I'm sure you will not be surprised to learn that I also stopped at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum yesterday during my somewhat spontaneous daytrip south. I was here just last month and bought Banksia baxteri in a 1-gallon pot. I haven't planted it yet, and really there is no room. But we might move, and if it doesn't grow too fast, I could pot it up until then... Oh, who am I kidding. I'm hoarding! I buy plants because I'm a plant hoarder. I can't help it. Anyway, I bought three more Banksiae, all different species. Maybe I'll plant one of them. We'll see. In the meantime...
The proteas bloom in winter, but there are always a few flowers.
The jury is still out whether this is a flower, or a bird.
Here are the banksias. Aren't they great?
The seed capsules are amazing. They look like something from an alien world on Star Trek.
Many banksias have great foliage too.
Of all plants in the Protaceae, I'd guess the genus Grevillea has made the biggest inroads in American horticulture, although leucadendrons are popular too. The plants in this family get so big, I would guess a lot of people don't have room for them. Some of the banksias are tree-like but many of them, and all of the proteas, are just big shrubs. They're too big to even be called shrubs really, but they're not tree-like. What do you call a plant like that?
Anyway, if these plants are all a little too weird for you, you might enjoy the entry garden.