Mediterranean Garden Society
The Northern California Branch of the MGS
The Northern California Branch of the MGS is part of an international forum devoted to furthering knowledge and appreciation of plants and gardens suited to the mediterranean climate regions of the world. All members of the MGS are welcome to attend our activities and to receive the newsletter that we publish three times per year.
The Mediterranean Garden at Lake Merritt in Oakland, in the collection of specialty gardens that surround the Oakland-East Bay Garden Center, is a little gem. It is centered around a classical white marble well-head that was a gift to the City of Oakland from philanthropist and bird-lover Nettie Stone Easterbrook 100 years ago. We have a small, dedicated group of volunteers that helps maintain this charming space, but there’s always room for others to join us!
Our Branch Head is Jean-Pierre Bouchez and current and prospective MGS members are welcome to contact him by email. You can follow our activities and news on Facebook and on the Northern California Branch website.
Jean-Pierre Bouchez, LaVonne Bouchez, Richard Tiede, Cheryl Renshaw, Nancy Swearengen, Judy Thomas.
Tricia Christopher, Mary Fisher, Anthony Garza, Katherine Greenberg, Richard Hayden, Chris Jacobson, Ted Kipping, Seán O’Hara, Warren Roberts, Bernard Trainor, Richard G Turner
The photo at the top of this page is of a private garden near Sonoma, California as seen during a visit by the Northern California Branch. Designed by Thomas Church and completed in 1948, today the garden is a Modernist icon and one of the best preserved examples of its time
For previous reports and articles please check out the archived (non-responsive) Northern California Branch page.
Lake Merritt Mediterranean Garden
Upcoming workdays - 1 February, 7 March, 4 April
The Mediterranean Garden at Lake Merritt in Oakland, in the collection of specialty gardens that surround the Oakland-East Bay Garden Center, is a little gem. There is a small, dedicated group of volunteers that helps maintain this charming space, but there’s always room for more! Everyone, especially MGS members, is invited to come tease weeds and snip unruly shrubbery, gossip with fellow Mediterranean plant nuts, and cement our presence in this magical urban place. It’s a fine place to visit once a month, on the first Saturday - to garden! For information, please contact Nancy Swearengen or phone her on 510-547-2548.
A special private visit to this extraordinary place. Quarryhill Botanical Garden was created from nothing on the site of an old quarry just outside Glen Ellen. Quarryhill is an Asian woodland garden established in 1990. Most of the plants have been collected by Executive Director Bill McNamara and his staff on annual expeditions to China, Japan and the Himalayas. While the plants are obviously not Mediterranean, they are doing very well in the mediterranean climes of the Sonoma Valley, so that was our “excuse” for this visit.
This was followed by a visit to a fabulous private garden just south of Sonoma. Designed by Thomas Church and completed in 1948, today the garden is a Modernist icon and one of the best preserved examples of its time.
It is famous for its unusual, abstracted forms, particularly the pool.
Text: Cheryl Renshaw, Photos: Cheryl Renshaw
UCSC Arboretum Tour
Our Northern California MGS group had a fabulous tour of the Santa Cruz Arboretum on 9 February. Our tour leaders were the arboretum’s Nursery Manager Martin Grantham and Executive Director Martin Quigley.
We were treated to views of the greenhouse plants, learned about the latest projects in preparation for their April plant sale, and toured the grounds to see some of the Australian and New Zealand plantings, which are very impressive.
The occasional rain showers gave us the best possible light for photographs.
This arboretum is located on the U.C. Santa Cruz campus, on a large property in the hills above the Pacific Ocean. Its climate is ideal for growing plants from regions of the world requiring good drainage and mild conditions. Some featured plants include silver trees (Leucadendron argenteum), Casuarinas, many Australian and New Zealand tree species, Ericas, many Proteaceous species including some fabulous groundcover Grevilleas, and countless succulents and cacti.
Martin G. described some of his recent propagation efforts and conveyed the passion that he feels for the work they are doing at the arboretum. This site is worth a visit if you are ever in the area.
THE MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN is the registered trademark of The Mediterranean Garden Society in the European Union, Australia, and the United States of America