Tag Archives: UC Botanical Garden


The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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PALLADE MUSICA A young early music quartet from Montreal will have its West Coast debut in a series of concerts by the San Francisco Early Music Society this weekend. Pallade Musica will play instrumental works from the 17th century, including compositions by Sweelinck, Castaldi and Buxtehude. The program “journeys from the beginnings of the Stile Moderno in the breathtaking sonatas of Dario Castello to the pinnacle of the Stylus Phantasticus with Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber’s ‘Mystery Sonatas’ for violin.” Pallade Musica will perform at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Call the box office for ticket availability on 510-528-1725.  … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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BHS JAZZ ALUMNI IN THE BAY AREA Alumni of Berkeley High’s renowned jazz program are returning to their native East Bay to ring in the new year at a couple different venues. Brooklyn-based Zongo Junction, an energetic Afrobeat ensemble founded by BHS grad Charles Ferguson, will play at Leo’s (5447 Telegraph in North Oakland) on Friday, Jan. 2. The $20 show is 18+ and starts at  9 p.m. Here in Berkeley on the same night, the Chase Jackson Quintet will play at the California Jazz Conservatory (formerly the Jazzschool) at 2087 Addison St. The eponymous vibraphone player, who now lives in LA, is an alum of the BHS jazz program, and is bringing to the stage with him several other young Bay Area musicians. The $12 acoustic jazz show starts at 8 p.m. … Continue reading »

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Once in a lifetime chance to see plant bloom in Berkeley

The rare Puya raimondii begins to bloom at the UC Botanical Garden 
PHOTO: UC Botanical Garden
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A rare Puya raimondii plant is beginning to bloom at Berkeley’s UC Botanical Garden, a sight that you may only have one opportunity to see — unless you find yourself in the right place at the right time in the Bolivian Andes.

“It’s a once in a lifetime thing,” said Paul Licht, director of the UC Botanical Garden. That’s true in more ways than one, as the Puya raimondii dies after flowering. It will be decades until one blooms again in Berkeley.

The endangered plant, nicknamed “the Queen of the Andes,” is beginning to bloom in a process that can produce 30,000 flowers on a 15-foot stalk above the already large plant. In the wild, the plants only bloom when they are 80-100 years old. This one is only 24 years old, making it the youngest of the three plants that have ever flowered in a botanical garden. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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 A ROCK OPERA THRILLER This weekend, First Look Sonoma and ROCKIT Opera is presenting three performances of the world premiere of composer/librettist (and Berkeley local) Sheli Nan’s SAGA of the 21st Century Girl: A Rock Opera Thriller. The new opera stars Crystal Philippi as a disturbed young girl struggling to cope with her self-absorbed mother (Valentina Osinski) and gutless father (Jo Vincent Parks) and their dysfunctional home. Portraying various aspects of the predatory impulse are the Shadows, both hilarious and genuinely frightening, portrayed by Alexis Lane Jensen and John Duykers. The company says the show, with its “completely original narrative with haunting musical themes is dynamic, captivating, and humorous at times.” SAGA is recommended for mature audiences. SAGA opens tonight and there are performances Saturday and Sunday. The show is at the Osher Studio, 2055 Center St. in downtown Berkeley. Visit First Look Sonoma online for details. … Continue reading »

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Julia Morgan building to be moved across Berkeley

Girton Hall
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On Saturday and Sunday a beautiful, landmarked UC Berkeley-owned building will move across town, inching its way slowly from campus on a flat-bed rig up Centennial Drive to its new home at the UC Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon.

One part of Girton Hall, designed by famed architect and Cal alumna Julia Morgan and built in 1911, has already made the carefully executed journey. (See video footage and photos of that move.)

The complex relocation will conclude this weekend, with one large oversized section of the structure being transported on Saturday, and the other starting at around 6:00 a.m. on Sunday Jan. 12. The final piece, currently resting on Maxwell Field, will be moved around noon on Sunday.  … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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PARKS MAKE LIFE BETTER  The City of Berkeley is hosting Parks Make Life Better month, and this weekend a celebration at San Pablo Park will cap off the festivities. Volunteers will be able to plant trees across Berkeley from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., with transportation from San Pablo Park provided, followed by a community barbecue from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The barbecue will be followed by a carnival and landscaping and tree-climbing demonstrations until 3 p.m. The event will begin at 2800 Park St. on Saturday July 20. Free admission. View the full Parks Make Life Better flier.
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Concerts chance to enjoy secret Berkeley redwood grove

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A beautiful Berkeley redwood grove that is one of the city’s lesser known gems is the setting for a series of concerts organized by the UC Botanical Garden.

The opening show of the 2013 Summer Concert Series, on Thursday June 6, featured local singer Ash Reiter, whose style has been described as akin to Stevie Nicks, and the Caldecott band. It was the second appearance for Reiter who proved popular in a previous performance in the series.

The 5-acre Stephen J. Mather Redwood Grove was planted as part of the New Deal works program in the 1930s, so the trees are relatively young by redwood standards. On Thursday, UC Botanical Garden Director Paul Licht talked about how originally the creation of the grove was to have been a project for the Boy Scouts, but the depression put a halt to that plan. The Grove was dedicated in 1972 and is now accessible to ticket holders to the gardens, and hired out for private events, such as weddings.  … Continue reading »


The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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The Coast of Utopia: ShipwreckMARATHON THEATER  Shotgun Players, “the biggest little theater company in town,” secured the rights last year to put on Tom Stoppard’s Coast of Utopia trilogy. This season Shotgun is producing Part Two: Shipwreck, along with some repeat performances of Part One: Voyage.” In Voyage, we met our young heroes in the first blushes of revolutionary thought and love. Now, with Shipwreck, we find them in their 30s. “The optimism of their early years has hit the rocks of marital infidelity, social anarchy, and a tsar who has no intention of stepping down. The stakes go up dramatically in this next great duel between the heart and mind.” The plays are directed by Shotgun’s artistic director Patrick Dooley. Through April 21 at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Mating newts at UC Botanical Garden a stimulating sight

It’s not just us humans who get romantic around Valentine’s Day. Have you heard of newt love? UC Botanical Garden director and zoologist Paul Licht is intimately familiar with the mating habits of the two newt species – Taricha torosa (California newt) and Taricha granulosa (rough-skin newt) – that become amorous at this time of year. And it’s quite a sight (watch video, above).

According to the Botanical Garden, these small, dark-skinned amphibians hide in the underbrush and are rarely seen by humans, but, once the rains come, scores of them gravitate to the crystal-clear waters of the Japanese Pool. (Perhaps using the famous newt crossing in Tilden Park to get there.) … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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YEAR OF THE SNAKE Thank your lucky stars that you don’t need to brave Beijing Railway Station, reportedly the busiest spot on Earth this weekend, to find Lunar New Year celebrations. Berkeleyans can instead stroll over to Solano Avenue for a Lunar New Year parade and performance celebrating the Year of the Snake on Sunday. The performances kick off at 1o a.m. in Landmark Theatre’s Albany Twin, and include acrobatics by members of the SF Circus, Chinese dance by Ah-Lan Dance and Lion Dance and a martial arts display by Golden Lion. After the performance, there will be a parade up the entire length of Solano (on the sidewalk), starting at noon. Performance at Albany Twin, 1115 Solano Avenue, Albany, at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

eduTour_th_17WAKE UP AND HEAR THE BIRDS If you want to get a move on Saturday morning, what could be better than a birding walk through the Botanical Garden. Apparently, birds are surprisingly active in winter in the garden, and Chris Carmichael, associate director of collections and research, and local birder Phila Rogers will be there to point out sights of interest. Registration is required and space is limited. Tickets are $20, $15 for members. The birding walk is from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive. … Continue reading »

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UC exhibit of botanical drawings shows eye for detail

Amur Maple by Mary Harden
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The UC Botanical Garden is hosting its 4th annual exhibition of botanical drawings done by members of the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists.

The 40 illustrators who are represented in the show have spent countless hours learning about the botany of plants and countless more transferring that knowledge to paper.

The results are finely detailed drawings that meticulously replicate nature’s complexity.

The show, titled Plants Illustrated, runs through Feb. 8. There will be a reception for the artists on Saurday Jan. 26 from 2 p.m. to 4 pm

Click here to see a slideshow of all the prints. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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WATCH THE AUDITIONS  The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival auditions start in Berkeley this weekend (continuing in San Francisco on Jan. 19-20) and are open to the public. According to those who have attended in the past, it’s a great event to see with each performance of a few minutes offering an incredible variety of dancing. Kids go free, adults $10 and it’s in-and-out privileges, so you can watch for a while, go out to lunch, come back and watch some more.  Auditions take place on Saturday and Sunday Jan. 12 and 13 at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus from 11am – 7pm. For details visit the Festival’s website. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley faces lengthy cold snap, near-record lows

Frost. Photo: Dan Brekke
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A cold front coming through the Bay Area over the next few days is forecast to bring temperatures in Berkeley to near-record lows, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are expected to plumb the low 30s. The record low for January 10 at Oakland Airport was 26 degrees in 1949. The day’s average low is 42 degrees.

According to an NWS forecaster, the front originates in Alaska. The cold weather is forecast to last at least through the weekend. … Continue reading »

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