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July 23, 2007

Mulch Appreciated

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It might not look exciting to most people, but we are thrilled by this generous donation.

We have been given a huge amount of chipped wood that has allowed us to improve unsafe pathways and to get control of the weeds in some difficult areas. Here are a few photos of Brendan and Chris using the donated wood chips to rebuild Upper Asian Way in the Asian Garden. We have also used many, many loads of these chips to mulch the new beds in the Carolinian Forest.

Horticultural Manager Ingrid Hoff explains: "the mulch has come from South Campus and is part of a sustainability initiative spearheaded by UBC Properties Trust. By locally re-using raw materials, which must be removed from the area on south campus due to neighborhood development, truck traffic and carbon emissions are greatly reduced. We are grateful for the support of Al Poettcker, Rob Wood and Paul Young."

A big thank you from all of us!

Posted by Andy Hill at 3:35 PM

July 15, 2007

Summer Students Working in the Garden

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We are very fortunate to have found these four great people.

Gemma, Mia, Shasta and Shalea are all graduate students in the UBC Landscape Architecture Program. They are doing a fantastic job in caring for the garden and we hope that their work here helps with their future careers (and their tuition).

Posted by Andy Hill at 4:19 PM

July 11, 2007

Tony Maniezzo says...


"If the weeds don't grow, whatcha gonna hoe?"

We've decided that the horticulturists here need a catchy saying to challenge Tom's popular turf-centric motto that I wrote about earlier this week. Tony had a shot at it. I'm thinking hard about it. I wonder if there are any plant lovers out there that could help us out?

Posted by Andy Hill at 6:17 PM

July 9, 2007

Intermountain Expedition: Day 6

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Day 6 was, for the most part, a travel day. A few side excursions were made along the way, including a trip to Domingo Pass in southern Oregon. The first photograph shows a view of the Alvord Desert taken from Domingo Pass. The Alvord Desert is tucked below the east side of Steens Mountain. After arriving at our destination of Frenchglen (population: 11), we decided to scout the Steens Mountain, where we spent an entire day collecting (I'll write about this in the next entry). In the meantime, the second photograph is a teaser – it's a view of Kiger Gorge near the summit of Steens Mountain.

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 7:28 AM

July 8, 2007

Tom Barber says...

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"If you can't mow it, don't grow it!"

Visitors to the UBC Botanical Garden will probably recognize Tom right away. He has been with the garden for quite a while and works hard to keep all of the turf areas looking terrific. Tom certainly has a passion for his work. I'm not sure if his motto fits with the garden's collections policy, but it always makes me laugh when he says it.

Posted by Andy Hill at 7:14 PM

July 4, 2007

Intermountain Expedition: Days 4 and 5


On day 4, we travelled from Elko, Nevada to Great Basin National Park, stopping along the way to visit the east side of the Ruby Mountains and look for seed. Though not very successful in finding much plant material, we did spot deer, owls, vultures, hawks, dozens of jack rabbits and a few reptiles.

We were, however, successful in finding the Great Basin bristlecone pine (curiously enough, on the bristlecone pine grove trail at GBNP). We don't have a permit to collect in National Parks, so the trip was for our own satisfaction (the only sidetrip, really, of the whole expedition) of seeing these three-thousand year old wonders.

After supper in Baker at the unique Lectrolux Café, we travelled back to Ely for a quick night's rest, and then headed out early on the road to Winnemuca, with one moderately successful stop along the way for seed collection – despite the temperature which creeped above 40C (105F).

Tomorrow, we arrive in the Steens Mountain area, and we'll be offline for a couple days.

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 11:05 PM

Intermountain Expedition: Day 3 in the Ruby Mountains

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I haven't posted in a couple of days. On the night of the third day, I was simply too tired (and last night I didn't have web access), so I've a bit of catching up to do.

On the third day, Brent and I visited the Ruby Mountains, and specifically Lamoille Canyon (southeast of Elko, Nevada). A few collections were made on what turned out to be a very pleasant day; the southwest US is baking in the heat right now, but at elevation, things are not so bad (though you do need sunscreen!). In Lamouille Canyon, you can drive from 1900m (6200 ft) to about 2625m (8600 ft) (I'm citing from memory, which may be off), and then hike even higher. We had to top 9000 ft, of course, so we went for a bit of walk. Quite a few people visit the top of the canyon and hike, I suspect to escape the heat of the valley below (particularly because you can jump in an alpine lake and cool off before returning).

In case you're wondering where the flower photographs are, I'm saving those for Botany Photo of the Day when I return. Just a few landscapes for now!

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 10:23 PM

July 1, 2007

Intermountain Expedition: Second Day - The Day of Anabrus simplex

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Brent and I had a somewhat more leisurely day today as we travelled from Caldwell, Idaho to Elko, Nevada, a distance of about 400km (250 miles). We stopped a number of times and Brent made a few collections along the way, including a site along a stretch of highway that had quite a bit of litter. Still, there was beauty to be found. After arriving in Elko, we decided to scout tomorrow's destination, the nearby Ruby Mountains (the landscape photograph).

The biological highlight of the day, though, had to be the mass swarms of Anabrus simplex or Mormon cricket. I had only taken the road-view photograph of the insects to get an idea of the size of the bug, so it doesn't show the greater density of insects we later witnessed (about 10-15x as dense). In some areas, there were easily 20 individuals per square meter – the highway was stained red in places where the katydids had gathered and died en masse. It was quite unnerving to walk among them and have the grass audibly rustle as they half-hopped, half-skittered out of the way. The linked article discusses the swarming behaviour, though doesn't provide a reason behind its origin.

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 11:45 PM

Intermountain Expedition: First Day, First Collection

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Day one is over, and it's been smooth sailing so far. Today was primarily a travel day, so there wasn't much opportunity to photograph or collect seeds. Brent and I drove nearly 1000km (600 miles) from Burnaby, BC to Caldwell, Idaho (and had a 2 hour border line-up wait as well), with the day starting at 5:30am for me and now finishing sometime around 1am. Tomorrow will be a bit more relaxed, as we have less than half that distance to travel to Elko, Nevada.

We did stop at the scenic overlook southeast of Ellensburg to gawk at some Eriogonum species. For a bit of a lark (and to test some things out, like our GPS and map plotting systems), Brent did end up collecting seeds from one species – Erigeron linearis, which I featured on BPotD a few days ago.

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 12:29 AM

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UBC Botanical Garden Blog is a project of the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research, located in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. UBC BGCPR is a department within the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at The University of British Columbia.