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Haven Is the Place to 'Bee' for Junior Gardeners on March 30

Gardening tools for youngsters at the UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. A Junior Bee Gardeners' Day is set from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 30. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven is the place to "bee" on Saturday, March 30 for youngsters who want to learn more about honey bees and native...

Gardening tools for youngsters at the UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. A Junior Bee Gardeners' Day is set from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 30. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Gardening tools for youngsters at the UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. A Junior Bee Gardeners' Day is set from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 30. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Gardening tools for youngsters at the UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. A Junior Bee Gardeners' Day is set from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 30. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A six-foot-long ceramic and mosaic sculpture,
A six-foot-long ceramic and mosaic sculpture, "Miss Bee Haven," anchors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. It is the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A six-foot-long ceramic and mosaic sculpture, "Miss Bee Haven," anchors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. It is the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Children enjoying the  Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Children enjoying the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Children enjoying the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This sign greets Junior Bee Gardeners at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This sign greets Junior Bee Gardeners at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This sign greets Junior Bee Gardeners at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Painted Ladies: What a Delight to See!

A painted lady, Vanessa cardui, nectars on five-spot, Nemophilia maculate, Wednesday afternoon, in the Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG), UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

In between the rains today, we saw them. So beautiful!  Painted ladies, Vanessa cardui, nectaring in patches of colorful wildflowers in...

A painted lady, Vanessa cardui, nectars on five-spot, Nemophilia maculate, Wednesday afternoon, in the Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG), UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A painted lady, Vanessa cardui, nectars on five-spot, Nemophilia maculate, Wednesday afternoon, in the Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG), UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A painted lady, Vanessa cardui, nectars on five-spot, Nemophilia maculate, Wednesday afternoon, in the Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG), UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Tidy tips, Layia platyglossa, in the UC Davis Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG) drew painted ladies, Vanessa cardui, on  Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Tidy tips, Layia platyglossa, in the UC Davis Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG) drew painted ladies, Vanessa cardui, on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Tidy tips, Layia platyglossa, in the UC Davis Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG) drew painted ladies, Vanessa cardui, on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A sign welcomes visitors to the UC Davis Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG). It is located behind Lot 26, behind the Mann Laboratory, off Kleiber Hall Drive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A sign welcomes visitors to the UC Davis Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG). It is located behind Lot 26, behind the Mann Laboratory, off Kleiber Hall Drive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A sign welcomes visitors to the UC Davis Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG). It is located behind Lot 26, behind the Mann Laboratory, off Kleiber Hall Drive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 5:20 PM

Garden of Surprises

Since I pick up plants from here and there I am always being surprised.  I found this particular plant in its small form, an Echium fastuosum, It is a very popular part of the city landscape in Benicia.  Very easy to see in its blooming stages by the side of the road.  I thought that would be nice to have closer to home.  I purloined one from a street near my house, popped it in the ground, and forgot about it.  At least I lost track of it for a few months and then I realized that it was getting larger and larger and taking advantage of good soil and general fertilizer to get bigger and bigger.  I thought, well this will be nice to see grown up fully.

Besides, it was another relative, I assumed because the foliage was similar.  But there was something different about it.  Little by little, it developed into a spike – and it didn't stop growing.  I felt like this was right out of a fairy tale – it just didn't stop getting taller.  Finally, I was dwarfed by a handsome spike which it took a bit of investigating to pin down: Echium wildpretii.  Affectionately, Tower of Jewels.  To add to my surprise, I noticed a couple of other specimens in other parts of Benicia.  It turned out not to be so rare after all.

My main point here is the fun and value of surprises to be found in the garden.  Sometimes the truth is not revealed until the growth is over and done with.

Echium wildpretti. Photos by Lowell Cooper
Echium wildpretti. Photos by Lowell Cooper

Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 9:37 AM

Painted Ladies on the Move

A painted lady, Vanessa cardui, photographed on lantana in Vacaville in 2015. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The painted ladies are on the move. Have you seen these migratory butterflies, Vanessa cardui, passing through California on their way to the...

A painted lady, Vanessa cardui, photographed on lantana in Vacaville in 2015. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A painted lady, Vanessa cardui, photographed on lantana in Vacaville in 2015. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A painted lady, Vanessa cardui, photographed on lantana in Vacaville in 2015. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

CalLands maps cropland ownership across California

Two UCANR Cooperative Extension specialists have recently launched CalLands, a powerful online tool that can help users understand how land ownership impacts California's croplands.

To build the CalLands' interactive website, Luke Macaulay and Van Butsic — both assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialists based in UC Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management — combined satellite-generated maps of land cover created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with publicly available land ownership records. Next, they anonymized ownership identity and pulled data from all 58 California counties to include parcels of land larger than five acres. The result is a database that features 543,495 privately-owned properties across the state, creating a data-rich map of crops and ownership boundary lines in every county. The interactive map can be filtered by county to display characteristics of land ownership, percentages of private and public ownership, breakdowns by crop-type, and summaries of land-use statistics.

A screenshot of CalLands, and interactive online database that allows stakeholders to understand cropland use and ownership characteristics.

CalLands allows users to explore how crops are distributed within a county or across the state or understand how ownership size impacts how land is used. In a 2017 study on cropland ownership published in California Agriculture, Butsic and Macaulay discovered that the largest five percent of properties account for 50 percent of California cropland. The two created CalLands with the aim of helping a wide variety of stakeholders understand land cover and land use at the county and individual land ownership scale.

A crop of California almonds, grown on a plot of land that was previously home to grassland. Photo: Luke Macaulay

“CalLands helps expand people's understanding of the landscape and how farmers across the state are using their land,” Macaulay says.

The website tells the story in visual terms of the location of key crops over time, including water-intensive plants like alfalfa and almonds, and illustrates the locations and acreages of both annual and perennial crops. This information may be useful for those seeking to understand agricultural water use and expansion and change of crops over time. The team hopes that the tool will also help scientists conduct research that is beneficial to many agricultural stakeholders, such as UC Cooperative Extension specialists creating outreach programming, county officials proposing regulations, and resource managers hoping to understand cropland production.

Currently, CalLands features cropland data from 2013-2017, allowing users to toggle between these annual datasets. Macaulay and Butsic plan for future versions of CalLands to include the capability of producing graphs to help users understand how crop planting changes over time as farming shifts and land changes hands. “We look forward to adding more features to CalLands,” Butsic said. “We want to implement changes on the site based on what Californians need.”

Posted on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 8:22 AM
Tags: land use (4), Luke Macaulay (2), Van Butsic (9)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture Natural Resources

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