Friday, April 18, 2008

Plant Week: My work at the Arboretum

So this was a crazy week in which every day I visited a different plant related space. We'll start out here at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum.
I volunteer to work here one or two days a week. What do I do? Well, to be honest it's all weeding. But it's not like your back yard. Selective weeding to get rid of some species and preserve others. The Arboretum is a special place, both in our hearts and in the history of San Francisco. What used to be sand dunes was changed over the last 100 years into a living museum of plants, some very rare, from around the world.
So it's a constant battle against native invasive species that are more opportunistic and threaten to choke out the precious specimens. Manipulation of nature for sure, but believe me, it's a wonder place to spend a few hours.

So back to weeding:
Here's a plot of delicate Columbines and another species I've forgotten the name of, which are getting shoked out by strawberry, Robert's geranium, ivy, spurge, and other weedy plants.

After a couple of hours on hands and knees (there are no herbicides used in the Arboretum) you can see the precious species that we are trying to promote.

The best thing about this difficult and exacting work (believe me, you don't want to accidentally pull out the wrong plant) is that you can immediately see the difference you have achieved. It's very rewarding.

Here we have a wonderful plant called the Chinese May Apple. So cute!

Here's a special feature of the area in which I work the Asian Temperate Region:

People come by all day to place flowers in this lotus pool. The Asian Temperate Region is very precious to many in the Asian community here in San Francisco.

Here are special Asian primrose varieties which I have saved from strawberry thatch about a month ago. Now they can get some sunlight and blossom. As you can see there's still a patch of strawberries above them just waiting for me to get out of there.

Acer palmatum dissectum var. atropurpureum:

A lovely and rare weeping cherry species:

Two amazing Viburnum species:

This one next to a delicate Magnolia stellata in bloom.

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