Sept. 30, 2004
The back of the dragon
by AMY STEWART
THE HUMBOLDT BOTANICAL GARDEN FOUNDATION'S annual symposium is Saturday. If you have not registered already, there is still time. Each year, the foundation sponsors a day-long event on a topic of special interest to North Coast gardeners.
This year the focus is on Pacific Rim plants. Because California natives, with their subtle beauty and low maintenance needs, do well in Asian gardens, plants native to the North Coast will be emphasized as well.
Karen Angel, HBGF executive director for garden development, explained the decision to focus on Pacific Rim plants. "I chose the theme for this year's symposium because I've always been intrigued with the mythology of the dragon, this really wondrous creature who represents the surface of the earth," she said. "Last year we explored the five Mediterranean climates of the world, and I just thought that we could take another regional approach, starting where we are, and in San Francisco, and going around the Pacific Rim. Those plants are very adaptable to our climate also."
Scot Medbury, director of the San Francisco Botanical Garden at the Strybing Arboretum and the Conservatory of Flowers, will give a talk, "Cultivating San Francisco's Botanical Gardens in the New Millennium." Over the past 25 years, he's worked at botanical gardens in Great Britain, New Zealand, Hawaii, California and the Pacific Northwest. "Scot Medbury is just a star among people in the world of horticulture," Karen said, adding that he comes through the area frequently, and the foundation was fortunate to schedule the symposium at a time he could be a speaker because he is so in demand.
Daniel Kenneth Harder, the director of UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, also will speak on plants in Vietnam. He has traveled the world doing botanical field research. In Madagascar and Ghana, he worked on a project to collect 10,000 samples of plants that may have anti-cancer or anti-AIDS properties. He's also done extensive research in Vietnam, including a National Science Foundation project to inventory threatened plants in the country, and a National Geographic Society project to inventory plants in unexplored areas. His talk is, entitled "Botanical Treasures of the Northern Highlands of Vietnam," and will include photographs of some of the plants.
"Daniel is one of the great contemporary plant hunters in the world," Karen said. "Dan also has family here, and we've been in touch for years. He's very enthusiastic and has stepped forward to assist us in our plant collection. Because Dan and Scot are both directors of major botanical gardens, it's so nice to have a connection with them. I hope people will take the opportunity to come learn from them, and also from some of our local experts."
Among those is foundation president Larry Moss [photo at right], who has a particular interest in rhododendrons and other Asian plants. He'll talk about the Temperate Woodland Garden at the Humboldt Botanical Garden, which is funded in part through the Moss family's contributions. His talk is called "Asian Woodland Plants in the Humboldt Botanical Garden."
Finally, Peter Haggard [photo at left] of the California Native Plant Society will give a talk called "Maintaining the Dragon -- Landscaping with Pacific Northwest Native Plants." Haggard, who has served as an agricultural inspector in Humboldt County since 1972, will augment his talk with photographs of his native plant garden in Fieldbrook.
Master Gardeners can receive six hours of continuing education credit for attending the symposium.
The symposium runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Humboldt Area Foundation Conference Center, 373 Indianola Road, Bayside. Lunch will be catered by Roy's Place Italian Restaurant. Registration is $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers, and lunch is $8. To reserve a space, call 822-2724.
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In other HBGF news, mark your calendar now for the Native Plant Installation Day planned for Saturday, Nov. 13, rain or shine, at the Wildberries Natural Riparian Area in the Humboldt Botanical Garden. It's a great chance to mess around in someone else's garden and make a contribution towards getting this garden under way. Call Karen Angel at 822-2724 to sign up.
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Oh, and good news for those of you who have been grumbling about the HBGF Garden Tour being held in September, when some plants are past their prime: The next tour is planned for June.
garden-related announcements and news to Amy Stewart.
© Copyright 2004, North Coast Journal, Inc.