Out Of The Ordinary Trees and Shrubs At The San Diego Botanic Garden

Tecoma stans 'Gold Star' is a shrub that blooms constantly in a warm climate.  From Texas. 
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Here's the Tecoma with a robust 6'x6' 
Agave americana and a quartet of variegated Yuccas:
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Schotia brachypetala, a flowering tree from Zimbabwe south to the East Cape district of South Africa.  It varies in height from 15' to 70' (5-22 meters);  the San Diego example was about fifteen feet tall .   
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The Schotia with Alluadia procera:
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Nice design here:  a large urn under a limbed up, variegated Oleander, with black Alocasia in the foreground.
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The Artichoke is decorative as well as edible.
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My old buddy Cistanthe (Calandrinia) grandiflora:
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A path lushly lined with foliage.  A shady spot to rest.
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Sesamothamnus lugardii, a caudiciform shrub native to sub Saharan Africa.   
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Aloe microstigma colors up vividly when stressed. 
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A large and thriving hybrid Agave, 'Blue Flame'
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There were some sculptures scattered around the garden.  I liked the copper tiles on this one.  
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A gate done with this technique would be very cool, don't you think?
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Asparagus fern popping out of a dead stump.  A weed in our area, but decorative.  
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Various Restios caught my attention.
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This rabbit was fearless, for a rabbit.  It seemed accustomed to garden visitors.
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The garden has a lot of lesser known trees, and some are very beautiful.  This Podocarpus latifolius is less common than the one normally seen in our region, P. gracilior, but is no less beautiful.  It might even be a little more beautiful.
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Another beautiful tree, now in bloom, is the Cape Chestnut, 
Calodendrum capense.  There's a much larger specimen at the Huntington, but this one, though smaller, looked happy and healthy.
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A Cycad I don't see often,  Ceratozamia latifolia.  It was somewhat burnt by our recent heat wave.
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The new--flowers?  leaves?--emerging from the soil were unusual:
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Another choice little tree, Acacia pendula:
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The wonderful Cork Oak, Quercus suber, and its delightful texture.  There are a group of about eight or ten of them near the garden entrance. 
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Dracena draco, always a favorite:
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A palm in bloom.
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And Thevetia thevetiodes.  A small tree from Puebla and Oaxaca states of Mexico.  Big yellow flowers. 

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A tree for the garden is a big commitment in time and space, and sometimes in maintenance, and sometimes also a big commitment in purchase price.  Seeing many wonderful and out-of-the-ordinary trees growing happily can remind us that we can be a little more adventurous in our tree choices while still finding success.


  1. I love cork oaks wish I had space for one. Your next project should be a copper gate, think it would look amazing.

  2. I thought long and hard about a Cork Oak, ended up going with the native species since they were sprouting in the garden. I'd still love to have a suber, though. Maybe in the back...

    The copper gate is on the list, which grows ever longer.

  3. It must be difficult to be a director of a botanic garden; the locals will want to see the exotics, while on the other hand the out-of-town visitors would like to the native plants. I enjoyed seeing these trees which I wouldn't have otherwise and I liked also seeing new combinations for the natives. Thanks for the photo tour.

    Hmmm .. is that your pet rabbit you bring along for those photos or do you wear a rabbit attractor?

    1. This place had both natives and exotics--a most excellent thing!

      The rabbits follow me to find out where the roses are, so they can eat them to the ground.

  4. Great pictures. I don't think I've ever seen a cork oak before - it's wonderful! I'm still looking for Agave 'Blue Flame' - maybe OC Succulents will have it when I visit next...

    1. I see them everywhere, but it took a long time to find a 'Blue Flame' that wasn't all bashed up, and small enough to be inexpensive. For some reason they apparently must be abused before they can be sold.

  5. I really must get back here--my last visit was back in he old days when it was Quail Gardens..late 70's I think. Lovely photos Hoov !

    1. It makes for a good visit. Lots to see.

  6. OH my!!! This is one superb series of photographs. What a fantastic collection of plants. Love, love, love the texture of the Cork Oaks. They really are living sculpture. I'm especially in love with the sixth shot down of the urn with the colocasias... just wonderful.

    1. Thanks. The urn really makes that scene, doesn't it? Wouldn't be as good without it.

  7. Great visit - I need to fit that garden in next So Cal visit. If I werent so busy, June would be perfect - the heat you get for a short time is the amount of cool we get right now! I like your approach on choosing your native oaks that regenerate, but a cork oak might be great for it's own spot...they do blend in nicely in your region.

    1. So many plants, so little space...

  8. Most everything you show would be out of the ordinary for us.

  9. Wonderful copper tiles -- and the little creature too.

    1. I thought that one was beautifully crafted. Craftsmanship doesn't seem to be a high priority nowadays.


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