A chilly overcast April day suits photography just as Santa Cruz climate befits the Southern Hemisphere plants thriving at the Arboretum. This Rose Coneflower will bloom for weeks.
Proteas prevail in the Arboretum’s collection, with stunning variety. This is ‘Fireball’ Teopea looks nothing like its fellow Australian Protea, Rose Coneflower (above).
Myrtles also grow profusely at the Arboretum. This Scarlet Honey-Myrtle is related to (non-native) Bottlebrush and Eucalyptus trees seen throughout Northern California.
Grevillea ‘Superb’ attracts a Golden-Crowned Sparrow. Apparently dark red parts of the flowers are delicious. Who knew that seed-loving sparrows partake of flowers too?
Another myrtle, ‘Silver Princess’ is an Aussie Eucalyptus. Flowers, seedpods, and branches display deep magenta coated with silvery dust that I suspect is mildly toxic.
Grevillea ‘Superb’ is beloved by bumblebees as well as birds. Two photographers spent all afternoon with just this plant and its bees. Yet another Australian Protea.
Slowing down its wings while flitting among tight branches, this male black-chinned hummingbird favors an unidentified Protea. Australia has no hummingbirds of its own.
We’ve entered the South African part of the Arboretum. Another wily Protea! This Leucospermum Goldfinger was planted in 2018, one of the newest additions to the garden.
Another Goldfinger blossom looks quite different. Named for Proteus, the original Greek shape-shifter, it’s no surprise that certain Protea flowers transform as they grow.
A third image of the same plant. Who could resist revealing more variety of shape and color? In the language of flowers, Protea symbolizes diversity and courage.
The Inca Gold Conebush, another resident of the South African garden. No other plant in the Arboretum looks remotely like this one. And yet, it’s just another Protea.
The final Protea on our tour, an unidentified species of Sugarbush, named for its abundance of nectar. Available at florists as cut flowers, blossoms can last many months.