It's the middle of December.

Want to visit the Bot Garden with me?

It's our time of year for magnolias.

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And some lingering fall color.


Ginkgo grow so slowly, it must have been planted several decades ago. They wanted us to enjoy it, and here we are.

I love the way the leaves decorate the Chamaecyparis obtusa (!) like Christmas ornaments.

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So Ginkgo and Hinoki cypress makes a good pair. What other plants you can put together so colored leaves falling off one plant will land on another and serve as a decoration?

I'm not sure what this is, but I like it.


This is the Fuchsia boliviana v. alba that I'm growing from seed. I was very proud of that, but Sunset says this plant will self-sow in moist conditions. Well, whatever. I sowed my own.


Montanoa leucantha.



Every year, I'm surprised all over again by how flowery it gets. Most of the year I don't even notice it.

These trees are just here to hold up the vine. Someone's thinned it out recently, probably for winter storms.



I did this. I installed those stumps as a retaining wall, and I planted those little fuchsias.


Looks like it's holding up. Yay me!

My second favorite tree.


There it is.


Restios and Protaceae. It must be South Africa.




I want this one:


This is Elegia capensis. I like it a lot. It must be the most well-known restio..?


I would keep it in a container.

Washed-up Strelitzia. Aren't they cute?


Banksia. Not from South Africa but it goes with the other Protaceae, so I'm putting it here.


It's actually growing on the other side of the park, near the moon-viewing garden.

But back to South Africa, I wanted to show you one more thing: the silver trees. Leucodendron argenteum. If I had a bigger garden...


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I actually do have some (volunteer) work to do today. Some cuttings.

The three on the right are mine, actually. (Ceanothus arboreus, unk. Arctostaphylos, Oenethera hookeri.

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And I dug some slow-release fertilizer into the irises. Iris douglasiana...very diverse native iris, used a lot in hybridizing work.


Pretty, isn't it?

But when the work is done, the strolling resumes.

Another Fuchsia boliviana v. alba.


This time I grab a couple fruit. One to eat, one to harvest seeds from. You know all fuchsias make edible fruit?

This must be Echium piniana. I'm growing Echium wildprettii from seed. It's smaller, and makes a red spire, and it's a biennial.


The Children's Garden is one of my faaavorite sections in the Bot Garden.


The woman who runs it really knows how to use different materials in interesting ways, and her style is super cottage-y. I come by here all the time for new ideas. The place is under extreme renovation. Soon, this will absolutely be one of the coolest things to see in San Francisco. And noone knows about it. It's waaay in the back of the Bot Garden where noone knows to go. I'll take you.

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The totem pole can't wait.


And there's a bit of planting already to go. It looks so easy.



You have to say that, otherwise the adults think everything's for them.

Have you seen a Casuarina stricta before?


An acquired taste I suppose. I wish they'd feature it a bit more, but it's a toughie.

The junkyard of the monestary stones. You remember me telling you about them?



Now they're being used in the Children's Garden, which is nice.

Looks like I'm not the only volunteer today.


I bet you guys can ID this south/east coast US native.


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I was shocked to learn this was a native tree.

A friend was joking with me about the Gunnera at last spring's big plant sale. She said only gay men buy Gunnera. In fact, only women with big hair bought it this year.


Hopefully the kids who spend time in the new Children's Garden will have a good time and enjoy themselves and learn to appreciate plants and gardening, and not grow up to be people who do shit like this.

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How sad.


Vandalism in the Demonstration Garden is depressingly common. I cleaned up several ruined plants today, and lots of broken glass from beer bottles, left smashed all over the patio.

Is it wrong to end on a sad note? Not really. Just as there are people in the world who nurture and cherish, there are those who smash and destroy. That's what we have. It's who we are.

Maybe you want to contemplate that mystery while you gaze into Aloe polyphylla.


Click here for a quick visit last October.


Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Is the Bot Garden the same thing as the Strybing Arboretum? Lovely tour, lots of nice plants. I wouldn't hurt them.

chuck b. said...

Yes, Bot is short for Botanical.

The Strybing Arboretum name is, sadly, falling away. The Garden's been really desperate to drum up interest in the place, but they feel noone knows what an "arboretum" is anymore. People understand "Botanical Garden" tho'.

So there are different generations of people who refer to the place by different names. Many just say "Strybing". I like Bot Garden.

Jenn said...

That aloe is fantastic!

lisa said...

Cool post! That must be a very fun volunteer job!

anile said...

Casuarina stricta is my new favorite tree. Only I've never really seen one, LOL, just the cuttings we had in class. So I have to head out to the Strybing Bot. How's that for a name? I'm used to calling it the Strybing, so I keep on with that reference.
I think I will really miss Charmaine. I loved her class and her energy. Next semester it's all Malcolm. Help!!!
Thanks for this little tour. All the plants are loving the rain right now!

chuck b. said...

Yeah, the Bot Garden, erm Strybing, is a wonderful place to volunteer. I could never have learned so much about plants in such a short time without having spent so much time there during my unemployment.

That Casuarina is back behind the succulent garden. Which looks really good right now, btw. All the aloes are in bloom. I don't know why I didn't put a picture of them up...I took several.

Annie in Austin said...

I DO want to gaze into that Aloe - what an incredible design. This is a beautiful combination of plants!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Annie in Austin said...

Forgot to say - the leaves from the East Coast tree look like Sassafras to me... never had one, but volunteer-planted one on a long-ago Earth Day.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Pam/Digging said...

Incredible aloe. Do you know what variety it is?

chuck b. said...

Hi Pam, it's Aloe polyphylla. Funny I coudn't remember that when I typed the post. But I knew it now first thing in the morning when you asked. I haven't even had coffee yet. :)

chuck b. said...

And polyphylla...who picked that name? Aren't all aloes polyphyllic...? Isn't there something special about this one...what could it be...?


Anonymous said...

That Ginko is beautiful, I work at Wayside gardens and we sell a pretty fast-growing ginko, but it still takes at least 10 years for it to come close to being somewhat impressive. I've always loved really ancient trees, my granmother lives in an old plantation home surrounded by Huge Live Oaks that had probably been there for a couple centuries before the house was built 160 years ago.