Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

Did you know there was once a movement to create a large botanical garden in metropolitan Los Angeles?

The Kew Royal Botanic Gardens uncovered records and letters about this garden in their archives and writes about the garden on their website. They tell the story of California naturalists who started a non-profit organization and who purchased 3,200 acres of land in the Santa Monica Mountains. The organization planned to use 800 acres to create a public garden and research center. The remaining 2,400 acres were to be sold as residential property. The proceeds were to fund the garden.

Called the “California Botanic Garden”, the garden opened in 1928. The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression forced the garden closed in 1935. The garden and the surrounding land was sold and both were eventually enveloped into what is now L.A.’s Brentwood community.

What happened to all the plants?
Find out in The Forgotten Garden on Kew’s website.

You Might Also Enjoy This from the Teaching & Learning Archves

Public Perception of Botanical Gardens

Reminder: The weekly teaching & learning column is on a brief publishing break. This break will continue through June.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy revisiting selected articles.

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Sustainability: Supporting long-term ecological balance.

— Dictionary.com

What does sustainability mean to you?

In this issue of Plants, Life, Riverside we talk about achieving sustainability in an urban setting with Taher Bhaijee, a recent graduate of UC Riverside and co-founder of SustainRiverside.org, a new resource that will show residents how to adopt new approaches to living.

SustainRiverside.org is well on its way of becoming an informative resource for the residents of Riverside, CA. The soft launch for the site occurred earlier this month during Earth Week. Currently the site features a long list of sustainability events happening in the city. Soon new posts and videos will be added every other Monday.

Visit SustainRiverside online and you will see that the organization has laid out its objectives clearly. Taher is actively working with community groups to achieve the following goals:

    Community Goal
    To develop Green Teams in every neighborhood in Riverside.

    Energy Goal

    To reduce peak load demand by 10%.

    Food Goal

    Create 5% increase participation in community gardens.

    Water Goal

    To reduce Riverside’s water consumption by 20%.

    Waste Goal

    To reduce Riverside’s waste by 20%.

    Health Goal

    To reduce obesity rates by 20%.

    Transportation Goal

    To increase ridership on public transportation by 50%.

I spoke with Taher about some of these goals. I asked him to explain what a Green Team is and what such a team should strive to accomplish in their respective neighborhoods. Taher explained that his idea of a Green Team is modeled after the Wood Streets Green Team, an established team of residents actively involved in helping other residents achieve a sustainable lifestyle. They conduct workshops, involve themselves in city issues and support related groups in the city. Taher hopes to establish a Green Team in each of Riverside’s 26 neighborhoods.

Another objective of SustainRiverside is to increase participation in community gardens by five percent. What does this 5% look like?

Taher explained that by “five percent”, he means 5% of Riverside’s population. The city has a population of 300,000 residents, so he hopes to get at least 15,000 residents involved with existing and future gardens. Taher hopes the involvement with community gardens will encourage residents to lead healthier lives. He says that his work at the UCR Community Garden cleaning, watering and growing vegetables taught him how to live more sustainably and taught him how to live more healthfully. 

Recruiting 15,000 residents may sound like a bold goal, but it really isn’t that outrageous. Especially given the success of the recent Grow Riverside conference, a conference about urban agriculture and the development of a sustainable food system in the city. Taher says he hopes SustainRiverside can play a role in communicating the efforts of all parties involved in the Grow Riverside movement and to communicate these efforts through one platform.

SustainRiverside is making great strides reaching out to the public and showing people how they can live more sustainably. The next lesson in sustainability is scheduled for May 17, 2014. On this day SustainRiverside and the Wood Streets Green Team will embark on a progressive bus tour to promote community, public transportation, local businesses and recycled art. Bus tour participants will meet at a local bus stop, board the bus together and then visit the Riverside Farmer’s Market in downtown. They will then go to Tio’s Tacos to eat lunch and to view the gallery of recycled art.

Would you like to join the progressive bus tour and learn more about SustainRiverside.org? Contact Taher Bhaijee or visit SustainRiverside on Facebook.

About Taher Bhaijee

Taher has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in History and has been actively involved with sustainability efforts around UC Riverside. As President of Sustainable UCR, he worked on projects such as the UCR Community Garden, the Power Rangers Program, the Recycling Proposal, the Composting Initiative, and the Grid Alternative Solarton. He is now working on Riverside-wide sustainability projects as an intern at the Mayor’s office. He hopes to build a healthier and greener Riverside.

Who else is working on creating a greener Riverside? Take a look.

Related Articles

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Northern California Readers, click image to download flyer.

Northern California Readers, click image to download flyer.

The Gardens at Heather Farm will host their annual Mother’s Day event on May 11, 2014 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at The Gardens on 1540 Marchbanks Drive in Walnut Creek.

Relax and enjoy soothing music provided by InSteel Caribbean Steel Drummers.

Bring a blanket and have a picnic in the Meadow Garden, stroll along the winding paths of 24 unique gardens, or simply sit on a bench and soak up the natural beauty of the breathtaking surroundings.

Storytelling sessions will be held in the Gazebo at 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm. There will also be root beer floats for $3 and fundraising prizes. Tickets will be available for purchase on the day of the event.

The craft activities for all ages and gift items for sale by local Bay Area artists are not to be missed!

All proceeds from this event support garden programs for youth, adults, and persons with disabilities.

Directions to The Gardens at Heather Farm

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Earth Day at Gilman Historic Ranch and Wagon Museum

The Earth Day celebration at Gilman Ranch is less than two weeks away. You are invited to come out to the ranch on April 12, 2014 to participate in fun family activities, learn about the Gilman family, visit the wagon museum, learn about the environment and listen to presentations by guest speakers. Click on the image to download the new color flyer.

Share the flyer with friends, family and your favorite teachers and librarians.

Who will be at the ranch? Take a look!

Educational Exhibitors

  • View a hybrid vehicle from the South Coast Air Quality
    Management District.
  • Learn about fire fighting history with the Fire Memories Museum.
  • Discover local wildlife with Hidden Valley Nature Center.
  • Learn about composting with Riverside County Waste Management.
  • “Leave No Trace” Outdoor Ethics with the Bureau of Land Management.
  • Discuss local conservation efforts with the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District.
  • Discover eco-friendly pest control solutions by ECOSKAN Pest Solutions.
  • Find out how the Western Riverside Council of Governments strengthens communities in western Riverside county.
  • Get to know the Banning Community Advisory Committee

Family Fun Activities

  • Newspaper Pots (seeds and soil donated by Cherry Valley Nursery)
  • Accidental Foods & Potato Sack Race
  • Go on a tour of the Gilman ranch house
  • Enjoy a short walk on the nature trail (~ 1 mile)


  • Inland Solar
  • My Tickle Bee Beauty (soaps, oil, bath and body)
  • SunnysideLOCAL Produce and Nursery (jams and prepared foods)
  • Sew Hot Mommies (crocheted, sewn, and hand-crafted items)
  • ArtPlantae (books and supplies about plants, environment, art)


  • Big Dev’s BBQ

  • Community Survey

    Would you like to see a community garden in Banning? Come to the ranch and let your voice be heard.

    Guest Speakers

    • Dr. Mark Hoddle, Center for Invasive Species, UC Riverside
    • Jan Kielmann, 123 Farm, Cherry Valley (medicinal plants)
    • Tania Marien, ArtPlantae, Riverside (The Ambonese Herbal)

    Schedule subject to change

    Earth Day at Gilman Historic Ranch and Wagon Museum

    Saturday, April 12, 2014
    9 AM – 3 PM

    Adults (walk-in) $3
    Children $2
    Dogs $1

    Directions to Gilman Historic Ranch and Wagon Museum

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    Plants, Life, Riverside is an ongoing interpretive project about plants in an urban setting. Where do plants live in this city of concrete, asphalt and stucco? Let’s find out.

    Landscapes Southern California Style. © 2013 ArtPlantae

    Landscapes Southern California Style

    Water is a precious commodity in southern California. It needs to be used wisely, managed wisely and conserved as much as possible. According to the Western Municipal Water District, 60% of all water used in a single family home is used to water its landscape. How can we manage this 60% as wisely as possible?

    Riverside residents can find the answer to this question at the demonstration garden on the corner of Alessandro Blvd and Mission Grove Parkway. You may have seen this garden while traveling on Alessandro. More accurately, you may have seen the large banners hanging on the corner advertising community events such as Earth Night in the Garden, native plant sales or reminders to water less during a maintenance period.

    If this is what you normally catch a glimpse of as you dart through the intersection, I invite you to explore what is behind these corner banners.

    It’s official name is Landscapes Southern California Style. It is a demonstration garden managed by the Western Municipal Water District (WMWD), the water district that serves approximately 527 square miles of western Riverside County. Built in 1989, this garden is open to the public from 10 am – 4 pm daily (except holidays). Admission is free, as are the informational flyers in the garden’s Resource Patio. It only takes one visit to this informative garden to change your thinking about water conservation.

    Upon entering the garden, visitors learn that early California settlers brought with them their taste for lush water-hungry plants. These were plants settlers grew at their previous homes located in high rainfall areas in the eastern United States. These types of plants were not practical choices then and they are not practical choices today, especially given the severe drought conditions in California. Fortunately, the WMWD demonstration garden presents homeowners with several water-wise alternatives.

    Created by the WMWD with assistance and expertise provided by the University of California Cooperative Extension, the garden presents many ideas about how to create a California style garden that is beautiful, useful and healthy, while conserving water and saving homeowners time and money. Garden visitors can see examples of water-wise plants as they walk through the garden.

    Demonstration showing how to make water-wise landscaping decisions around a family patio.

    Demonstration showing how to make water-wise landscaping decisions around a family patio.

    They can also learn about irrigation, learn about the water cycle, and see an example of how to place water-wise plants around a patio.

    One visit to the garden is almost certain to lead to many more visits because of the range of learning opportunities provided by the water district and local organizations such as the Riverside County Master Gardeners, the California Native Plant Society, the Iris Society and many others.

    The Riverside County Master Gardeners work closely with the water district and host most of the educational events in the garden. They teach nine workshops per year, each drawing about 70 people. On the days they teach, up to 200 people visit their information table. The Master Gardeners now lead tours of the garden Wednesday through Sunday. To schedule a tour, download a request form on the Master Gardener’s website or the WMWD website.

    If you’re interested in attending one of the free garden workshops presented by the Riverside County Master Gardeners and WMWD, here is a schedule of upcoming workshops:

      Creating a Pet Safe Garden
      April 12, 2014 at 11 AM
      Presented by Cathy Konyn, Master Gardener

      Edible Flowers in Your Garden
      April 12, 2014 at 11 AM
      Grow edible flowers that can add unique touches and flavors to food and drink. Presented by Jean Weiss, Master Gardener and UCR Botanic Gardens lecturer.

    Local residents can also look forward to events such as Experts in the Garden scheduled for June 14, 2014 and the California Friendly Landscape Training class that takes a watershed-sustainability approach to gardening. The WMWD recently received funding for a customer handbook about how to be water-wise while living in a watershed. The effort to create this handbook will be led by WMWD horticulturist, Pam Pavela, who explained that water districts are taking a very serious approach to water management in the Santa Ana Watershed. Local water districts are working with the Santa Ana Watershed Protection Agency in an integrated planning effort titled One Water, One Watershed that addresses the water management issues for this region of southern California.

    Landscapes Southern California Style is not the only demonstration garden in the Inland Empire. Demonstration gardens can also be found in Chino, Claremont, Montclair, Perris and Rancho Cucamonga. The newest garden in the Inland Empire is the Cal State San Bernardino Water Conservation Garden featuring desert plants, native plants and plants from Mediterranean regions. Residents can learn more about each of these gardens at IEGardenFriendly.com.

    Did you know…

    • Lists of California water-wise plants are created by water districts and cities after referring to the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species, a resource containing information about the water needs of over 3,500 taxa in six different climate regions of California?
    • The Western Municipal Water District has an incentive to help residents replace their grass lawn with a more climate-appropriate landscape?
      Learn more at WesternTurfReplacement.com.
    • If you already have a water-wise landscape, you can show it off by entering Western’s regional landscape contest?

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    nybg_TheOrchidShow_2014_Page_2 The Orchid Show:
    Key West Contemporary

    New York Botanical Garden
    March 1 – April 21, 2014

    Inspired by a modernist estate garden on the island of Key West, the 12th annual orchid show is a mosaic of classic and exotic orchids. Geometric reflecting pools, soaring angular pergolas, sleek benches and orchids will delight visitors to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Weekend musical performances, a curated poetry walk and many other activities complement the exhibition.

    You are invited to enjoy the nation’s largest orchid exhibition, celebrate a NYBG tradition, and take advantage of a special offer to save 20% on an All-Garden Pass. Purchase an All-Garden Pass online at NYBG.org from March 1 – April 21, 2014 and save 20% by using the code 7120 during checkout.

    This offer is valid only when code 7120 is used online at NYBG.org. Valid for visits made March 1 through April 21, 2014. Offer subject to availability. Discount cannot be combined with any other promotional offer or previously purchased tickets. Discount may be modified or withdrawn without prior notice. Tickets are not refundable or exchangeable.

    Order tickets today at NYBG.org!

    Also See

    Plant Talk: Inside the New York Botanical Garden

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    Plants, Life, Riverside is an ongoing interpretive project about plants in an urban setting and expands ArtPlantae’s mission to encourage an interest in plants. Where do plants reside amidst miles of concrete, asphalt and stucco? Discoveries will be posted in this new column.

    RFC Crop Box

    Crop Box from Riverside Food Cooperative

    Where can you find plants in the city?

    Why in the fridge, of course. Open your refrigerator and you will find a selection of fruit, vegetables and plant-based food items such as tomato ketchup and mustard. 

    I am thrilled to launch this column by introducing you to an organization whose focus is to bring fresh, healthful food into the homes of Riverside residents.

    The Riverside Food Cooperative (RFC) is a not-for-profit organization born out of the Occupy Movement. Founder William Cobb participated in Occupy Riverside and began the food cooperative because he wanted to establish a source of organic food available in bulk for local residents.

    The Cooperative’s objective is to open a grocery store between Riverside’s historic downtown area and the University of California Riverside campus. The Cooperative is currently raising money to establish their store. The money to pay for the building, refrigerators and other construction expenses is being raised by selling lifetime memberships. 

    The Riverside Food Cooperative began as an idea and it was this idea I encountered when I visited their booth at the 2012 Riverside Neighborhood Conference in downtown Riverside. They weren’t selling memberships back then, they were only promoting their idea. Since this conference, they incorporated and became a not-for-profit organization in Spring 2013. Membership in the cooperative is a one-time fee of $300 that can be paid in installments of $10 per month. Currently the cooperative has 43 members. The RFC Board says they need 700-1000 memberships to move forward with the grocery store. 

    Because membership fees are dedicated to the establishment of the grocery store, the cooperative pays for its operational expenses in another way. They pay for these expenses by selling Crop Boxes to members. 

    For only $27 per month, members have the option of receiving a Crop Box filled with fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables. Each month the Crop Box contains 12-15 items. The day I visited the pick-up location, members were

    Crop Boxes ready for pick-up.

    Crop Boxes

    being treated to sunflower sprouts, mandarin oranges, a Meyer lemon, a Zutano avocado, leeks, spinach, broccoli, garlic, red leaf lettuce, kale, radishes, cilantro, snap peas, Etta Mae Gourmet artisan jam and Whole Chinese 5-spice ingredients.

    As I watched members come and go, I noticed that they arrived with a smile and were eager to trade the now-empty cardboard Crop Box they received last month for a new box filled with nutritious food. 

    The Riverside Food Cooperative sources their produce from local farmers. They try to get the best of local produce and aim to include 12 items in each box. The selection of produce changes with the seasons and the balance of the items comes from whatever crop is available.

    I spoke with Treasurer Sue Struthers the day I visited the pick-up location. Sue is not only the Treasurer, she is also the author of the recipe booklet included in each Crop Box. She writes a new booklet each month. Sue says that eventually the cooperative plans to host cooking classes so they can teach people how to eat healthfully, inexpensively and creatively using the food they receive from local growers.

    To encourage the recruitment of new members, the co-op offers special member promotions. This month Riverside Co-op members can receive a free crop box for every new member they bring to the co-op at the $100 or full membership level by February 16. Members can enjoy the crop box they receive, share it with a friend or donate it through the Riverside Food Co-op to Operation Safehouse.

    Learn more about the Riverside Food Cooperative on their website and on Facebook. You can also speak with them in-person at the Grow Riverside conference, a conference for local businesses and residents exploring the economic feasibility of urban agriculture. This conference will be held at the Riverside Convention Center March 19-20, 2014.

    Related Resources

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