UCSC Arboretum: Flowers First
An Arid Climate Wonderland: A world class collection of plants from several continents can be found on the campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz. Large gardens are dedicated to the plants of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the native plants of California.
Many species of eucalyptus trees are well-adapted to the climate in California and are frequently used as landscape trees.
Eucalyptus blossoms come in a variety of colors, but share the same basic form.
There are a large number of full-grown eucalyptus trees at the arboretum, part of the earliest gifts to the university.
Many of the flowers are unfamiliar, coming from countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
Meandering gravel and paved paths wind through groves of unusual trees and shrubs.
At this time of year (early June), numerous plants were in bloom.
Although the emphasis is on desert plants, there are three small geodesic domed greenhouses containing various other tropical plants, including the pitcher plant shown here.
A small pond with sheltering canopy is a perfect environment for several species of pitcher plants.
Some of the most dramatic flowers are the proteas of South Africa. This bud is at least five inches long.
While this protea is only about six inches across, some species have blossoms up to a foot in diameter.
Even the empty seed pods of some of the plants are unusual and visually interesting.
The succulent garden contains mostly South African and native California plants. Agaves, aloes, yuccas and sedums predominate, with very few cactus.