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October 18, 2004

UCSC Arboretum offers lecture series for 'The Thoughtful Gardener'

By Flora Ling, UCSC Arboretum

Gardening is a contemplative, thought-provoking experience. No gardener who sees the seasons change--the gentle passage from seed to plant, flower, and fruit, and finally to decline--can help but wonder at the process.

Each task, from planting to pruning, fertilizing to composting, brings to mind questions about how to tackle the situation. Some may even question why they garden at all.

Beginning this month, a series of provocative lectures at the UCSC Arboretum will please the thinking gardener.

Leading experts and professionals who have thought, written, and attempted to answer these questions will discuss such topics as gardening heroines, aesthetics, history, and design. Thoughtful gardeners will find that others have walked the paths to solutions in the garden.

The first in the series of benefit lectures features Betsy Fryberger, curator of prints and drawings at Stanford University's Cantor Art Center. She will talk about "Three Heroines of the Garden: Gertrude Jekyll, Beatrix Farrand, and Vita Sackville-West." These three grand ladies of the garden world shaped our artistic sensibilities through their creations. About a century ago, each contributed ideas and gardens of lasting substance that inform our current idea of what constitutes a fine garden. She will highlight their accomplishments with slides of Jekyll's restored garden at Upton Grey, of Farrand's Dumbarton Oaks, and of Sackville-West's Sissinghurst. She will also discuss their differing literary endeavors and fascinating personal lives.

Other lecturers in the series will offer knowledge ranging from the practical, as in principles of design, to the horticultural, as in details of the beloved geranium family or native monkey flowers, to the historical, as in memorable California gardens. There will be something to provoke the most avid gardener as he or she contemplates weeding that stubborn patch in the corner. Hearing a paleobotanist talk about the fossil record, you may find yourself thinking about long-gone forests that stood where your garden now lives.

The lecture schedule runs until June 2005. All lectures are Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the Horticulture II Building at the Arboretum. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for Arboretum members and guests. For more information, call (831) 427-2998 or visit the Arboretum web site.

October 24: Betsy Fryberger, "Three Heroines of the Garden: Gertrude Jekyll, Beatrix Farrand, and Vita Sackville-West"

November 21: Angel Guerzon, "Pursuing Beauty: The Evolution of a Gardener’s Aesthetic"

Angel Guerzon has won numerous awards for his fine compositions. His talk is illustrated with his personal and professional sense of the beautiful, and how this has grown and changed over the years.

December 12: Russ Beatty, "Mediterranean Gardens in California"

Russ Beatty is senior lecturer emeritus, Department of Landscape Architecture at UC Berkeley, and a consulting landscape architect in Santa Cruz. He examines the design and meaning of gardens in the context of California's Mediterranean climate with special emphasis on the resource and water-wise techniques for a vulnerable ecosystem.

January 9, 2005: Robin Parer, "The Geranium Family"

Robin Parer, an avid gardener and owner of the Geraniaceae Nursery in Marin County, has grown these plants for many years. Her expertise covers both Pelargonium and the "hardy" Geranium.

February 6, 2005: Steve Schoenig, "Common and Rare Monkey Flowers of California"

Steve Schoenig is a senior scientist for the integrated pest management branch of the California Agriculture Department and has spent years photographing the genus Mimulus all over the state. He focuses on Central Coast species and rare species from throughout the state. He is currently writing a book on the genus.

March 20, 2005: Bernard Trainor, "Garden Designs: Principles and Practice"

Trainor, a well-regarded garden designer from Monterey, spent his early career in Australia and Europe, allowing him to see California with an immigrant's eyes. His talk will focus on designing gardens by a process that calls into question the entire fabric of the location as well as the desires and personality of the gardener.

April 3, 2005: Ernie Wasson, "Public Gardens of California"

Ernie Wasson is program director of Cabrillo College's Horticulture Department. His talk will expound on the many fine public gardens in California that are worth a trip across this big and diverse state.

May 22, 2005: Judith Taylor, "Tangible memories: Californians and Their Gardens, 1800-1950"

Judith Taylor is a prolific author with a finely honed grasp of the horticultural as well as the social matrices that generate gardens rooted in place and time. Her book The Olive in California: History of an Immigrant Tree is evocative and beautiful. Her latest book is The Global Migrations of Ornamental Plants: How the World Got into Your Garden.

June 5, 2005. Steve Edwards, "The Paleobotany of California"

Steve Edwards, director of Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Berkeley, has a Ph.D. in paleobotany. His talk is an introduction to what fossil plants can tell us about California's forests and how paleobotanists read the fossil record.

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