillium; around mid-summer the asters strut their stuff.
Asia has several flushes with some of the 400 Rhododendrons blooming from Feb through July. The large tree species are at their best in Feb-March.

2 comments to U.C. Botanical Garden at Berkeley

  • If southern Calif is where the southwest deserts meet the coast, then northern Calif is where southern Calif gets redwoods and doug firs…such a nice mix of plants!

  • Hey David,
    I’m still stunned by the vast plant palette that can be grown in Northern California. And UC Botanical Garden has them all on display!