Autumn is the best time to plant California native perennials, shrubs, bulbs and wildflower seeds.
Since native plants have spent generations adapting to local growing conditions, they are great additions to home landscapes—and one that can save you time and resources. Native plants are rarely invasive. They support local wildlife—birds and butterflies depend on them for food shelter and nesting. And most of all they are beautiful.
Undergraduate students have come to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden for a plant systematics and evolutionary biology workshop August 11 through 21, 2012.
The workshop offers students a hands-on plant science learning opportunity—from collecting and making plant specimens to DNA extraction to working with the scanning electron microscope to analyzing the data that result from such a project.
Students have come from colleges and universities in Indiana, Arkansas, Texas and Southern California, as well as international students from Namibia and Venezuela. Professors Lucinda McDade and J. Mark Porter are leading the workshops and Kristen Hasenstab-Lehman, CGU doctoral candidate, is serving as the teaching assistant.
The intensive 10-day workshop will focus on the types of research questions and methods used in reconstructing evolutionary relationships in plants. Topics to be covered include: DNA extraction and sequencing methods, scanning electron microscopy, anatomy and morphology, field collection techniques and herbarium curation. Participants will learn to use Internet tools (e.g., GenBank) and software packages to gather, process and analyze phylogenetic data.
The workshop is made possible through funding provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has ranked Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s oak collection as 28th largest collection of rare or endangered oaks in the world.
The survey identified 3,796 oak records from 198 institutions in 39 countries. RSABG’s collection of oaks was deemed a significant botanic garden collection by assigning a score for each taxa within the garden’s collection and the number of unique or rare collections.
Read more about BGCI’s global survey of ex situ oak collections at their website.
The intention of “Processing Seeds of California Native Plants for Conservation, Storage, and Restoration,” by Michael Wall and John Macdonald might be encapsulated with the well-placed quote in the manual’s brief preface.
The editors selected an excerpt from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s 1961 “Seeds, The Yearbook of Agriculture,” that concludes with an apt description of the humble seed’s purpose—“Seeds are containers of embryonic plants, the embryos of a new generation.”
The beauty of California lies not only in our remarkable flora, but in its people as well. For the indigenous peoples of the region, native plants often became cultural pillars.
The gift shop at the Garden is now featuring traditional willow and wiregrass baskets and clay pottery hand made by Pai Pai and Kumeyaay Indians tribes in Baja California, Mexico.
Claremont High School students dove into fieldwork at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden this year. Now the group of 40 juniors and seniors in Carly McKean’s International Baccalaureate Environmental Systems and Societies classes are planning a celebration highlighting their research at the Garden on Friday, June 4, 2010, at 3:15 p.m. at the Garden.
The students’ research involved monitoring chaparral and dessert habitats at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. McKean asked the students to create experiments that involved two ecological tools that allow scientists to measure the abundance of organisms in an area. Projects included transect and quadrat studies to monitor the impact of introduced weed species on native plant biodiversity. The students will report on their findings to date. This is the beginning of a long-term study that will be continued in years to come by McKean’s students.
“Outdoor field studies is especially suited to engage students in science,” says Director of Education Lorrae Fuentes at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. “Observations made in the field stimulate students to produce their own questions. The results of these inquiries are often unexpected, but rarely are they uninteresting. Ultimately students gain skills and understanding needed to critically evaluate the important current issues in science and the environment.”
“This [the Garden] is such an amazing resource for us,” says McKean.
April 22, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary for Earth Day. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is celebrating Earth Day by offering Southern California gardeners 10 simple tips to help make green thumbs even greener. By using California native plants, local gardeners can reduce water bills, spruce up their garden and invest in their local environment.
“Native plantings in the landscape work with our hot dry climate without requiring a large input of resources in the way of water, pesticides or fertilizers,” says Director of Horticulture Susan Jett at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. “But the real selling point is their incredible beauty and habitat value.”
According to The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California typical landscape irrigation in hot, dry areas can account for 70 percent of the summer water use for single-family homes. These 10 steps can help reduce water usage in the garden.
The Garden was named LA Weekly’s “Best Place to Grow your Own” in the publication’s “Best of L.A. 2010” edition. The private, non-profit botanic garden is dedicated exclusively to California’s native plants. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) also operates two native plant nurseries, one in Claremont and a second in Westwood, Los Angeles.
Jedd Birkner wrote in LA Weekly “See what would actually be growing here without watering before we arrived and started pouring asphalt and laying down PVC. Then go to the adjacent Grow Native Nursery. Buy it. Plant it. Save water. Save L.A.”
An active partner with the California Native Plant Society, RSABG displays about 2,000 taxa of California plants and has several conservation programs, including one of the largest herbariums in the U.S., an extensive seed conservation program and a living collection that includes tens of thousands of plants.
RSABG has been affiliated with The Claremont Colleges since 1951 when the Garden operation was moved to Claremont from Santa Ana. Claremont Graduate University’s Botany Program is based at the Garden.
Read more about the award at LA Weekly’s website.
You'll never look at the desert the same way!
The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt is a citizen science project of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) funded in part by grants from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Bureau of Land Management.
Teams of botanists and amateur plant detectives venture out into public lands across the state to record rare plant occurrences.
- Botany Students Land Research Grants
- Fraga Awarded 2010 Switzer Fellowship
- Rare Botanical Folk Art Revealed
- Curating the plant specimens of the Thorne collection
- New articles by Professor Prince
- RSABG Research Welcomes Visiting Scholars
- Sorting out the Ruellieae Family Tree
- 'Reimagining the California Lawn'
- Claremont Unified School Board honors RSABG
- 2011 Volunteer Service Awards
- Columbus Advances to Professor of Botany
- BCM Foundation Grant Helps Kids Get Outdoor Education
- RSABG Scientists at 2011 Botany Conference
- Solarization of Fay's Wildflower Meadow
- Make Room for Wildlife
- Botany Students Earn Grants
- Botanist Recognized for Outstanding Scientific Presentation
- Native Landscapes: The Albrigos
- California Native Plants: Poodle-dog Bush
- Lenz Sculpture Collection
- RSABG Hosts Invasive Plants and Pathogen Workshop
- Post-Doc Earns National Geographic Society Grant
- A Manzanita Lost and Found
- Searching for the Plant Families
- Two New DIGG Awards
- Botanists Travel Briefs
- Plant Safari
- CPC Annual Meeting 2012
- New Student Grants and Visiting Scientists
- David Rogers' Big Bugs
- Horticulture and Propagation of Native Plants at the Garden
- The Mediterranean City Conference 2012
- USFWS 2011 Recovery Champion
- Wall Awarded Important Conservation Award
- Volunteer in Angeles National Forest
- Botanizing Around the Globe
- Become a Fan of Getting Native
- Bumper Crop of Interns at the Garden
- Porter and Morawetz NSF Grant Awards