Saturday, October 25, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday - Living Roof, Butterflies, Birds and Frogs

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday,
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Earlier this past week, I ventured to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The Academy just reopened about a month ago after an almost 10-year renovation project. The new building is stunning and I spent most of my time on the Living Roof as well as in a four-story rainforest habitat.


The Living Roof is comprised of seven hills planted with nine native plants and spanning two and one-half acres. These native plants include four perennials: (i) Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis), (ii) Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris), (iii) Sea Pink (Armeria maritima ssp. californica), and (iv) Stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium). The remaining nature plants consist of five annual wildflowers: (i) Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa), (ii) Goldfield (Lasthenia californica), (iii) Miniature Lupine (Lupinus nanus), (iv) California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica), and (v) California Plantain (Plantago erecta). I spotted many bees merrily enjoying the flowers of these native plants. The Living Roof absorbs all rainwater (which can be substantial in our winter rainy season) and the plants act to naturally cool the building's interior (avoiding the use of electricity to cool the building). The Academy is believed to be the "greenest" museum in the world.

Living Roof



Living Roof



Bee on Wildflower
Bee or Fly-Bee on Wildflower


Bee on Miniature Lupine
Bee or Fly-Bee on Miniature Lupine



Living Roof



Living Roof



The 4-Story Rainforest rests directly beneath the open area shown on the above photograph of the Living Roof. It consists of four stories in a 90-foot diameter glass dome.


Rainforest Exhibit


Here is a sampling of some of the beautiful frogs, butterflies and birds featured in the rainforest habitat.


Rainforest Butterfly


Rainforest Butterfly



Rainforest Butterfly


Rainforest Butterfly


Bird


Red-Eyed Tree Frog
Red-Eyed Tree Frog


Red-Eyed Tree Frog
Red-Eyed Tree Frog


Poison Dart Frogs
Poison Dart Frogs

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday - Red Flowering Gum (Bloodwood) Tree

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday,
visit As the Garden Grows for more information

In late summer, the Red Flowering Gum Trees (Corymbia ficifolia f.k.a. Eucalyptus ficifolia) begin blooming all over San Francisco. The flowers can be white, pink, red or orange but my favorites are the trees with the striking orange flowers. Native to an area of Western Australia that is south east of Perth, these trees prefer infertile, sandy soils. They are a very popular street tree in San Francisco (as are many other Australian native trees). Although called "gums," these trees are "bloodwoods" so named because of the dark red liquid that flows when wounds are inflicted on their trunks. One negative attribute of these trees is the stringy detritus from the flowers that collects on cars and in the streets (visible in the photo below).

Red Flowering Gum Tree
Red Flowering Gum Tree (Corymbia ficifolia) in Pacific Heights, San Francisco, California

Red Flowering Gum Tree
Flowers of the Red Flowering Gum Tree (Corymbia ficifolia)


Red Flowering Gum Tree Flower
Macro shot of flower from Red Flowering Gum Tree (Corymbia ficifolia)

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