Native Landscapes: The Albrigos

A Green Yard

When Steve and Paula Albrigo took on relandscaping, their goal was a green yard.

Not the green often used to describe environmentally friendly landscapes(although the results are certainly eco-minded), but to fill their 7,000-square-foot front yard with a mini-forest of native plants—a spectrum of green.

"I wanted people to look at our yard and say that they never imagined a native California landscape could be so green and beautiful,” says Steve Albrigo.

The result is a striking, beautiful domestic space that showcases native plants. The corner lot has been transformed from manicured turf to a carefully crafted woodsy wildscape that reminds the Albrigos of the serene mountain retreats they love.

California Native Plants: Poodle-dog Bush

Fire Follower

By Bart O'Brien

Spectacular and beautiful, this native perennial subshrub can currently be seen in great abundance in the central and western San Gabriel Mountains in the aftermath of the Station Fire. Eriodictyon parryi (formerly Turricula parryi) or the poodle-dog bush is primarily a fire follower—its seeds germinate shortly after wildfires and it may even produce flowers during its first year of growth. However, this short-lived plant is typically most spectacular in its second, third and fourth years, when it reaches its peak in both size and vigor. From late spring through summer, large, showy flower clusters appear and the plants may reach up to 10 feet tall. These are composed of hundreds of lavender to bluish, one-half to three-fourths inch long flowers. Poodle-dog bush is an important plant for erosion control and provides abundant food for native pollinators.

Garden Helps Prepare Job Seekers for Green Horticulture Jobs

Training people in the elements of eco-friendly landscaping practices with help from a grant.

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, in partnership with state, county and city agencies, is conducting a hands-on vocational training program called Water Efficient Landscaping to prepare California parolees and job seekers for sustainable landscaping and horticulture careers.

Lenz Sculpture Collection

Escutcheon, Mythical Bird, Contemplations and Silent Sentinel—all gifts of Dr. Lee W. Lenz, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden director emeritus—now comprise the Lee W. Lenz Sculpture Collection.

On October 26, 2011, the Board formally proclaimed the Lenz Sculpture Collection, consisting of all current and future pieces of artwork donated by Lenz, as a tribute to his long-time support of the art collection at RSABG.

RSABG Hosts Invasive Plants and Pathogen Workshop

The Garden Hosts Workshop to Help Public Garden Professionals Detect Invasive Plants and Pathogens

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) is hosting the Sentinel Plant Network’s western region workshop to engage public gardens, volunteers and visitors in the early detection of invasive plant pests and pathogens that threaten plant conservation efforts.

The workshop, to be held December 5 and 6, 2011, will bring together a cross section of American Public Gardens Association (APGA) member gardens from across the western U.S.

Post-Doc Earns National Geographic Society Grant

Jeffery Morawetz, The Fletcher Jones Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, was recently awarded the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration grant $20,000 for fieldwork.

A Manzanita Lost and Found

The Franciscan manzanita, unseen in the wild for eight decades, made headlines around the country when it was found.

by Bart O'Brien

“I garnered it ghoulishly in a gunnysack” said the famous California botanist Lester Rowntree of her late night procurement of one of the last wild specimens of the San Francisco manzanita (Arctostaphylos franciscana) from the Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco in 1947.

Searching for the Plant Families

Scientists have been conducting research at the Garden since 1930. Today, discoveries in the critical fields of plant systematics and evolution are forging ahead with support from the NSF, other research grants and private contributions from RSABG donors.

by Laura Tiffany

Scientists have been conducting research at the Garden since 1930. Today, discoveries in the critical fields of plant systematics and evolution are forging ahead with support from the NSF, other research grants and private contributions from RSABG donors.

Two New DIGG Awards

Diana Jolles and Jose Zúñiga, Claremont Graduate University botany doctoral candidates, have both received Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants (DDIG), a highly-competitive grant funded by the National Science Foundation.

Jolles’ DDIG grant supports her travels to the southern- and northern-most edges of the range of Pyrola picta (in the Ericaceae or Heath Family) to observe their natural history and collect specimens between June and August 2012. She will travel to the Sierra San Pedro Mártir in Baja California, the north coast of British Columbia, and the southeastern coast of Alaska. Collections will be used for genetic analyses, detailed morphological study and will be accessioned in the RSABG herbarium.

Botanists Travel Briefs

Field work furthers RSABG scientific and student research

McDade and Kiel in Costa Rica

Lucinda McDade, Judith B. Friend Director of Research and Professor and Chair of the Claremont Graduate University Botany Department at RSABG, and doctoral candidate Carrie Kiel traveled to Costa Rica in January to collect members of Acanthaceae.

Plant Safari

J. Travis Columbus, RSABG research scientist and Claremont Graduate University botany professor, and Amanda Ingram, biology professor at Wabash College, chose an excellent year for field research in South Africa and Namibia.

Earlier rains served up a terrific season for regional chloridoid grasses and consequently offered ample successful collecting trips. The three-month trek, with funding from the National Science Foundation, concluded in April 2011 with a visit to the Skeleton Coast of Namibia.