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Events & Classes

Classes, Field Trips & Workshops  |  Wayne Roderick Lectures  |  Special Events  |  Tours  |  Calendar

Our schedule of fun and informative classes, field trips, and workshops offers something for every native plant lover. Choose from our changing selection of classes on botany and natural history, field trips to wild California, and hands-on workshops on gardening, art, and photography.

To receive email notices of classes and other garden events, please join our email list.





CLASSES: MAY - NOVEMBER 2014

To enroll, print out the Class Registration Form and send it with your check to:

Andrew Walmisley, 424 Camino Sobrante, Orinda, CA 94563

For additional information call Andrew Walmisley at 925-386-0057 or
email at frandreww@aol.com

(Advance registration is required for all classes. Drops in are not permitted.)


  • Learning the Brodiaea Clan and Their Uses in the Garden
        Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27, 10 am-2:30 pm

  • Botanizing California: The Special Habitats of the Santa Cruz Mountains
        Saturday, May 10, 9 am-5 pm

  • Creating Hypertufa Containers
        Sunday, June 8, 10 am-1 pm

  • Butterflies for Beginners
        Saturday, June 21, 10:30 am-2:30 pm

  • The Grand Redwood Country of Northwestern California: Garden
         Fund-raising Trip

        Thursday-Monday, June 19-23

  • Marin's Mid-summer Endemic Plants
        Saturday, July 5, 10 am-3 pm

  • Montane Meadows, Serpentine Seeps, and Alpine Wildflowers: Garden
         Fund-raising Trip

        Thursday-Monday, July 10-14

  • The Amazing World of Lichens
        Saturday, July 26, 10 am-3 pm

  • Modern Textile Design with California Native Plant Dyes
        Sunday, September 28, 9:30 am-4 pm

  • Weekend on the Mendocino Coast
        Friday-Sunday, October 3-5

  • Learning to Identify Plants by Key
        Sunday mornings, October 12-December 7




    Learning the Brodiaea Clan and Their Uses in the Garden
    California is the center of diversity for the beautiful brodiaea clan, a group embracing over 35 species in Dichelostemma, Triteleia, Brodiaea, and Bloomeria. This group of corm-producing "bulbs" is easy to grow in the garden and rewarding for its floral beauty from earliest spring to early summer. While many of the species are difficult to find in the trade, the botanic garden's spring plant sale and two specialist nurseries fill in the gaps. The group includes the bountiful blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum) for early color, the strange snake-lily (D. volubile) for woodlands, the alluring hummingbird-favored firecracker flower (D. ida-maia) for coastal shade, the yellow stars of pretty-face (Triteleia ixioides), the variable and reliable Ithuriel's spear (T. laxa) for open woods, and several species of the late-blooming true brodiaeas (Brodiaea spp.). On Saturday our workshop will survey the brodiaea group through a PowerPoint presentation followed by a walk in the botanic garden, and on Sunday we'll go on a field trip to look at habitats and examples in the Bay Area.

    Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27, 10 am-2:30 pm
    Instructor: Glenn Keator
    Location: Saturday-Visitor Center; Sunday--destination to be announced
    $90 members / $95 nonmembers
    Please bring a lunch




    Botanizing California: The Special Habitats of the Santa Cruz Mountains
    The region just north of the city of Santa Cruz is full of botanical treasures in unusual plant communities, including old lithified sand dunes, riparian woodlands, and maritime chaparral. Highlights of this whirlwind tour include the silver-leaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos silvicola), the Santa Cruz cypress (Hesperocyparis abramsiana), an unusual stand of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and knobcone pine (P. attenuata), Fernald's iris (Iris fernaldii), white globe-tulip (Calochortus albus), and much more. Bring sturdy walking shoes, water, lunch, a notebook, and a camera if you wish.

    Saturday, May 10, 9 am-5 pm
    Instructor: Glenn Keator
    Location: Meeting place to be announced
    $55 members / $65 nonmembers
    Please bring a lunch




    Creating Hypertufa Containers
    Create unique containers to enhance your balcony or patio using hypertufa, a lightweight material comprised of Portland cement and horticultural additives that yield the look of stone or granite without the heft. In a workshop taught by local landscape designer Darien Eckberg, students will explore different hypertufa recipes and learn about suitable plants and potting soils compatible with hypertufa. Dress to get dirty, bring a pair of latex or non-latex gloves (i.e., plastic), a cardboard box to carry home your container(s), and your sense of fun!

    Sunday, June 8, 10 am-1 pm
    Instructor: Darien Eckberg
    Location: Visitor Center
    $65 members / $75 non-members




    Butterflies for Beginners
    This class will start with observation of live specimens followed by an exclusive video revealing rarely-seen details of butterfly life cycles. You will learn about butterfly gardening and caterpillar rearing, and on a butterfly walk in the botanic garden after lunch you will also learn about field marks, behavior, and favored plants.

    Saturday, June 21, 10:30 am-2:30 pm
    Instructors: Sally Levinson and Andy Liu
    Location: Visitor Center
    $30 members / $35 nonmembers
    Please bring a lunch




    The Grand Redwood Country of Northwestern California
    Even if you've visited redwood forests, chances are you haven't experienced the best of the best, the lush coastal and redwood forests north of Eureka. Not only is this country home to the tallest trees in the world, but the near-rainforest conditions create a varied and beautiful understory of ferns, ground covers, and wildflowers. Interlaced with these magnificent forests lies a land of contrasts-wet bogs, wind-swept dunes, and serpentine mountains, all with their own special flora of beautiful and rare plants. We'll visit the redwoods, nearby dune ecosystems, and the Siskiyou Mountains on this trip.

    Thursday-Monday, June 19-23
    Instructors: Glenn Keator and Joe Dahl
    Location: Our accommodations will be in Crescent City and Arcata
    $450 for instruction and donation to the Garden




    Marin's Mid-Summer Endemic Plants
    Seeking out some of the special endemics of Mount Tamalpais, we'll briefly examine the hillside above our parking lot (where we might find Hesperolinon congestum), and then we'll walk to the larger of the two populations of Tamalpais jewelflower (Streptanthus batrachopus). Along the way we will see several other Marin endemics. We'll also fight our way through the brush (i.e., poor trail) to get to the small disjunct stand of Fremontodendron.

    Saturday, July 5, 10 am-3 pm
    Instructor: Dick O'Donnell
    Location: Bolinas-Fairfax Rd and Pine Mountain Fire Rd on Mount Tamalpais
    $50 members / $55 nonmembers
    Please bring lunch




    Montane Meadows, Serpentine Seeps, and Alpine Wildflowers: Garden Fund-raising Trip
    One of the most diverse mountain ranges in California, the Klamath Mountains combine a rugged topography, varied and intricate geology, and a meeting place of plants from Oregon, the Sierra, and the north Coast Ranges. One botanical treasure after another resides in these mountains in a wide array of plant communities including mixed conifer forests, mountain meadows, serpentine seeps and rock gardens, and alpine zones with cushion-forming plants. Expect to see buckwheats and lewisias, rare conifers, insectivorous plants, heathers and their relatives, bluebells, daisies, and orchids

    Thursday-Monday, July 10-14
    Instructors: Glenn Keator and Joe Dahl
    Location: Our accommodations will be in Yreka and Mount Shasta
    $450 for instruction and donation to the Garden




    The Amazing World of Lichens
    Are you interested in lichens? Do you want to know what they are, where they grow, how they reproduce, and why they are important? Then this is the workshop for you! In this introductory workshop, you will learn the basics of lichen biology and ecology. We will focus on recognizing the different lichen growth forms and the various lichen structures that are used to differentiate between species. The workshop includes a classroom lecture, hands-on demonstrations exhibiting lichen structures, and a walk through the garden to observe lichens in their natural habitats.

    Saturday, July 26, 10 am-3 pm
    Instructor: Shelly Benson
    Location: Visitor Center
    $50 members / $55 nonmembers
    Please bring lunch




    Modern Textile Design with California Native Plant Dyes
    Create a seasonal and local color palette from an array of native Northern California plant-based dyes. Learn to design fresh textiles with saturated color from botanical pattern resists and simple surface design techniques. We'll explore alchemy and biodiversity for plant-based colors from indigenous California plants, low water dyes, and even an extensive range of color from invasive weeds. Each participant will leave the class with a beautiful palette of botanically dyed samples, as well as a gorgeous finished textile for you or your home-connecting you to your favorite seasonal native plants all year long!

    Sunday, September 28, 9:30 am-4 pm
    Instructor: Sasha Duerr
    Location: Visitor Center$120 members / $130 nonmembers
    Supplies list will be provided upon registration
    Please bring lunch




    Weekend on the Mendocino Coast
    Fall is a quiet time to learn ferns, conifers, and late bloomers in this most scenic part of the northern California coastline. Friday and Saturday, we'll visit the forests, headlands, and riparian areas of the Fort Bragg-Mendocino area, including the pygmy forest, a skunk-cabbage bog, and wetlands at MacKerricher State Park. We'll return to the Bay Area early Sunday morning.

    Friday, October 3 , 11 am to Sunday, October 5, 12 pm
    Instructor: Glenn Keator
    Location: Fort Bragg, meeting at Jughandle Preserve on Hwy 1
    $90 members / $100 nonmembers




    Learning to Identify Plants by Key
    In order to hone your skills at plant identification, learning to key, particularly in the Jepson Manual, is a challenging and practical method for any field plant lover. This course will help demystify the terminology in keys and show the most practical ways of dealing with problematic groups. We'll practice on a wide range of plants, talk about key family and genus traits, and learn how to use the microscope in seeing otherwise hidden or difficult details of flower, leaf, and fruit structure.

    This is a series of nine three-hour classes on Sunday mornings. A new class series will begin in the spring of 2015, covering an entirely different set of plants.

    Sundays, October 12-December 7, 10 am-1 pm
    Instructor: Glenn Keator
    Location: Visitor Center
    $250 members / $280 nonmembers



    PLEASE NOTE: Driving directions, supplies lists, and other relevant information will be provided upon registration.



    INSTRUCTORS

    Shelly Benson is the president of the California Lichen Society and has been studying lichens for the past 14 years. She finds the lichen world incredibly fascinating, unique, and diverse. Shelly started teaching in order to spread the word about these amazing organisms.

    Joe Dahl is the supervisor of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. He has been involved with the Botanic Garden since the late 1980s and has conducted field work throughout the state to bring new plants into the garden's collection.

    Sasha Duerr is a textile artist and designer who works with seasonal and local plant-based color. She is a professor in Slow and Sustainable Textiles at the California College of the Arts, founder of Permacouture Institute, and author of The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes (Timber Press/Workman, 2011).

    Darien Eckberg has been creating hypertufa containers and other works since 2008. She was commissioned by the Exploratorium Museum to create tiles for its new moss garden installation and regularly accepts private commissions. This is her third time teaching a hypertufa workshop at the botanic garden.

    Glenn Keator is a popular freelance instructor of botany in the Bay Area. He currently teaches, leads field trips, and provides docent instruction in botany for the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. He is the author of a number of books on native plants.

    Sally Levinson studied entomology in graduate school and has done entomological field work in several states. She has been an avid butterfly gardener for many years and is currently working on a butterfly curriculum.

    Andy Liu wrote his master's thesis on butterfly habitat. He has done many presentations on butterflies and butterfly gardening. A lifelong plantsman, he currently works in garden design.

    Dick O'Donnell is a retired economist who has pursued a strong interest in the flora of the Bay Area counties, northeastern Oregon, and east-central Arizona for more than 15 years. His published articles have appeared in Madroņo, Manzanita, and The Four Seasons.

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