UC Botanical Garden has created a guide to the wildlife commonly found in the surrounding East Bay hills.
I went to the launch party for this handy little publication last week and enjoyed hearing Garden Director Paul Licht explain how the publication came to be. Years in the making and beautifully illustrated by local artist Dana Gardner, the guide is laminated and folds up to fit easily in a pocket to take with you on nature walks. It identifies over a hundred birds, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and insects that you're likely to find in the Botanical Garden and throughout the hills of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
The launch party gave me an excuse to take some time out to ramble around the garden as well. And as if on cue, a little bit of wildlife made an appearance. And with the help of the Illustrated Guide to Common Animals of the East Bay Hills, I was able to identify these guys as a Western Fence Lizard and a Bumblebee. (Actually, I kinda already knew that last one.)
It is a gorgeous time for a visit to the Botanical Garden. The Garden of Old Roses is heavily in bloom and the scent is overwhelming. And on a tip from Vanessa Crews, the Garden's Development Director, I made a point of checking out the puyas in the South American gardens. I'd never seen these in bloom before and--just wow!
The water garden in the Asian gardens are brilliant now too. The iris are in bloom, as are the water lilies. The spot is cool and serene, really a lovely place to sit for a while and reflect.
I wish I'd had more time to spend in the Botanical Garden but I'm a member now and I hope to make it back over there more often.
The Illustrated Guide to Common Animals of the East Bay Hills is available for purchase in the Gift Shop of the UC Botanical Garden for $8.95.