This wasn’t the first year the botanical Gardens were under snow, but this year was incredibly beautiful because the depth of snow (not too much) left the silhouettes of most of these hardy plants visible while still making the gardens seem otherworldly, bright and oh-so-quiet.
While there isn’t much chance of snow again this winter, the next time it does snow, if you get out, bundle up and come down to the botanical gardens. You will see the gardens in a whole different, gorgeous dimension!
Hover your mouse over the photos below – some have extra information!
In the Urban Forest, Earthstone by Colleen Barry is even more beautiful, from every angle, surrounded by white. Around Earthstone are native plants, including Alnus rhombifolia White Alder, looking ethereal in the snow
Looking like an oversized frosted artichoke Agave parryi dwarf Agave in the Celebration Garden
Agave parryi dwarf Agave in foreground and Agave americana century plant in background
Another part of the Celebration Garden by one of the few lawn (what lawn?) areas at Turtle Bay
Tall Strappy New Zealand native: Phormium tenax ‘Atropurpurea’ in the Celebration Garden
What is it? One guess, it smells savory delicious! Covered with snow, Rosmarinus ‘Collingwood Ingram’ makes spiky, ridgy designs in the Mediterranean Basin Garden
In the Butterfly Garden Arbutus unedo Strawberry Tree has festive edible red berries and glossy evergreen leaves
Can a Toyon take a bow, apparently! With no damage done, this oversized Heteromeles arbutifolia Toyon bent in half under the snow (and popped right back up again when the snow melted) in the California Garden
A native Redbud Cercis occidentalis in the California Garden is distinguished by its brown seedpods that hang on up to the time it blooms (deep pink) in early spring. Blooming before they leaf out, Native redbuds stand out in the local natural landscape
The next time it snows, come and enjoy; the gardens are always beautiful!
Happy Gardening from Turtle Bay’s Horticulture Staff!
Every year I am more impressed at how beautiful the botanical gardens are in winter here at Turtle Bay. Plants with evergreen (ever-gray, red, etc.) foliage really come into their own as herbaceous plants succumb to winter freezes and start their dormancy. (Some herbaceous plants, such as ornamental grasses, have interesting dry foliage and/or seed heads that we leave up throughout winter for their architectural and ornamental value.)
A majority of the evergreen plants in the botanical gardens come from mediterranean climate zones that share similar climates: rainy winters and warm-hot dry summers. These regions include the Mediterranean Basin (15 countries on three continents), Australia, California, Chile and South Africa. The plants from these locales share similar adaptions to survive sometimes soggy winters and occasionally blistering hot summers: gray leaves that deflect sunlight, waxy leaves that conserve water, plants with tiny pine-like leaves that also conserve water, plants high in oils (often fragrant, like lavender) that help block leaf stomata, or pores, when temperatures rise to prevent water loss, geophytes (bulbs) that bloom when water is available and die back in the summer. These are just a few of the adaptions that plants from these regions share in common. Plants with evergreen leaves are also often an adaption shared by many of these plants. Growing a whole new set of leaves every season takes energy and, most importantly, water.
Why the foliage of many of these plants is just spectacular to look at, I don’t know. It’s probably one reason why many found their way into cultivated gardens in the first place. Beautiful, evergreen and heat and drought-tolerant; plants just don’t get any better! (Okay, maybe I’m a little biased.)
Don’t miss this year’s winter foliage highlights in the botanical gardens – even better than last year!
Put layers on and come see these cold-hardy, heat-hardy beauties and many others for yourself. The gardens’ winter hours are 8am to 5pm/dusk.
Happy gardening from the horticulture staff at Turtle Bay!
Did you know we must raise over $1,000,000 each year to keep Turtle Bay operating? We rely on the generosity of our community to keep the Park serving as a safe, educational gathering place for all families in our community. If we charged admission that covered our expenses (without fundraising) admission would be about $40 a person – and that simply won’t do!
So we fundraise! This time of year, we send out holiday mailers. The past few years, we have raised about $10,000 for the park through generous people who mail back checks. These unrestricted funds help us with everything from keeping the lights on to booking exhibitions to feeding the animals!
Also, for the 2nd year, we are participating in the Shasta Regional Community Foundation’s North State Giving Tuesday. We hope whether you love the exhibitions, cultural and science educational programming, animals, gardens or trails, you’ll include Turtle Bay in your selected charities through www.northstategives.org.
NSGT is the best time to support Turtle Bay as Shasta Regional Community Foundation is offering a variety of incentives to deepen the impact of your gift! Shout outs to Redding Bank of Commerce and United Way of Northern California for making these possible!
In appreciation for your donation of $20+ online to Turtle Bay on Giving Tuesday, we have some pretty amazing incentives:
Automatic entry into a raffle to win a 1-hour Family Photo Shoot + digital photos by Heather Armstrong Photography in Wildlife Woods with an Animal Ambassador!
A limited-edition Turtle Bay Wonder-Full foil temporary tattoo – the perfect little stocking stuffer!
PLUS, if we hit our goal of $12,000, our President & CEO Mike Warren will be dunked in the dunk tank aka Visible River Aquarium! Watch on Facebook Live or at the Park on Wednesday, Nov. 30 @ 3:30 pm.
Need some motivation? Check out our Facebook page for kids speaking out on why they think the Park is Wonder-Full! We’re looking for more folk to join in on the fun too. Simply capture your friends & family on camera saying why you think the park is Wonder-Full, then upload to our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages with #whyitswonderfull so we can repost!
Our Volunteers are WONDER-FULL and support operations throughout the Park! In 2015, with over 24,955 hours of volunteer service (the equivalent of 12 full-time positions), Volunteers are vital to Turtle Bay!
We had over 300 adult volunteers and 164 teen volunteers dedicate their time and efforts throughout the Park in 2015 through activities such as:
Weeding and planting in our McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens that extends over 200 acres.
Providing enrichments and maintaining animal habitats in our Wildlife Woods, Mill Building, and River Tank Exhibit reaching over 150 animals here at Turtle Bay.
Leading museum tours and providing formal interpretive and education programs to 102,000 guests.
Preparing exhibitions and caring for our permanent collection of approximately 35,000 historic and art objects.
Assisting with preparing our monthly membership renewal letters to 5,800 member households.
Providing reception and supporting our administrative staff
Turtle Bay also provides one-time opportunities for community members to contribute their time and energy to benefit the Park, such as National Family Volunteer Day!
Family Volunteer Day is a day of service that celebrates the power of families who work together to support their communities and neighborhoods. Volunteering is a great way for kids and adults to make new friends, develop compassion for their neighbors, and even pick up a new skill or two! Each year, thousands of families use the day to teach children valuable, real-life lessons about compassion and caring.
National Family Volunteer Day is Saturday, November 19 this year and we have a variety of activities suitable for families of all ages! From Animal Care to Gardening, you and your family can support Turtle Bay and be a part of this national day of service! Arrive at 9am to volunteer for the event and enjoy the remainder of the day at Turtle Bay with free admission for all Volunteers! Other goodies will include a chance to win a Turtle Bay Family Membership and free kids meal coupons to Home Town Buffet for all participating children. Event check in will be in front of the Museum by Domke Plaza, located at 844 Sundial Bridge Drive, adjacent to Sundial Bridge.
Head to turtlebay.org for full details for this year’s National Family Volunteer Day and we hope to see you there!
Nicole Harris, the author of this post, has been a Teen Volunteer since June 2014 and currently serves as a Teen Volunteer representative on the Board here at Turtle Bay. She actively volunteers in our Education Department as well as at Special Events.
The Teen Volunteer Program is presented by Shasta College/”Doing What Matters” and United Way of Northern California.
On a recent Saturday morning, a group of teenagers got together to spend the early morning volunteering at the Turtle Bay McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Most teens might sleep until noon on a Saturday, but for this group of dedicated students from Shasta High School’s Key Club and Botanical Society Club this Saturday morning was a time to get up early, put on their gloves, and get to work pulling weeds.
Eighteen teen volunteers came together from these two different clubs and joined forces to help weed a planter bed inside the Gardens. In just two hours these 18 teens accomplished a lot! As one teen volunteer, Erica Bade, put it, “It feels good to have helped out here in the Gardens, because you can see the difference you are making.”
As a Teen Volunteer at Turtle Bay and a member of both the Key Club and Botanical Society, it was a rewarding experience to have the opportunity to work alongside this group of teens in the Gardens. Everyone who was there seemed to enjoy the work they were doing. When asked if they would be interested in volunteering in the Gardens again, there was a resounding “Yes” in response. Through this experience we were able to meet new people, learn about native plants, and learn the values of hard work. One thing that really stood out to me was that some of these teen volunteers had never seen the Gardens before, but were still willing to put in their time and effort by giving up their Saturday morning to help their community.
When we had finished our work for the day, not only did we leave with a sense of accomplishment, but also with new friends and a better sense of community. I am proud to be able to say that I took part in organizing this event and gathering the volunteers needed to make this happen. I think we all took away more than we had expected from this experience, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
Make a Difference Day is this Saturday! This Saturday, October 22nd, volunteers from across the country will be making a difference in one of the largest annual single-days of service nationwide. Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans volunteer? We are thankful for our amazing group of Volunteers that make a difference daily here at Turtle Bay – thank you for serving your community and supporting Turtle Bay through your Volunteerism!
If a Grecian urn deserves an ode (which it does) then I think something as gorgeous and seemingly timeless as deer grass also deserves high praise. (However you won’t find it here in verse!) Our native deer grass Muhlenbergia rigens is one of those beautiful, all-purpose plants that can thrive in most places; with the exception of constantly wet or very shady areas. For this, and its need for little attention (maintenance), it has earned my everlasting admiration.
Deer grass can eventually grow up to 6’ wide and, including the seed heads, 4-5’ tall. In spite of its sort of ambiguous common name, deer grass is not browsed by deer; in the wild deer (does) can successfully hide their fawns by bedding them down in a stand of several deer grass. Other wildlife also utilize deer grass. For example: ducks build a nest under one of the deer grass in our nursery, and we often see quail families running from one deer grass to the next in the gardens at this time of year (a really adorable sight).
Deer grass is a very a low maintenance plant, not susceptible to most pests and diseases, and usually only requiring pruning once a year or even every-other-year (depending upon how many of the blades have died back), preferably in February. It can be divided in our area after frost has passed in the spring. However, seedlings do tend sprout readily in the spring with a lot of spring rain or overhead irrigation (not as much with drip irrigation). Seedlings can be transplanted easily in the spring after threat of frost, but an older, larger grass can be harder to dig out and transplant as the roots are very tough and fibrous.
At one point at Turtle Bay, years ago, there were several places (such as the slope on the west side of the Sundial Bridge) that lost plants because of difficult conditions. Deer Grass to the rescue! In fact, at one point after a few years (I’ve been here since 2002), I stopped saying out loud to Horticulture staff “You know what would really go well in that area?” because I would hear a loud chorus of “Deer grass!” in response. And while the answer wasn’t, and isn’t always deer grass, it’s a good choice for a myriad of garden situations.
Because deer grass is such a useful, easy-to-grow California native plant we keep it in propagation throughout the year in the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Nursery. On September 24th the Fall Plant Sale will feature: drought tolerant and some riparian perennial plants including California natives, grasses, many unusual flowering plants, groundcovers and shrubs. Free gardening advice will be available throughout the day from Arboretum and Botanical Gardens staff and volunteers. Come early – some plants sell out fast! Member PreSale 9-11 a.m. (Memberships available at the gate) and Public Sale 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sale includes a 20% discount for the public and a 30% discount for Turtle Bay Members!
Turtle Bay’s McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Nursery – 1100 Arboretum Drive (Take N. Market Street, turn on Arboretum Drive. Take right fork in the road and park in parking lot on the left.) Enter Nursery through gate in parking lot.
Single deer have a beautiful, open form when in bloom.
Deer grass punctuate with different size, form and color in a planting of Festua ‘Siskiyou Blue’ Siskiyou Blue Fescue in the California Garden.
Come and enjoy the many happy deer grass here at Turtle Bay on the grounds and gardens, as well as the arboretum!
Happy gardening, from the Horticulture staff at Turtle Bay.
Lisa Endicott – Horticulture Manager
Email Turtle Bay’s Horticulture department at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and/or questions.
Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Nursery open year-round Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.: Drought-tolerant plants, including a selection of California natives and others, are available at the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Nursery, Visit our interactive Nursery inventory list at www.turtlebay.org/nursery .
With our Volunteer Opportunities Workshop coming up tomorrow (Saturday, August 27, 10-11:30 a.m. at the Museum), we thought it’d be fun to do a quick round up of the posts we’ve had here on the blog about our amazing, incredible, priceless, Wonder-Full Volunteers. From our Teen Volunteer program to our Auction committee, we truly could not to everything we do at Turtle Bay without the dedication and support of our Volunteers.
If you’re interested in joining our team of Volunteers, head to the Museum tomorrow for our presentation of the Volunteer Program, with staff from throughout the Park giving brief overviews of the Volunteer needs in their department. RSVP to Liz Crain at email@example.com or 530-242-3143.
And after you do that, check out our past posts about our Volunteers!