Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Remarkable Australians - Native Species for Gardens

Pimlea spectabilis Photo, Melinda Kralj

The Ruth Bancroft Garden

Walnut Creek, California

Eucalyputus caesia
Photos: Brian Kemble

The Australians Part II
A Seminar & Study Tour
presented by The Garden Conservancy
& The Ruth Bancroft Garden

Seminar - Friday, July 10, 2009 at Civic Arts Education Center, Shadelands Campus, Walnut Creek
Study Tour to Santa Cruz, Monterey: Saturday, July 11, 2009
Cosponsored by Pacific Horticulture magazine
"Refreshing Your Australian Repertoire"
An impressive gathering of experts will advise and enlighten seminar participants, with Richard Turner, editor of Pacific Horticulture magazine, serving as Moderator.

As Dick told with me, some of the most knowledgeable speakers on Australian plants in California gardens are among the presenters.

Botanist Glenn Keator has spent time studying the flora in the wild. Glenn will give an overview of its diversity, some 25 to 35,000 taxa.

Curator of the Australian Collections at the Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz, Melinda Kralj has worked and traveled in Australia. She helped with the initial plantings of the Australian Garden at Cranbourne, with the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
The UCSC collection, Melinda's domain, is a magical setting where the scientific aspect of cultivating and presenting these fascinating plants takes place in a garden realm.

On a winter day when I was new to California, Melinda walked me through the Arboretum's gardens, introducing me to banksias and grevilleas, adenanthos and telopeas, boronias, correas, xanthorrhoea (grass trees) and epacris, among plants boasting architectural forms, volumetric blooms, and textures that takes center stage.
The memory has stayed with me through the years, and I'm anxious to hear Melinda's observations on how to fit Australians into our Bay Area gardens. She'll also offer ideas for mixing them with plants from other parts of the world.

Kathy Echols, an instructor at Diablo Valley College, will share her valuable experience, having gardened with Australian native plants for 20 years ago in her East Bay garden.
Kathy imported a collection of 152 new species of Australian plants to the United States in 1992, including 20 new varieties of Emu Bush, Eremophila cultivars . She is known for her expertise in propagating rare and unusual plants, both drought tolerant and tough.

Visit the links listed below for Seminar & Study Tour details,
and for additional background on speakers
Laurence Nicklin, garden designer based in Ojai,
Jo O'Connell of Australian Native Plants Nursery, Ventura.

The 2-day event promises to be engaging, informative, and
an excellent opportunity for professional designers, newbie gardeners, and hortiholics who wish to learn more about drought-tolerant choices for Bay Area landscapes.

Eucalyptus preissiana


  1. I've so enjoyed starting to learn about Australian plants from blogs down under; I'll look forward to your report on this seminar (I'd consider going myself, but it turns out I'm moving...)

  2. PB, Whaaaaa! Sorry you won't be able to attend. What fun it would have been to tweetup.

    Helen, these plants run the gamut, bizarre to beguiling to strangely eye-popping. If only I had more space.

    Hello Grace, bring on the flowers... can't get enough!

  3. Love that many common ones, we forget there are other exciting cultivars!

  4. Tendril!

    I am the biggst fan of Australian plants - I just can't get enough of them! Anigozanthus, grevilleas, leucadendron, banksias - I have representatives of all these in my garden and they are indestructible! And beautiful! What a great study group - you are doing such an amazing service. Let me give you a hand!
    (sound of me clapping like a 2nd grade schoolteacher)

    I'll bet you had a great time with the girls! Next time, I'm there! Except the GWA, I can't make that... but NEXT time - SWEAR!!!

  5. Oh how I'd love to go to this if it was nearer to me! I love Australian plants.

  6. Alice, what great photos of Australian plants you have posted. It's curious, I used to live in the Pacific NW and here you've written a book on the gardenwalks in that area. I'll have to give it a look. Thanks again for stopping by my blog.

  7. During dryer times like these when the state is going through water crises, it's good to see flora from Australia being highlighted, since many areas of Down Under have climates compatible with ours. And the plants are so distinctive!

  8. Susie, Eucalyptus is a such a vast genus with tantalizing cultivated varieties, it merits a good look-see for garden designers and the rest of us, too!

    Germi, your bevy of beauties are great choices for a low-water situation/climate such as L.A. BTW, Would that you had been able to join in the visit to my garden. I missed your lively presence... terribly!

    Phoenix C, I wish you were able to attend, as well, to soak up knowledge and so that we could meet.

    Alexandria, So happy to have connected. Thank you for visiting.
    When my most recent book, 'Gardenwalks in the Pacific Northwest' was published, one review from that area began by questioning why a California writer was writing about that region.
    Happily, the review ended up being quite positive! I spent years doing my homework/ research/ travel (the travel was the best part!).

    James, I agree, the seminar topic is most timely. What a bonus that the huge number of Australian taxa happen to be fascinating plants that appeal to the hortiholic nature many of us share.