Author Archives: Sarah Leach Smith

The Garden on a Hill: UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Photos by Bryan Thompsonowak.

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Dr. Bob Lyons and Dr. Paul Licht at University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley.

The climate in California is a fascinating subject, as we have experienced firsthand on this trip. Temperatures can fluctuate drastically as you travel from the valley back toward the bay area and, luckily for us, our nearly 100-degree morning in Davis turned into a 60-degree afternoon at the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. Varying between 600 and 800 feet above sea level, the UC Botanical Garden has a unique environment for plant growth the includes wind and fog that supports the largest collection of documented wild-collected plants in North America!
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We met several of UC Botanical Gardens staff on our visit. Director Dr. Paul Licht greeted us and introduced us to staff members Director of Horticulture Chris CarmichaIMG_3395el and Curator Holly Forbes. This great team led us on a tour of the gardens, which was organized geographically in a naturalistic design. There was even an Eastern North American garden that included plants such as the Liquidambar (sweet gum), Kalmia
(mountain laurel), and Hamamelis (witch hazel)!

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Cactus and succulent collection

Arguably the most impressive aspect of this garden is their commitment to collections. UC Botanical Garden has the world’s largest collection of native California flora, and they have four nationally recognized plant collections through the North American Plant Conservation Consortium (NAPCC) – cycads, ferns, magnolias, and oaks. Additionally, they have a vast cactus and succulent collection, which is largely inaccessible to the public. Unfortunately, the garden has experienced several recent incidents of theft due to the rarity of the specimens in the collection, and that is why much of the collection is kept behind a barrier. There are still many amazing specimens that are not behind a barrier, however, and one that was in full bloom was Echinopsis tamaensis. The creamy, white flower was a bright spot of our visit during a cloudy and overcast afternoon.Despite the fact that there is no horticulture program at UC-Berkeley, the garden still plays a vital role for students on campus. Many courses, including biology, art, literature, geography, and medical ethnobotany, use the gardens as an invaluable outdoor laboratory. For us, the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley was a great example of a true botanical garden. Their focus on conservation, collections, and taxonomy was a notable and interesting contrast to some of the other organizations that we’ve visited since starting the program.

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Puya raimondii was in bloom just in time for our visit!

Our evening ended with a delicious Greek dinner and a pleasant stay in the heart of San Francisco. Up next: San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum and the Conservatory of Flowers!

Meet Two More of the 2014 Symposium Speakers!

By this time next week, the Fellows will be preparing for the arrival of our six Symposium speakers. We can hardly wait! Don’t forget that the deadline for registration is Monday, March 3rd. In the meantime, several of our speakers have put together a list of suggested readings to help get you thinking about the topic of the day – leadership!

Today we are highlighting two more of our speakers, Teniqua Broughton and morning keynote Alpesh Bhatt.

 

Speaker Highlight: Teniqua Broughton

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Teniqua Broughton

Several current fellows had the pleasure of meeting Teniqua Broughton at the 2013 APGA Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. As a six-year Trustee of the Desert Botanical Garden, Ms. Broughton has played a vital role in developing young professionals for board positions through the founding of Desert Botanical Garden’s Monarch Society and Council. She is also the founder of VerveSimone Consulting Firm, which works with clients to provide leadership, governance and administrative advice for their respective organizations. At the Symposium, she will address her experience with the Monarch Society and Council and provide ways to attract and engage younger, emerging professionals as potential new board members.

 

Keynote Speaker Highlight: Alpesh Bhatt

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Alpesh Bhatt

Alpesh Bhatt comes to us from the Center for Leadership Studies (CLS) in New Jersey where he is Principal and Managing Partner. His firm partners with a variety of clients to develop leaders within their organization, and he spends most of his time “on the ground,” supporting executives one-on-one in understanding and mastering the challenges of leading “business breakthroughs.” He is also on the faculty of the Graduate Psychology Department at the University of New Haven. Mr. Bhatt has published a short book, The Triple-Soy Decaf-Latte Era, which has been called a “mini MBA for the 21st Century.”  At the Symposium, he will speak about creating a lasting, positive change in an organization.

We hope you can make it! If you are unable to attend the Longwood Graduate Symposium in person, you can view the free webcast (more information to follow). We will also be taking the conversation online via Twitter, so be sure to follow us @Longwoodgrad and use #LGPSymp to join the conversation.  Stay tuned for our final speaker highlights, coming to the blog next week!

New Zealand: A Culinary Journey

These days, the First-Years are bundling up and getting ready for the spring semester. Fending off the jetlag and remembering to drive on the right side of the road in the US has been challenging at times, but we have our recent Kiwi memories to keep us company. This blog post takes a bit of a departure than posts of the past in that we reflect not on plants and gardens, but rather on FOOD.  It is in absolutely no particular order that I present to you our most memorable New Zealand food experiences.

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Pavlova at the Novotel Hotel, Wellington.

  1. Pavlova: The national dessert of New Zealand. Given its prestigious title, it was extremely hard to find on a restaurant menu. I was determined to try it, and we managed to find it at two places. Although I was not blown away with these examples of pavlova, I still feel sufficiently inexperienced to pass judgement. I am willing to try additional pavlovas for research purposes and will welcome any opportunity to return to do so!

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    A delicious, golden kiwifruit!

  2. Kiwifruit: Don’t simply call it “kiwi” because you’d be referring to the bird! In New Zealand, the fuzzy brown fruits with green interiors are called kiwifruits. We also discovered a new treasure: the golden kiwifruit! Similar in size to the green variety, golden kiwifruits are nearly hairless, with a thinner skin and a golden interior. We found them at local produce stands and they were delicious.

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    Beer-battered chips, served with aioli and sweet ketchup.

  3. Fish & Chips (emphasis on the CHIPS!): Britain may have created New Zealand’s founding document, but their influence doesn’t stop there. Beer battered and deep-fried fish is a staple at most restaurants, served with a delicious tartare sauce unlike that which we’re used to in the States.  However, the chips are the real stars in this duo and I beg you, if you are ever in New Zealand, order beer-battered chips. At every restaurant, they were consistently amazing. You won’t regret it!

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    I simply could not stay away from the savory meat pies… walking past a storefront in Auckland.

  4. Meat Pies: Delicious, warm, savory, and palm-sized, the ubiquitous meat pies are the New Zealander’s perfect portable lunch. Every restaurant has its own version – even McDonald’s. Steak, lamb, minced beef (aka ground beef), and roasted vegetables are just some of the possible fillings.
  5. Lamb: In order to embrace the New Zealand food culture, I tried lamb several times. It has a unique flavor but tended to be tougher than I would have liked. On one of the last days of the trip, I was pleasantly surprised with the best lamb dish of the entire trip and possibly the best meal, period. I ordered the lamb steak at The Curator’s House in Christchurch, which was served with Israeli couscous and lemon crème.  Superb!

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    Speight’s Ale House, Dunedin.

  6. Speight’s: Dunedin, on the South Island of New Zealand, was a standout in the dining category. One of our dinners was at Speight’s, where we enjoyed Dunedin’s own craft-brewed beers. Full disclosure… I am less of a beer fan and more of a cider fan, but I am in good company with Dr. Lyons, and Speight’s had an excellent apple cider. I hear the ales were just as good!
  7. Dinner at Larnach Castle: Although the food was delicious, this line item was truly all about the experience: beautiful dining room with an elegantly dressed dinner table, candlesticks and more utensils than we knew what to do with. Our 3-course meal culminated with tantalizing tale about the family of Larnach, complete with allusions of ghosts Hands down, one of the most fun dinners we had in New Zealand.

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    Green-lipped mussels at Gusto Restaurant in New Plymouth. Delicious!

  8. Green-lipped Mussels: These vividly green shellfish are well known in New Zealand. They are delicious, which I discovered while dining at Gusto in New Plymouth. However, they are also apparently known for their additional curative benefits, including arthritis and asthma relief.

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    Gary Shanks and Kevin Williams testing the L&P in Auckland.

  9. L & P: L & P, short for Lemon & Paeroa, is a uniquely New Zealand soda best described as a carbonated, lemony drink that tasted like carbonated lemon Nestea. It’s also a common mixer at New Zealand bars and infused into white chocolate for a creamy, lemony candy treat. (I speak from experience on the L & P chocolate.)

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    Hokey Pokey and licorice ice cream cones in Oamaru.

  10. Hokey Pokey Ice Cream: One of my favorite discoveries! I am usually not a big ice cream person, but this creamy vanilla ice cream with crunchy honeycomb candy pieces was delightful.  After several scoops, I was hooked. We also had some other exciting ice cream flavors on our trip, including licorice, Bailey’s, crunchy hazelnut chocolate, and plum!

Overall, the class of 2015 thoroughly enjoyed this exciting culinary adventure. Do you have any recommendations for delicious foods that we should try here in the US? Send them our way!

International Experience New Zealand Day 5: Let’s see what’s behind door number 2!

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Imagine that you are in a circular room with 5 closed doors leading to 5 different worlds. No matter which door you choose, there is sure to be an amazing adventure ahead. Today we visited Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton, New Zealand and had a decidedly “choose your own adventure” experience.

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We met with Director Peter Sergel and Manager of Operations Gus Flower to discuss Hamilton’s management plan and tour the gardens. Hamilton Gardens focuses on telling the history of gardens around the world. They do this by presenting five garden collections: Paradise Gardens, Productive Gardens, Fantasy Gardens, Landscape Gardens, and Cultivar Gardens. For example, the Paradise Gardens comprise of several individual gardens rooms based on world cultures. There is a Chinese Scholar’s garden, an American Modernist garden, an English Flower garden, a Japanese Garden of Contemplation, an Italian Renaissance Garden, and an Indian Char Bagh Garden. Each garden forks off from a central courtyard, allowing for garden guests to choose which garden to visit and then build anticipation upon approach. This is where Sergel, a landscape architect, has perfected the “reveal.” One of the most memorable experiences from the day was our visit to the Indian Char Bagh Garden.

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A short walk though a covered walkway opened into a bright white hardscape with a light teal blue fountain, and four beds of colorful annuals. Bright golden yellow paired with deep burgundy alongside vivid fuchsia and orange provided for a vision reminiscent of a Persian carpet. Upon entry to the garden, we all let out a simultaneous exclamation of “Wow!” Both the Productive Gardens and Fantasy Gardens also had this great layout. Hamilton Gardens balances out this highly structured layout with the less-formal Valley Walk, one of the Landscape Gardens, which takes guests to the northeastern edge of the property and features a naturalistic aesthetic created with native Waikato plants.

After our visit, our fearless driver Colin took us on an exciting road trip southwest to the quaint coastal town of New Plymouth. This drive included breathtaking views of the countryside’s rolling hills and densely forested valleys. We took an exciting detour to a black sand beach and dipped our toes into the chilly Tasman Sea!IMG_2284

In New Zealand, it seems, no matter what adventure you choose, it is sure to be fantastic. Tomorrow: Pukekura Park and Te Kainga Marire!

From Summer Home to Central Park

(Photos by Bryan Thompson-Nowak)

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Believe it or not, the tranquil, wooded grounds of Morris Arboretum are within the city limits of booming Philadelphia. In fact, it is just 12 miles from the University of Pennsylvania campus and 9 miles from King of Prussia. This gem, paired with gorgeous autumn-like weather, made for a memorable field trip for the first-year Fellows.

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Upon arrival, Morris Arboretum’s Director, Paul Meyer, greeted us and shared a bit of Morris’s history. The Arboretum recently celebrated its 125th anniversary: a brother and sister pair, John and Lydia Morris, founded it in 1887 as their summer home. The Arboretum officially opened to the public in 1933, but it wasn’t until 1977 when former director Bill Klein spearheaded a master planning process that made Morris Arboretum into the destination that it is today. Affectionately known these days as the “Central Park of southeastern Pennsylvania,” Morris is looking ahead to the future and working on plans to renovate the front area of the George D. Widener Education and Visitor Center as well as several other improvement projects.

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Paul led us on an intimate tour of the grounds, sharing both facts and stories that most guests will never have the opportunity to hear! As we passed a modest Chinese hemlock (Tsuga chinensis) specimen, Paul paused and pointed out the lack of hemlock woolly adelgid damage. Canadian hemlocks have recently succumbed to this pest on quite a large scale, but its Chinese cousins were observed to be resistant. Paul told us that Morris Arboretum led expeditions to China to collect more specimens of the hemlock and introduce it more widely in the United States.

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The Chinese hemlock is only one example of the impact that Morris has had in collecting and distributing significant new plant species in the US. Another interesting discovery from a Chinese expedition trip came from a surprising species: seeds of the oft-used Liriope muscari, collected from a specimen in China. It provided for some interesting genetic diversity when Morris grew the seeds out. With uniquely wide foliage, as well as a tall, spindly inflorescence, this variation will definitely make visitors to the Arboretum do a double take!

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Our trip to Morris would not be complete without a group photo with the wildly popular “Big Bugs,” which will be on display until the end of August. These giant bug sculptures, created by David Rogers, have been an amazing asset for Morris this year. With their arrival on April 1, the “bugs” helped Morris have their biggest attendance month ever in its history! The local media loved the exhibit, and Morris experienced incredible exposure in the greater Philadelphia area. It has been a win-win all around!

We had a fantastic visit with Paul and his staff, enjoyed amazing weather in a beautiful setting, and learned exciting “insider info” about some of Morris’s plant collections. For more information about planning a visit for yourself, just check out the Arboretum’s web site!

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