The Garden Bridge
Dear Garden members, supporters, and ambassadors,
I am delighted to welcome you back to the Garden’s monthly e-newsletter! So much has happened in the last eighteen months since the Garden announced its new name and enhanced mission – one that deepened its commitment not only to the rare and endangered plants of East Asia but also to the unique flora of California.
The Garden has welcomed several new staff members who have worked diligently behind the scenes with continuing staff to help the Garden grow and thrive. Michael Wenzel, Curator of Living Collections has been working steadily with long-time Director of Horticulture & Facilities, Salvador Calderon and his team to strengthen the accuracy of the plant database, and has been re-inventorying and assessing plant health. Of particular note is his embrace of new partnerships throughout North America to ensure the longevity of the Garden’s amazing living collections. Director of Finance & Administration, Leslie Smith has brought new rigor to our financial systems and transparency to our employee programs to create a sturdy operational infrastructure for future growth. The Visitor Experience team under Kate Rabuck’s dynamic leadership not only welcomes you all to the Garden, but also tracks ticket sales and member visits – an important metric for reporting and stakeholders – and stocks the shop with local, social good, and environmentally conscious merchandise that aligns with the Garden’s mission and vision.
But bringing the Garden to a new level of excellence doesn’t stop there! This week, the Garden announced that on November 5th we will be opening a trail through its southern section, a 22-acre California native oak savanna adjacent to the historic Asian woodland. This property was added to the Garden in 1998 and is remarkable for its oak woodland and oak savanna plant communities. Starting November 5, 2022, visitors will be invited to enjoy and observe as Garden staff employ ecological-restoration techniques over the next several years to create space for the existing native seedbank to germinate and establish populations throughout the ecosystem. Close to existing structures and in more disturbed areas, rare and unique California native plants will be planted to highlight sustainable, habitat-focused, and ecologically conscious garden practices.
In addition to new plantings and an extension of the overall woodland experience, the California Trail provides a more accessible route to the heart of the Asian garden. With no more than a 5% grade, the trail follows the natural topography of the California section to lead guests up to the Asian garden, thereby expanding access for all.
The announcement was punctuated by the Garden’s Board of Directors ceremonially planting a Catalina Island Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus traskiae), arguably the rarest shrub in North America, next to its administrative offices. This rare woody perennial is native to one isolated gully on the south side of Catalina Island, off the coast of southern California. It is estimated that fewer than 15 trees remain in the wild. Since its founding, the Garden has been a sanctuary for rare plants from temperate East Asia and it is delighted to take the first steps on the path to cultivating and displaying some of California’s rare and unique biodiversity.
We are delighted for you all to join us on this journey.
The Garden Bridge
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