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Manzanita Newsletter

Current Issue  |  From the Archives  |  Manzanita Contents

Manzanita Newsletter
Spring, 2014
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This page describes the Manzanita, a quarterly publication sent to Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. The Friends also periodically send out an email newsletter announcing classes, plant sales, and topics of interest to lovers of California Native Plants. To sign up for the email newsletter, click here

Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden receive the quarterly newsletter Manzanita as a benefit of membership. Regular features include articles about the Botanic Garden and aspects of California plant life written by botanists, horticulturists, and other prominent native plant experts. The newsletter also includes timely information about classes, field trips, and events offered by the Friends.

To join the Friends, please see our Support the Garden page.

The table of contents page lists the titles of articles in all published issues


    Ceanothus Diversity in California
    by Dylan O. Burge
    Ceanothus is one of our best known and most ubiquitous native shrub genera: With 48 species in California, it is often a dominant component in many ecosystems. To help us understand its extraordinary diversity here, Dylan Burge, an Assistant Curator of Botany at the California Academy of Sciences, introduces us to the wild origins of the genus and the evolutionary forces affecting it, including how and when the genus diversified, how new species evolve, and how hybridization and soil chemistry may foster diversity.

    by Bart O'Brien, garden director
    Our new director's passion for plants began even before he learned to write. Then, from undergraduate and graduate studies at UC Davis and Harvard, he "graduated" to a position as manager at Gerda Isenberg's "school" for future native plant luminaries at Yerba Buena Nursery in Woodside. He left northern California for 24 years while he worked at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, were he was deeply immersed in the flora of Alta and Baja California. His distinguished background and congenial nature make him the ideal person to lead the Regional Parks Botanic Garden into the future, and we're delighted he's here.

    In Search of a Perfect Blue: A Brief History of Ceanothus Cultivation
    by David Fross
    Ceanothus has been a prized garden genus since it was first introduced from the eastern U.S. and Central America to French gardens 300 years ago. David Fross, founder and president of Native Sons Wholesale Nursery in Arroyo Grande, traces the horticultural development of the genus in Europe and the U.S., and introduces us to three brand new cultivars that will soon be gracing our gardens.

    Beyond Ceanothus in the Buckthorn Family
    by Glenn Keator, PhD
    Most members of the Rhamnaceae, the buckthorn family, are rather drab in flower compared to the vibrancy of Ceanothus. But California is home to a number of beautiful and garden-worthy shrubs in this family, including several species of Frangula and Rhamnus.


The Garden's Role in Cultivar Introduction
By Stephen W. Edwards, Ph.D.
From Volume 5, Number 3, Fall 2001

Over some seventy years now, California's four large native botanic gardens--Rancho Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, U.C. Berkeley, and the Regional Parks--have played vital roles in the introduction of native cultivars. These great gardens have joined a number of private nurseries in this endeavor.

Most cultivars are clones, in other words they involve genetically identical plants reproduced vegetatively. A cultivar may begin as a selection made in the field, for instance an unusually floriferous individual that really stands out from run-of-the-mill examples of a common species. Or it may begin as a hybrid individual that unexpectedly appears in a garden setting where two species that could never have a chance to interbreed in the wild are growing together. A cultivar could even begin as a mutant new branch with unusual foliage on a tree that hitherto seemed unremarkable. . .

For the complete article click here

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The Role of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in the Preservation of Rare Plants
By Joe Dahl
From Volume 3, Number 2, Summer 1999

With the coming of warmer weather the perennial and deciduous plants of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden have emerged. The warmer weather has brought an increase in visitors who are lured by the pleasant weather and the new, lush, late spring growth that appears to have renewed the Garden. Beds that appeared empty over the winter months are now covered in leafy mounds and flowers of many colors.

Lately, I have been approached by Garden visitors who wish to compliment the staff on the wonderful appearance of the Garden. It occurred to me that there are aspects of the Garden beyond its obvious beauty that many visitors may not be aware of. Not only does the Regional Parks Botanic Garden house an extensive collection of California native plants, but many of the plants in the collection are listed as rare or rare and endangered by the state of California. In the Garden are also examples of plants that have become extinct in the wild...

For the complete article click here


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