Hello Friends and Family,

UCSC Arboretum, Part 4

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

As I continued to explore the Australian part of the Arboretum, I found this beautiful Banksia, specifically an Orange Banksia (Banksia ashbyi). This one really reminds me of the stunning Protea blossoms that I shared previously.

Next up is another Banksia, a bit less colorful but still quite exotic and beautiful. There was no sign posted giving me the name but an online search suggests it is a Showy Banksia (Banksia speciosa). As with all the flowers in this area of the Arboretum, it is native to Australia. According to Wikipedia, "The flowers attract nectar- and insect-feeding birds, particularly honey-eaters, and a variety of insects. In cultivation, Banksia speciosa grows well in a sunny location on well-drained soil in areas with dry summers."

I was quite surprised and delighted by the bright blue flowers of the Blue Leschenaultia (Lechenaultia biloba), also native to Australia. Wikipedia adds, "The flower colour varies from dark blue to light blue to cream, with a range of colours sometimes appearing in a single population of plants." The blossoms attract bees, butterflies and other insects.

The next flowering bush I encountered is called Magnificent Prostanthera AKA Mint Bush (Prostanthera magnifica) and it is magnificent as all the floria from Australia seems to be. The flower colors range through red, pink, purple, and mauve. Pollination is performed by bees and other insects.

This photo shows a wide range of Australian plants tastefully arranged as they might appear in a garden Down Under. There were benches in nearby strategic locations for visitors to sit and soak up the ambiance — and I definitely took advantage.

I found this bloom-laden bush most interesting — a Wedding Bush (Ricinocarpos pinifolius). As I stood there admiring the beautiful flowers, I could imagine a young Australian bride gathering flowers and stems to form a garland to wear during her wedding. They are also used for cut flowers in a vase. The blossoms are pollinated by bees, butterflies and other insects.

Nearby was this bush featuring blossoms that look like pink powderpuffs called a Dwarf Pink Bottlebrush (Beaufortia schaueri) which, as all the others, is native to Australia. It is said to attract hummingbirds.

This cascading plant is a Bush Pea AKA Hairy Bush Pea (Beaufortia schaueri) also native to Australia. It supposedly attracts butterflies, specifically the Chequered swallowtail.

This unusual flower is a Spider Flower hybrid (Grevillea banksii hybrid). I could not find much information online about this plant but is does seem to have characteristics of other Banksii and Protea. Beautiful!

Last for today is a Blue Sage (Salvia 'Costa Rica Blue'). Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with nearly 1000 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals. Curiously, they seem to be native to large portions of the Earth but not Australia. Oops, I must have walked out of the Australia area.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com