Dr. Lew Feldman, Garden Director Cones, such as found on pine trees, serve to protect the developing seed. Sometimes too, pine cones function in dispersal of the seeds. Because of their often large sizes, it takes a lot of energy (photosynthate) to make a pine cone. Thus, if there were no seeds inside, it would…

Deepa Natarajan, Program Coordinator It’s Tea Time! For at least the past 15 years I’ve been working on my masala chai recipe. ‘Chai’ is a general word for “tea,” meaning an infusion of the young leaves of the Camellia sinensis. Camellia sinensis has a remarkable history, perhaps one of the more infamous tales is of…

Jason Bonham, Horticulturist What if you wanted the vigor of a wild plum with the large sweet fruit of a farmer’s market plum? With the magic of grafting, you can have both. Grafting is a horticultural practice in which a branch or bud of one plant is attached to another plant. Practically every commercially available…

“Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all – Emily Dickinson Dear Friends of the UC Botanical Garden, This Earth Day at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley, we are all practicing resilience. Our Garden is…

Dr. Lew Feldman, Garden Director Of the many products obtained from plants, one often overlooked as having a plant origin is cork. Cork forms part of the bark of many trees, but is most often associated with one tree, the cork oak (Quercus suber), which is represented in the UC Botanical Garden by a planting…

Sophia Warsh, Horticulturist In early March, before the coronavirus pandemic upended our lives, Assistant Curator Clare Loughran and I headed to Shoshone, California, for a Jepson Herbarium workshop called: Botanical Islands in the Northern Mojave Desert: Exploring the Flora of the Amargosa River Basin. We were lucky to travel with expert botanist Sophie Winitsky, who…

Dyeing Easter eggs with plants is a tradition I look forward to each year at the Garden. It’s one of our beloved Family Programs and this year, since we can’t meet in person, I thought we’d deliver a tutorial to your home. These beautiful photos were taken by my friend Aya Brackett for Jenni Kayne’s…

As rain began to wash across the Garden this morning, the smell of freshly wetted pavement snapped me back in time…back to being a kid, enjoying the simple pleasure of playing in the rain. This nostalgic moment set me to pondering how central scent is to the experience here – or at any garden for…

Dr. Lew Feldman, Garden Director Aspidistra elatior (the cast iron plant) was a popular houseplant in Victorian England and was often considered a “symbol of middle-class respectability.” After gas lighting was introduced to illuminate homes in the late 19th century, Aspidistra was often the only plant that could be grown successfully indoors, leading to the…

Greetings to our distant, yet dedicated, Garden community! I have the privilege of coming into work during this strange and liminal time to assure the collections are cared for, yet it saddens me to know that you are missing these ephemeral moments of beauty. I hope that these photos will bring back some fond memories…

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