Late Summer Color at the GNG

California native plants get most of their attention in the spring, when the wildflowers are in bloom and many other plants are revealing their new growth.  Not so much in the late summer and the fall, when dormancy is setting in and brown is the dominant color theme.  But … Brown is a color too!  Besides, brown exists in numerous interesting shades and hues.                                                                                                                                             And as one elderly visitor to the Granada Native Garden wisely once pointed out, “You see all kinds of things, if you just stop and look!”                                                                    Today’s tour of the GNG will feature many of the late summer colors that you can find if you casually stroll thru the Garden and look around.  Another benefit of taking your time to appreciate the nature present here is to become aware of the ways in which native plants were used by the Native Americans.  Many of the placards used to identify individual plants mention these uses.                                                                                                    But brown is a color too … and no native plants exhibit that better than the buckwheats.  Depending on the species, they start out snowy white, and progress in the fall to pink and then to cinnamon and copper.  What a show, if you just take time to look!

New buckwheat blossoms

Mature buckwheat blossoms

Santa Cruz Island buckwheat

                       Most photos can be enlarged just by clicking on them.

           Western goldenrod is at its prime at this time of the year, and it’s not hard to spot.  It forms clumps by means of underground  stems that make it useful for preventing erosion.  Unfortunately, goldenrod has acquired a reputation for causing hay fever, but it is actually pollen from a different plant, ragweed (genus Ambrosia) that is responsible for this allergy.

Goldenrod (Solidago velutina ssp. californica)

Native Americans of various tribes used goldenrod as a tea to treat coughs, colds, sore throats and toothaches, and as an infusion for washing wounds and burns.           The showy rosy buckwheat, or red-flowered buckwheat (Eriogonum grande rubescens) begins flowering in late spring and persists into fall.  It originated in the Channel Islands where it gets summer fog, but it is comfortable inland, altho it might need a little water if it shows stress.  Besides being eye candy for us humans, the flowers, leaves and seeds provide food for small mammals as well as for finches, juncos, larks, sparrows, towhees, quail and grouse.                                                                                                    You may call it Pacific aster, California aster or coast aster (formerly Aster chilensis, now Symphotrichum chilense).  But don’t call it Chilean aster, because it did not originate in Chile, but is a native of the Pacific northwest.  It blooms from late summer thru winter, and stands about 3-4 feet tall, but the variety at the Granada Native Garden is the dwarf ‘Point St. George’, a ground cover about 12 inches or less tall.                                                     Pacific aster spreads readily by rhizomes (underground stems) in just about any soil, even beach sand.  This makes it a good soil stabilizer, as well as a “good late-season pollinator plant, providing a critical pollen source for bees active in the late fall, including new bumblebee queens building up their energy reserves before winter dormancy.”                                                                                                                     The gangly but nonetheless attractive gumplant, or gumweed (Grindelia camporum) isn’t the showiest member of the GNG family, but it might be one of the more interesting.  First of all, it starts blooming early, like April, and keeps it up well into fall.  The whole plant has a sticky feel, including the spheroid flower head which can be popped into the mouth and chewed like gum.  Of course, any enjoyment there is lasts only about 15 seconds, and it is mostly left to the imagination and the novelty of the experience!              But I don’t mean to sell gumplant short.  Like so many “weeds”, gumplant has been found to have authentic medicinal properties. Native Americans used the sticky resin to treat respiratory and dermatological afflictions, including poison oak, wounds, burns, boils and sores. Its effectiveness led early physicians to adopt it, and it is currently available as a herbal supplement for its anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and analgesic properties.                                                               However, some people are allergic to members of this botanical family (Asteraceae), so it should be used with caution.  Also, gumplant may contain high levels of selenium, which is toxic when ingested in large amounts.

It’s almost cherry-picking time at the GNG.  No, not those cherries.  The fruit of the holly-leafed cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) is well on its way to ripening.                                          When the cherries are dark purple, almost black, they have a thin layer of sweet, flavorful pulp surrounding an oversized pit.  It is said that Native Americans welcomed these cherries as a small but energy-rich pick-me-up snack while out hunting or gathering.  Actually, I can’t help treating myself to a few either, when I’m working at the Garden.  Look for them at the Garden — we have three healthy large shrub-like holly-leafed cherries there.

Remember, most photos can be enlarged just by clicking on them.

Other Late Summer & Early Fall Colors at the Granada Native Garden                                                                       

Bladderpod — with foliage that smells like sauteed onions and peppers!

 

 

 

 

Malva Rose –Its blossoms hide behind its foliage (but we cut it back heavily this fall, and they are easy to find).

 

 

 

Desert willow — Just planted this year and in its protective cage.  Should get about 10-12 feet tall in a few years!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left, native grapes, ripe and ready now!  On the right, the same grapes later this fall.  The native grapes are the Roger’s Red variety, which is actually a hybrid of the wild native grape and an European variety, Alicante bouschet, which gives it the intense red pigment in its leaves.

A Quote for Today …                                                                                                                    “If we come to love nature not only when it is rare and beautiful, but also when it is commonplace and even annoying, I believe it will heal the great wound of our species: our self-imposed isolation from the rest of life, our loneliness for nature.”                                                                                                                    – Nathanael Johnson, in Unseen City

Check out the native plant selection at ALDEN LANE NURSERY, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA 94550

Plants in 4-inch potsPlants in 4-inch pots

1-gal and larger plants1-gal and larger plants

For reliable certified arborist services, contact STUMPY’S TREE SERVICE, (925)518-1442, http://www.stumpystrees.com .

Stumpy'sGuided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available!                                                     Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this News- letter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address!

Index

3 Tables           This Index is to help both new and current Followers of the Granada Native Garden Newsletter become acquainted with the Garden and its Newsletter … and to help current Followers locate informational articles from earlier posts and individual topics.                                 To use this Index, scroll down to the topic that interests you.  Take note of the month and year when the topic was archived.  Then back up to the current Newsletter post and click on the desired month and year in the Archive list.                                                      To become a Follower, just find the “Follow” button at the lower right corner of the screen and follow the easy instructions.  You will be notified automatically by email whenever a new post is published (usually every one or two months).  Welcome to the Granada Native Garden Newsletter!                                                                                                 If you have questions or comments, please email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .

A:  Individual Plant Topics:  COMMON NAMES
B.  Individual Plant Topics:  SCIENTIFIC NAMES
C.  Plants by Themes
D.  General Topics

A.  INDIVIDUAL PLANT TOPICS:  COMMON NAMES                                    BuckeyeArchived in April, 2016.  Posted on April 17.                                          Buckwheat:  Archived in June, 2013.  Posted on June 26.
Bush Poppy:  Archived in February, 2015.  Posted on February 3.
California Poppies:  Archived in March, 2013.  Posted on March 15.
California White Oak:  Archived in August, 2014.  Posted on August 29.
Clarkia:  Archived in May, 2014.  Posted on May 4, 2014.
Coyote Brush:  Archived in February, 2014.  Posted on February 7.
Elderberry:  Archived in August, 2013.  Posted on August 23.                        Fiddleneck:  Archived in February, 2016.  Posted on February 7.                                Grape:  Archived in December, 2015.  Posted on December 1, 2015.                       Holly-Leafed Cherry:  Archived in October, 2015.  Posted on October 11, 2015.           Lupine:  Archived in April, 2013.  Posted on April 29, 2013.                                                 Malva Rose:  Archived in August, 2017.  Posted on August 8,  2017.                       Matilia Poppy:  Archived in May, 2016.  Posted on May 30, 2016.                          Miner’s Lettuce:  Archived in January, 2016.  Posted on January 17, 2016.
Mugwort:  Archived in July, 2015.  Posted on July 2.
Our Lord’s Candle:  Archived in May, 2015.  Posted on May 29.
Purple Needlegrass:  Archived in April, 2015.  Posted on April 30.
Sagebrush:  Archived in July, 2015.  Posted on July 2.
Toyon:  Archived in December, 2013.  Posted on December 5.
Valley oak:  Archived in August, 2014.  Posted on August 29.                             Yampah:  Archived in July, 2016.  Posted on July 14.                                            Yarrow:  Archived in March, 2017.  Posted on March 5.

B.  INDIVIDUAL PLANT TOPICS:  SCIENTIFIC NAMES                                                  Achillea millefolium Archived in March, 2017Posted on March 5.                    Aesculus californica Archived in April, 2016.  Posted on April 17.                   Amsinckia menziesii:  Archived in February, 2016.  Posted on February 7.
Artemesia spp.:  Archived in July, 2015.  Posted on July 2.
Baccharis pilularis:  Archived in February, 2014.  Posted on February 7.
Clarkia spp.:  Archived in May, 2014.  Posted on May 4.                                    Claytonia perfoliata:  Archived in January, 2016Posted on January 17, 2016.
Dendromecon:  Archived in February, 2015.  Posted on February 3.
Eriogonum spp.:  Archived in June, 2013.  Posted on June 26.
Eschscholzia californica:  Archived in March, 2013.  Posted on March 15.   Hesperoyucca whipplei:  Archived in May, 2015.  Posted on May 29.
Heteromeles arbutifolia:  Archived in December, 2013.  Posted on December 5.
Lupinus spp.:  Archived in April, 2013.  Posted on April 29.                                      Malva assurgentiflora:  Archived in August, 2017.  Posted on August 8.
Quercus lobata:  Archived in August, 2014.  Posted on August 29.                                    Perideridia kellogii:  Archived in July, 2016.  Posted on July 14, 2016.                        Prunus ilicifolia:  Archived in October, 2015.  Posted on October 11.                                 Romneya coulteri:  Archived in May, 2016.  Posted on May 30, 2016.                               Sambucus mexicana:  Archived in August, 2013.  Posted on August 23.
Stipa (Nassella) pulchra:  Archived in April, 2015.  Posted on April 30.                       Vitis californica:  Archived in December, 2015.  Posted on December 1, 2015.

C.  PLANTS BY THEMES
About “Fire Followers”:  Archived in July, 2014.  Posted on July 10.                    Current Attractions – Earth Day, 2014Archived in April, 2014.  Posted on April 27.    Is There Life after Poppies?  Archived in May, 2013.  Posted on May 27.           Planting for PollinatorsArchived in November, 2013.  Posted on November 10. Precocious Poppies & Other Signs of Spring:  Archived in February, 2014.  Posted on February 26.                                                                                                                         The Colors of Spring (April, 2014)Archived in April, 2014.  Posted on April 6.            The Return of the WildflowersArchived in March, 2015.  Posted on March 19.      Two Surprise Appearances!Archived in March, 2015.  Posted on March 31. 

D.  GENERAL TOPICS
Welcome to the Granada Native Garden!                                                                         Archived in February, 2013.  Posted on February 18.                                                        Overview of the Granada Native Garden                                                                             Archived in February, 2013.  Posted on February 24.                                                     A Short History of the Granada Native Garden                                                                   Archived in May, 2013.  Posted on May 8.                                                               Plant Communities of the Granada Native Garden                                                            Archived in April, 2013.  Posted on April 1.                                                             Water Management at the Granada Native Garden                                                        Archived in January, 2015.  Posted on January 3.                                                     Why Should We Plant Natives?                                                                                             Archived in November, 2014.  Posted on November 11.                                           Why Do People NOT Grow Native Plants? – Part 1                                                         Archived in July, 2013.  Posted on July 18.                                                                       Why Do People NOT Grow Native Plants? – Part 2                                                            Archived in July, 2013.  Posted on July 24.                                                         Planting for Pollinators                                                                                                         Archived in November, 2013.  Posted on November 10.                                           Fire! … at the Granada Native Garden                                                                                 Archived in June, 2014.  Posted on June 10.                                                           About “Fire Followers”                                                                                                          Archived in July, 2014.  Posted on July 10.                                                          Current Attractions – Earth Day, 2014                                                                                 Archived in April, 2014.  Posted on April 27.                                                                  Is There Life after Poppies?                                                                                                  Archived in May, 2013.  Posted on May 27.                                                                      Precocious Poppies & Other Signs of Spring (Feb-Mar, 2014)                                          Archived in February, 2014.  Posted on February 26.                                                  The Colors of Spring (April, 2014)                                                                                        Archived in April, 2014.  Posted on April 6.                                                            Return of the Wildflowers                                                                                                     Archived in March, 2015.  Posted on March 19.                                                        Two Surprise Appearances!                                                                                                 Archived in March, 2015.  Posted on March 31.                                                         The Arroyo Mocho at the Granada Native Garden                                                          Archived in August, 2015.  Posted on August 25.                                                 What’s Blooming? – March, 2016                                                                                       Archived in March, 2016.  Posted on March 8.                                                                 In Defense of “Bugs                                                                                                             Archived in September, 2016.  Posted on September 10.                                     Nature Therapy at the Granada Native Garden                                                                Archived in March, 2018.  Posted on March 25.                                                                                                        

ALN Credit

Volunteering at the Granada Native Garden

The Granada Native Garden is the result of a vision and a lot of hard work by unpaid volunteers.

October, 2003

May, 2018

 

These are workers whose compensation is the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile that otherwise would not get done — building something that adds beauty and worth to our community, restoring some of the natural habitat for native bees, birds and other pollinators that so-called “progress” has destroyed, and opening a window into the way of life of the Native Americans who thrived and tended the wild sustainably in the Livermore community hundreds of years before its present inhabitants displaced them.  (The photos above were taken from the same viewing angle.  Click on them to enlarge them.)

The staff at the GNG would welcome you to join usThere are several ways that you can do that. They are described below.  Find one that fits your interests and skills.  Then let the staff know that you are available to help build, maintain and improve this remarkable venue, by emailing Jim at  jimatgng@gmail.com,  or by chatting with him or one of the staff you find working at the GNG.

Mary Ann

Be a “Regular” Worker Bee
Maybe you can spare and hour or two once a week, or every other week, or maybe only once a month. There is always work to do — pulling weeds, trimming or pruning the native plants, keeping the pathways clear, watering plants that have not yet become established or need an occasional drink to make it thru the hot summer.  If Jim knows that he can expect you, he will be able to direct you to whatever currently needs to be done at the Garden.

Dean

Be an “Occasional” Worker Bee
Occasionally (that is, a couple of times a year, usually in the winter or spring) Jim will send out by email a general request for helpers to attack some seasonal task — usually involving weed control.  Just ask Jim to add you to the “Occasional Workday” list and check your email regularly. Occasional Workdays are usually on Saturdays or Sundays.

 

Dave

Be a “Specialist”                             You might be interested in overseeing a particular section of the GNG (chaparral, woodland, riparian, grassland), or a particular plant family (lilacs, sages, buckwheats, grasses, wildflowers, native roses, etc.).  Discuss your special interest with Jim and work out a plan that fits your interest and the needs of the GNG.

 

Kirpa

Be an “Irregular” Worker Bee
Maybe sometimes you just feel like getting some exercise, sun and fresh air and nature therapy at the GNG, and you wonder if Jim needs some help. The best thing to do is to email Jim a day or two ahead of time, so that he can tell you if he will be on duty at the GNG on that day, and maybe let you know how you can best serve the GNG that day.

 

 

Be a “Garden Manager”
There are numerous tasks well suited to a person who enjoys management, which is definitely not Jim’s strong point!  To begin with, there are a number of projects that would improve the GNG for the Livermore community.  These include signage indicating the location of the GNG, construction of an on-site parking space, modification of the curb to provide a suitable entrance for automobiles, and a host of related safety issues.  This would involve working with the school district (LVJUSD, the owner of the property), the City and law enforcement.
Also, a GNG manager might help to develop educational programs at the Garden, apply for grants to get special projects done, inviting the Eagle Scouts for other projects, organizing and supervising Occasional Workdays, and other tasks beyond basic maintenance of the GNG.
If you have management ability, you are sorely needed at GNG!

Meenakshi & Malvika

Follow Our Newsletter!                                                                                                    If you haven’t discovered this already,, the GNG staff publishes an occasional Newsletter that tells about some of the plants at the Garden, or discusses an important related issue.  To access the Newsletter, just google “Granada Native Garden Newsletter”.  You can become a regular subscriber to the Newsletter, just click the FOLLOW button at the lower right corner of the screen and type in your contact information; you will be notified whenever a new article appears.  And feel free to contact Jim at  jimatgng@gmail.com       if you have an inquiry!

Quote du Jour:                                                                                                                            “The white man sure ruined this country.  It’s turned back to wilderness.”                                                                                         – James Rust, a Southern Sierra Miwok elder

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Hummingbird Sage – A Different Kind of Sage

Photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals

Most native sages have blue, purple or white blossoms.  Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) is the exception – it is the only native sage with red flowers.                                          Hummingbird sage is also unique in that it behaves like a ground cover, rather than a shrub, spreading underground from rhizomes and forming dense colonies of low foliage with flowering stalks 1-3 feet tall.  Aside from this difference in color and habit, the sage family (Lamiaceae or Labiatae, the mint family) has a wide array of forms, shapes and foliage.  The name Salvia comes from the Latin word salvare, “to save”, based on its use from ancient times for its herbal and medicinal qualities.                                                                 While being highly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, the sages are not bothered by deer and rabbits, probably due to the pungent aroma of their leaves.  The fruity aroma of hummingbird sage has been likened to that of pineapple sage.  Its pleasant scent makes it an interesting and novel addition to hummingbird sage shortbread, the recipe for which follows in this article.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Stoughton

Hummingbird sage grows well in dry shade or dappled sunlight, especially in the understory of oak trees.  It is drought tolerant, altho like many native plants, a little moisture once or twice a month keeps it looking good during the dry season.  Competition with other plants keeps it from spreading out of control, and the rhizomes are easy to dig up and can be used to start another colony someplace else.  After flowering, it should be dead-headed to favor new growth.

Hummingbird Sage Shortbread                                                                                                  Many thanks to Susan Krzywicki, a landscap designer and consultant in San Diego, for contributing this interesting snack recipeI have made it several times.  She recom- mends S. spathacea as a sweeter and less pungent species of sage.  She cautions that “sage is not commonly considered to be a plant that people are allergic to, but be safe”; individuals vary in allergy sensitivities, and I have one acquaintance who just seems to dislike the aroma of the sages.  With Susan’s permission, I have made a few minor adaptations in the recipe.

5 medium-large fresh hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) leaves
12 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 Tbs white sugar
2 Tbs packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
Extra white sugar (optional)

Wash and pat dry the sage leaves.  Chop them into small mince (about 2 loose tablespoons-ful). Set aside.
Cream together the butter and the two sugars.  Stir in the vanilla extract.
Stir together the flour, salt and reserved sage leaves.  Stir this mixture into the butter mixture in 3-4 portions, until the dough holds together in a ball.  Press the dough evenly into a 9”x9” baking pan.  Sprinkle with extra white sugar, if desired.
Bake at 325 º for 35-40 minutes, until lightly browned.  Remove from the oven.  While still warm, score the shortbread into serving-sized squares.

Hummingbird Sage Tea                                                                                                                A cup of tea would be a good match with some hummingbird sage shortbread! Here is a recipe for hummingbird sage tea, adapted from Mother Nature’s Backyard, http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2012/06/making-tea-from-california-native-mint.html. The tea can be made from the fresh or the dried leaves, but using non-metal pots, cups and utensils is recommended.                                                              Start with one 3-4 inch leaf of hummingbird sage per cup of tea. Tear or cut the leaf or leaves and place them in a cup or heat-proof container. Pour very hot (just below boiling) water over the leaves and let them steep to your taste. Strain out the leaves. Add a little honey or sugar if desired.

Quotes du Jour                                                                                                                             I’ve found that people get very annoyed when native plant people proselytize ONLY local native plants.  Many of the plants that we all enjoy and use in our native plant gardens are not local, as they are not widely available in the trade and are very limited in scope.  The only way to get more people onboard is to integrate what we can into the landscape. Utilizing natives, both local and regional, along with other pollinator, bird and wildlife friendly plants and landscapes, is the best approach for the average home garden.  We are not able to recreate what was originally here on these tiny plots; we can only enhance our gardens with the best plants for both people and wildlife.  Just be flexible and positive when talking to people about using native plants.                                                                                                                                                                                                             – Ronnie ohanaeaton@att.net

            ‘The first year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap’ is very true for a lot of natives.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       – Cited by Pete Veilleux

Check out the native plant selection at ALDEN LANE NURSERY, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA 94550

Plants in 4-inch potsPlants in 4-inch pots

1-gal and larger plants1-gal and larger plants

For reliable certified arborist services, contact STUMPY’S TREE SERVICE, (925)518-1442, http://www.stumpystrees.com .

Stumpy'sGuided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available!                                                     Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this News- letter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address!

Nature Therapy at the Granada Native Garden

A Personal Note                                                                                                                            During our work at the Granada Native Garden, we volunteers are often approached by visitors using the adjacent Arroyo Mocho Bike Trail who thank us for our labors in maintaining the Garden.  Many also appreciate the colorful display of wildflowers in the Garden in the springtime.                                                                                                       However, I suspect that many of these passersby have never actually entered the Garden and wandered thru it casually to appreciate the different colors, shapes, smells and subtleties present in this tiny sample of native California, and can be appreciated at any time of the year, not just in the spring.  Not to mention the many plant identification markers which tell about the importance of individual plants to the ecology of the region and to the Native Americans who used to live in this region and depended on the plants for their livelihood and survival. As one elderly visitor once remarked, ”You see all kinds of things here, if you just stop and look! ”                                                                                             The Granada Native Garden was once described by a visitor as “Livermore’s Best Kept Secret”.  It is true that the GNG takes up only 1/3 of an acre of downtown Livermore, and is bounded on one side by the busy traffic of Murrieta Boulevard and on the other by the Granada High School campus.                                                                                                  But, small as it is, the GNG offers its visitors more than a sight for sore eyes and a tiny island of peace and serenity in the middle of a busy city.  Evidence is accumulating that exposure to nature, even in brief doses, is not only healthful but therapeutic.  We shall examine some of that evidence in this article.  (Maybe this helps to explain why golf is so popular, especially among people who might be less likely to otherwise spend time in nature.) (Note:  Most images can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

Evidence from Therapy                                                                                                                 It is well acknowledged that modern life can afflict us with symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Especially since the dawn of the Internet, we’ve become more irritable, less sociable, more narcissistic, more distracted and less cognitively nimble.                       Research and actual experience in Japan, Germany and forest-rich Scandinavia has found that “forest therapy” — spending time walking in natural surroundings (as opposed to urban concrete, asphalt and traffic) — is not only good exercise, but can result in a decrease in the body’s stress hormones, blood pressure and heart rate. We would be in good company — reportedly Aristotle, Charles Darwin, Nikola Tesla, and Albert Einstein all found that walking outdoors helped them to think. The American psychologist Benjamin Rush observed that patients who engaged in physical activity often recovered more quickly than those who “languished within the walls of the hospital”.  And Freud blamed cities for “unhealthy repressive tendencies”.                                                                                                   But just within the past several years, numerous doctors, psychiatrists, educators, ecotherapists and pediatricians have witnessed significant changes in their clients’ outlook on life, after prescribing for them a habit of exposure to nature. The Japanese term shinrin yoku, or “forest bathing”, means letting nature into one’s body thru all five senses. Elements of the environment, such as sunlight, the odor of wood and foliage, the sound of running water in streams, and the colors, scenery and atmosphere of the forest can provide relaxation and mental clarity and reduce stress.                                                             This doesn’t mean you have to move to the country.  One psycho- logist recommends just 20 minutes a day outside in nature.  To ward off depression, a study in Finland recommends a minimum of five hours a month in nature.  Others have found that as little as five minutes in a natural setting, whether walking in a park or gardening in the backyard, improves mood, self-esteem, and motivation, even if it’s starting out with five minutes of weeding.  But in a word, any time we have an opportunity to separate ourselves from a manic, urban environment, is time well spent for our mental health.Evidence from Evolution                                                                                                              Our human ancestors, beginning with the genus Homo, emerged about 2-3 million years ago.  Since that time, we humans have spent over 99% of our evolutionary history immersed in natural environ- ments.  Our humanity has been influenced by the ability to recognize both the comforting and the hazard- ous elements of life in the natural world, and respond to them.  The humans who were most sensitive to the influence of nature were likely to have passed it on to their progeny.             However, we live in a society now characterized by urbanization and artificiality. We are becoming increasingly isolated from the natural world, even tho our physiological functions remain adapted it.  Ludwig van Beethoven realized that “the woods, the trees and the rocks give man the resonance he needs.” Yoshifumi Miyazaki, Ph.D., a leader in promoting the salutary effects of our reconnection to nature, emphasizes that “naturalistic environments remain some of the only places where we engage all five senses and thus by definition, are fully, physically alive.”                                                                                                  The eminent biologist and naturalist E. O. Wilson, proponent of the biophilia hypothesis, proposes that “peaceful or nurturing elements of nature help us regain equanimity, cognitive clarity, empathy and hope.  The humans who were most attuned to the cues of nature were the ones who survived to pass on these traits.”  While, in the past, contact with nature was inescapable and routine, our lives now are “dominated by a tech- nology which is wondrously powerful — and yet nonetheless dead.”  “We are animals, and like other animals, we seek places that give us what we need.”

Evidence from Biology                                                                                                                 Plants take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and in turn release oxygen.  Our brains require a steady amount of glucose and oxygen to function properly, so finding ways to increase their oxygen levels could help our brains function better.  This is especially true in an environment in which automobile engines and anything that burns coal, wood, gasoline and other petroleum products replaces the oxygen in the air with carbon dioxide and monoxide.  It seems logical that an environment in which oxygen-producing plants predominate is one in which our bodies function better.  Likewise, it has long been acknowledged that having plants in the home can reduce carbon dioxide levels while increasing oxygen levels.                                                                                                         Vitamin D is an essential nutrient required to maintain the health of our bones and teeth, support the health of our immune system, brain, and nervous system, regulate our insulin levels, and support lung function and cardiovascular health.  While only a few foods naturally contain adequate sources of vitamin D, our bodies are able to manufacture vitamin D thru the intervention of sunlight.  Time spent outdoors in nature, even for short periods of time, enables our bodies to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D.  Furthermore, sunlight also appears to influence the shape of the retina in our eyes, protecting the eyeball from growing too long and causing myopia (near-sightedness).  As a bonus, time spent outdoors gives our eyes the practice of focusing on features that are both near and far, (as long as our eyes are not glued to our smart phone screen).                                                             I delight in the aroma of cloves when I pass the elderberry bush in full bloom in the Granada Native Garden, or of any one of many sages growing there, or the distinctive aroma of coyote brush or a native sycamore growing along an arroyo or an open field. A great many of the phytochemicals that are produced by these and other plants are not detectable by humans, but insects and birds can sense them in the atmosphere even many miles away, and alert them to desirable food or nectar sources.                                             These volatile chemicals are part of the air we breathe when we are surrounded by trees, shrubs, grasses, herbs and the soil.  They include terpenes, pinenes, limonenes and numerous other substances with which we are already familiar in conifers, spices, mints, sages, basil, citrus fruits and even cannabis.  Over the course of human evolution, native peoples have learned that numerous phytochemicals have beneficial effects on our health. The whimsical advice to “Take two hours of pine forest and call me in the morning” is very much to the point — simply walking in the woods and inhaling the atmosphere produced by plants most likely has a certain beneficial effect on our immune system and general health, and the only sense we have of it is that it feels good after a walk in nature!   For more about terpenes, see the Newsletter article “Tarweeds – and Their Evil Cousin”, published on October 15, 2017. Evidence from Fractals                                                                                                                Our brains appear to be especially well-adapted to recognize patterns.  We are wired to appreciate patterns, altho we may do it uncon- sciously.  We probably developed this facility because we evolved outdoors, in a world filled with an infinite number of interesting shapes, colors and configurations.  There are so many variations of these patterns, also called fractals, some obvious and others subtle, that we take them for granted, and are barely aware of them.  Nonetheless, our exposure to these patterns over the millenia has contributed to developing the remarkable complexity of the human brain.                                                                                                                          Some examples of fractals in nature include sea shells, snow flakes, lightning, broccoli, ferns, trees and leaves, pineapples, clouds, crystals, mountain ranges, shore lines, rivers, sea urchins and sea stars, stalagmites, stalactites and icicles.  According to David Pincus, Ph.D., “Fractal structure helps us to grow and connect … and has direct influences on physical health by encouraging integration and flexibility among our circulatory, respiratory, and immune systems”.  Nanoparticle physicist Richard Taylor believes that “We need these natural patterns to look at, and we’re not getting enough of them.”                                                                        

 

 

 

 

 

It is my belief that our subliminal awareness of the patterns surrounding us in nature — in addition to the effect of the phytochemicals in the air — is responsible for the comforting, de-stressing experience that results from time spent in nature.  Being surrounded by nature makes us feel at home again.                                                                                                When we find reasons to withdraw from nature, or when modern life weans us from the outdoors in favor of more time spent in front of a screen or tethered to a smart phone, we deprive ourselves of the therapeutic regimen that is part of our evolutionary heritage as human beings.  We become less insightful, less social, less empathetic, less human.

Nature Therapy at the Granada Native Garden                                                                         How much nature is effective to restore our psyche?  The Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests an ideal woodland of about 12 acres, at least 5 hours a month.  Lisa Tyrväinen of the National Research Institute of Finland might agree that two or three days per month outside the city would work just as well.  But most researchers in this field would probably agree that any amount of time spent surrounded by the effects of nature is restorative.

Murrieta Entrance

South Trail Entrance

The Bay Area has numerous sizeable woodland parks, close to most of our cities, where it would be relatively easy to escape if one were to make it a priority.  The Granada Native Garden is a bit smaller (only 1/3 of an acre! ), but it is located within the city limits, so it is close at hand.  On the other hand, it is bordered by a busy, noisy main thoroughfare on one side, which makes it difficult to isolate oneself from city life.

North Trail Entrance

Yet, there is much nature to experience in this small enclave.  By simply walking into the Garden, you are immediately immersed in an environment radically different from the concrete, traffic and commercial world a few steps away.  Better yet, sit at one of the mosaic-covered tables and try to shut the bustle of the city out of your consciousness.  “You will see all kinds of things here, if you just stop and look.”  If water is flowing in the nearby Arroyo Mocho, the relaxing sound of the water will help remind you that you are in a different place.                                                                                                                              How many different structures and shapes do you see around you?  How many colors?  How many different hues of the same color?  Are any plants in bloom?  Where are they, and how do they differ from each other?  Do any of the plants have fruits, in the form of seeds, pods or cones?                                                                                                                Does it smell different here in the Garden?  Are you curious about any of the things you see?  Do you hear or see any bird life?  What are the birds doing — gathering seeds, calling to each other, searching for food, being aware of you or of others of their type?                                                                                                                                   Get up and walk around.  Are any parts of the Garden more or less shady, flat or sloped, dry or moist?  Do different plants grow in different parts of the Garden?  Do some plants have tough, stiff leaves, while others have soft and tender leaves?  Narrow, needle-like leaves or broad leaves with large surface area?  How do you think the size, shape and texture of the leaves helps the plant survive in our hot, dry summers?                            As you walk around, notice the white markers that tell you the name of the plants, and something about how the plant is important to the environment, or how it was used by the Native Americans.                                                                                                                      How about fractals?  Use your imagination, with the help of the examples displayed above, to recognize patterns in the living things around you. If you see any, I hope you photograph them and forward them to Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com !                           As you walk around, notice the white markers that tell you the name of the plants, and something about how the plant is important to the environment, or how it was used by the Native Americans.                                                                                                                      The volunteers at the Granada Native Garden encourage you visit the Garden often and experience the restorative qualities of this small sample of nature.  And to become a “Follower” of the Granada Native Garden Newsletter to keep in touch with some of the amazing features in the Garden, by clicking the “Follow” button that (usually) appears at the lower right corner of your screen!Quote du jour                                                                                                                             “We need the tonic of wildness.  At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”                                             – Henry David Thoreau

Check out the native plant selection at ALDEN LANE NURSERY, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA 94550

Plants in 4-inch potsPlants in 4-inch pots

1-gal and larger plants1-gal and larger plants

For reliable certified arborist services, contact STUMPY’S TREE SERVICE, (925)518-1442, http://www.stumpystrees.com .

Stumpy'sGuided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available!                                                     Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this News- letter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address!

Tarweeds — and Their Evil Cousin!

Madia elegans — One of the Tarweeds


What Are Tarweeds?                                                                                                                    Whoever came up with the name “tarweed” didn’t do the plant any favors. True, the plants called tarweeds do have a sticky, sometimes black exudate secreted by glands on their leaves, stems and flower buds, and often have a turpentine-like smell.  But to liken them to tar seems unfair and uncomplimentary, considering their beauty, captivating aroma and usefulness to the Native Americans and to wildlife.  However, there are exceptions, as we shall learn later in this essay.  Besides, they didn’t evolve to please us humans, but to fill an important environmental niche, and to guarantee their own survival.

Exudate glands on tarweed

However, tarweed seeds were an important food source for Native Americans.  The tarweeds were one of the crops that were burned regularly to increase seed production in the following year.  The hills were burned when the seeds were mature but the plants were still green.  The toasted tarweed seeds, along with seeds from dozens of other plants, were used to make pinoles, or ground into flour for baking.  (Most photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

Tarweeds and Terpenes                                                                                                               Plants produce a great number of chemicals which are useful to them for numerous physiological and ecological purposes.  Some taste bad and discourage herbivores from eating them.  Others provide immunity from pathogens such as bacteria and fungi, or resistance to plants competing for the same space.  They might also protect the plant from drying out in the summer, and even offer some shielding from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.  Others are volatile enough to escape into the air and either attract pollinators, or signal an invitation to insects and birds that feed on organisms which are otherwise intent on devouring the plant.                                                                                                                    Terpenes are a large and diverse class of chemical compounds that serve these purposes.  We are already aware of them in conifers, rosemary, mints, sages, basil, citrus fruits and even marijuana.  And in the numerous plants we call the tarweeds.                                  Many of these chemicals have aromas that humans either find attractive (as in the scent of flowers, spices and essential oils) or repulsive (as in the stench of cannabis and stinkwort, a plant which we will encounter later). Some are even thought to have medicinal properties, and help in fighting bacteria, fungus and environmental stress.  Vitamin A is a terpene.

Blossoms on Yellowflower Tarweed

Yellowflower Tarweed or Narrow Tarplant                                                                  This tarweed, also called virgate tarweed or pitgland tarweed (Holocarpha virgata) is the featured tarweed at the Granada Native Garden.  (A related species, gumplant (Grindelia camporum), also grows at the GNG.)  It flowers from May into fall with pretty little yellow aster-like blossoms. The aroma that radiates copiously from its foliage reminded one recent visitor of turpentine, but it makes me think of a barber shop.  I’m not sure why.  I like to embrace a clump of yellowflower tarweed and come away with its slightly sticky but refreshing scent on my clothing and arms, which usually follows me home.  In the Sacramento Valley, yellowflower tarweed thrives in the hard packed soil along roadsides and vacant lots. Whether it is considered a weed or not (a “weed” is something that grows where you want something else to grow), depends on your point of view. Birds and mammals relish the seeds. The pollen is an important food source for bees. On the other hand, it flourishes in fields where livestock graze, and while livestock use the young plants as forage in winter and early spring, it becomes unpalatable as it increases in size and terpene content later in the season.

Grindelia at the GNG

Livermore Tarplant                                                                                                                       Move over, Livermorium (atomic element number 116, of which only a few atoms have ever been made and which only exists for a few milliseconds at a time anyway). Livermore now has its own tarweed, Deinandra bacigalupii or the Livermore tarplant.
First described as new to science in 1999, the Livermore tarplant only occurs within a half-mile of the City of Livermore in Alameda County.  The plant grows in poorly-drained, seasonally-dry alkaline meadows.  It is found in three places within 90 acres of the Livermore Valley, places that are subject to frequent disturbance, including road construction, off-road vehicle use, and application of herbicides.  These challenges, in addition to encroachment and competition by non-native species, threaten the survival of the plant.  The largest area of Livermore tarplant habitat is on property owned by the City of Livermore, and all other Livermore tarplant habitat is on private property.  One of the Livermore tarplant populations was almost completely destroyed by the operations of a landscape business in 2014.

Livermore tarplant (photo by Jeb Bjerke)

Two years after Heath Bartosh, Rare Plant Committee Chairman of the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, petitioned the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to list this rare endemic species as endangered, the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to grant the Livermore tarplant endangered status.  Livermore tarplant was the first plant in nearly a decade to be added to the California Endangered Species list.  This means that killing or possessing the plant is prohibited by the California Endangered Species Act.

Stinkwort – The Tarweeds’ Evil Cousin!                     In 1984, a new tarweed was discovered in Milpitas, California.  But unlike the Livermore tarplant, stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens) is not a native tarweed.  It is a Mediterranean native that has found its way here and decided to stay.  By 2017, it had spread to 41 of the 58 counties in California.  Now it is a common and prolific resident of our state, owing to the high viability rate of its seeds (90%), capable of germinating at any time of the year in neglected landscapes, and its ability to spread by wind, on the fur and feathers of animals, and by motor vehicles and equipment along transportation corridors (because of its sticky seeds).  I suspect that, very shortly, it will become the dominant vegetation in places where it has got its start, unless aggressive and continuous measures are taken to eradicate it.

Stinkwort along a roadside

The best means of eradicating stinkwort (if that is ultimately possible) is to pull it up by its roots, preferably by mid-September.  This is fairly easy if the plant is only 1-2 feet tall. Larger specimens need to be cut at the base, preferably below ground level.  Any plants that have begun to flower should be bagged and discarded, but what happens to them after that is anyone’s guess.                                                    Stinkwort’s terpenes are aromatic, similar to those of H. virgata which it resembles in appearance and, to some extent, its not objectionable odor.  But if you are tasked with the job of pulling it out in places where it has infested heavily, the name “stinkwort” is appropriate.  My introduction to the tarweeds took place a few years ago while spending a morning doing exactly that.  Afterward, I had to take a shower and launder my clothing.  Its terpenes can, reportedly, cause contact dermatitis, itchy skin or blistering in humans. Besides being generally unpalatable to animals, if it is eaten by livestock, barbed bristles on the seeds can puncture the small intestine wall and cause enteritis. It will make their milk taste bad, too.

Typical stinkwort habitat along the Arroyo Mocho

But stinkwort is a California native tarweed mimic.  After 1865, the perennial native grasslands were largely grazed to dust by cattle.  This allowed the native tarweeds to flourish.  But then the native tarweeds were largely wiped out by herbicides in the 1950s in order to create rangeland for cattle.  So when stinkwort arrived in California, it quickly filled in the ecological niche left by the mostly extinct natives, making it a prime example of a highly aggressive non-native species.                                                                                              Stinkwort also contains two phytotoxins, tetrahydroaromaticin and ilicic acid, that inhibit the growth of other plants around it, giving it a competitive advantage over other plants, including natives.  It is now being found growing abundantly along the Arroyo Mocho that borders the Granada Native Garden.  Eternal vigilance is the price of a stinkwort-free garden!

Quote du jour 1                                                                                                                             “Those who know tarweed seem divided into those who love it and those who do not. The Tarweed Appreciation Society is a small tongue-in-cheek group of native plant lovers who have a fondness for tarweed.”                                                                              – Judith Larner Lowry, in “California Foraging”, p. 123

Quote du jour 2                                                                                                                             “In the world of photosynthetic organisms, stinkwort comes about as close to zero as possible for habitat value.”                                                                                                – Barbara M. Leitner, Plant Ecologist

Check out the native plant selection at ALDEN LANE NURSERY, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA 94550

Plants in 4-inch pots

Plants in 4-inch pots

1-gal and larger plants

1-gal and larger plants

For reliable certified arborist services, contact STUMPY’S TREE SERVICE, (925)518-1442, http://www.stumpystrees.com .

Stumpy'sGuided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available!                                                     Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this News- letter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address!

When a Rose Is Not a Rose

It’s a Mallow                                                                                                                                  With apologies to Shakespeare and Gertrude Stein (“A rose is a rose is a rose …”), the malva rosa is not a rose.  Not even close.  It’s a mallow, a rosy mallow.  Also known as island tree mallow, it belongs to the family Malvaceae, of which there are two other representatives at the Granada Native Garden (bush mallow, or Malacothamnus fremontii, and globe mallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua). In the same family are okra, cocao, cotton, hollyhock and hibiscus, as well as the pesty (but reportably edible) non-native cheeseweed (Malva parviflora) which we relentlessly pull out every year all over the Garden.

Malva rosa in February, 2016

Malva rosa (Malva assurgentiflora) used to be named Lavatera assurgentiflora, and it is still often sold under that name.  (And in case you are wondering, marshmallows originated when the roots of another member of the mallow family, Althaea officinalis, were boiled with sugar until thick.  Now, of course, marshmallows are made from sugar, water and gelatin, and puffed up with air, not anything related to the mallow plant.)  (Photos can usually be enlarged by clicking on them.)

Shy But Water-Wise                                                                                                                     The showy but shy blossoms have the habit of hiding somewhat within the interior of the tree, so that they are not readily seen without a closer look. Their color has been described as red with white stripes, or white with red stripes. (Personally, I tend to prefer “cerise” or “magenta”.)

California Floristic Province (in red)

Like many of the California natives growing in the “California Floristic Province”, malva rosa is native to California but not necessarily to the part of California where we want to grow it. In this case, malva rosa is specifically native to the Channel Islands, a chain of eight islands in the Pacific Ocean along the Santa Barbara Channel, where the climate is moderated by the moist ocean air with high humidity (often between 60%-100%), frequent fog, and unpredict- able but usually abundant rainfall. The Channel Islands are included within the boundaries of the California Floristic Province.

Malva rosa in July, 2016

 

This means that malva rosa evolved to grow in a less hostile environment than the hot, dry California interior. While this difference makes it difficult to grow some California natives where we might hope to enjoy them, this hasn’t prevented malva rosa from escaping its homeland and thriving in mainland California, as long as the soil has good drainage and it receives some summer water.

At the Granada Native Garden in hot, dry Livermore, malva rosa survives by being “drought deciduous” or “summer deciduous”. This means that, as the weather gets warmer and dryer, it retains only as many leaves as the available water can support, and drops the rest. The poor thing can look to be on death’s doorstep at the end of summer, but only until the winter rains begin, when it bursts into new foliage. And in 2016, we had a good start on the seasonal rainfall in mid-October (see the photos below; they can be enlarged by clicking on them).

Malva rosa in November, 2016!

Malva rosa in September, 2016

Other Fun Facts about Malva Rosa!                                                                                           Malva rosa is a fast grower. Ours was planted in fall, 2012, and now stands about 8 feet tall and about 10 feet wide. It needs vigilant pruning to maintain its shape and size, and keep its interior from getting too crowded.                                                                                It drops numerous seeds which readily sprout beneath its branches (but we have not yet tried to transplant any of these).                                                                                           The leaves seem to be a popular gathering place for numerous insects of various types, such as spider mites, thrips, lace bugs, psyllids and whiteflies, altho none of these have so far proved to be pests or bothersome.                                                                                Watershed Nursery reports that malva rosa was used by Native Americans to treat broken bones, sores, swelling and injuries.

Current Attractions at the Granada Native Garden                                                                  Summer is not the most colorful time of the year at the GNG, but nevertheless there are plenty of attractions to enjoy, colorwise or otherwise. Furthermore, we have been getting better at placing easily readible marker placards in front of many of the plants. So here are some of the attractions that might tempt you to visit before summer ends.                        Buckwheat is abundant and very much in bloom at this time of the year at the Granada Native Garden. Its white pom pom-like blossoms gradually turn to pink, then to copper, then to chocolate, as the season progresses. Two of the most prominant buckwheats of this description at the GNG are California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) and Santa Cruz Island buckwheat (E. arborescens), but not to be missed is red buckwheat (E. grande rubescens) with its showy red blossoms, but they are starting to fade. All of the buckwheats are great butterfly and honeybee plants. For more information about buckwheats, use the Newsletter Index to look up the article about buckwheats published in June 2013.

Buckeye on buckwheat

Three recent arrivals located in the general vicinity of the tables are the bed of red California fuchsia (Epilobium californicum, donated to us by Rob DeBree of Elkhorn Native Nursery), a field of bright yellow California goldenrod (Solidago velutina), and a small but expanding patch of lavender California aster (Symphyotrichum chilense).
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), featured in the March, 2017 issue of the Newsletter, is still in bloom at various locations at the Garden, altho much of it is “over the hill”, but retains its own “brown is a color” personality.

California aster

California goldenrod

Closer to the center of the Garden, you can find bladderpod (Peritoma arborea), with its yellow blossoms and its foliage smelling like sauteed bell peppers and onions.  Read about it in the February issue of the Newsletter.  Speaking of plant aromas but not currently in color, but looking lush and spilling over the pathway is mugwort (Artemesia douglasiana). Its cousin, sagebrush (Artemesia californica), with its totally different physical appearance but similar distinctive pleasant medicinal aroma, is growing along the path at the other side of the Garden near Murrieta Blvd.                                                                                                    Along the Arroyo Mocho bike trail is a large (and growing larger) field of gumplant (Grindelia camporum or G. stricta, we’re not sure, probably both!), with its sticky yellow blossoms and sticky leaves and sticky flower heads. Give them a feel!                                            Finally, yampah (Perideridia sp., aka “Indian potatoes”) is taking over the triangular area formerly monopolized by the elderberry (Sambucus mexicana, featured in the August, 2013 Newsletter.  The berries are forming now, but a few weeks ago the blossoms were emitting the unmistakable aroma of cloves as you passed by.  The elderberry gets cut down to 5-6 feet every winter, but quickly grows to its full height within the next few months.                                                                                                                                           And if you are looking for a native California grass with a tall, graceful appearance but doesn’t turn dormant during the summer, there is a patch of alkali sacaton (Sporo- bolus airoides) nearby.

Quote du Jour                                                                                                                                “It is the time you have spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.”                                                               – Antoine de St. Exupery (author of “The Little Prince”)

Check out the native plant selection at ALDEN LANE NURSERY, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA 94550

Plants in 4-inch pots

Plants in 4-inch pots

1-gal and larger plants

1-gal and larger plants

For reliable certified arborist services, contact STUMPY’S TREE SERVICE, (925)518-1442, http://www.stumpystrees.com .

Stumpy'sGuided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available!                                                     Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this News- letter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address!