Again this year Blake Garden participated in the Bay Area SODblitz (Sudden Oak Death blitz) survey. Since the SOD oomycete pathogen Phytophthora ramorum spreads most often on infected California bay laurel leaves we collected leaves from 5 different bay trees in the garden. 4-5 leaves from each tree were placed in envelopes with GPS locations for the trees. The envelopes were dropped off at Mulford Hall on the UCB campus where they will be tested for the pathogen at the Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory. Results will be known next fall. Last year (2011) the same 5 bay trees were also tested. Thankfully the results turned up negative for the SOD pathogen. We are hopeful that the results will be the same for 2012, but we are very mindful that other locations around the Bay Area have not fared as well as Blake Garden. For more information on SOD and the SODblitz visit: http://nature.berkeley.edu/garbelotto/english/sodblitz.php
Blake Garden has been keeping rainfall records since 1965. This year we have measured some late and heavy rains at the garden. Whereas 2 months ago it seemed bleak, now our measured totals for the year have topped 27.78 inches, which exceeds the mean measurement of 26.25 inches. Drought still remains a concern for California though, as the Sierra snowpack for March 2012 was way below normal. Take a look at The State of the Climate maps of the USA at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/drought/ for further information about drought nationwide. Links to 2012 Blake rainfall pdf & xls files : Blake Garden Rainfall Chart 1965-2012 pdf file Blake Garden Rainfall Averages 1965-2012 pdf file
The Garden was open for CalDay on Saturday, April 21. A hundred and fifty plus people attended. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and in the 70's. Some visitors were Cal grads and others were first time visitors to the UC Berkeley and to the garden. A small group of visitors attended the noon tour.
Phase 1 of the tributary of Cerrito Creek restoration project is completed. We started by repairing the culvert that runs under the road and rebuilding the support with broken concrete pieces from a volunteers patio. Invasive species of blackberries and Algerian ivy have been eradicated from the banks. The banks of the channel have been reinforced against erosion by terracing with redwood branches from the garden and secured into the ground by posts of hand hewn redwood & stone pine. Erosion netting has been placed over the soil, and several red twig dogwoods have been planted into the banks; they will eventually hold the soil as the roots spread. Mulch was added as the final layer to prevent run off from eroding the bare surface soil and slow the weed growth.
One of our old trees, Alnus cordata, an Italian alder, just below the redwood grove fell over in the latest storm. Campus arborists came out and helped us remove it from the path. Woodworkers, bowl turners and furniture makers interested in the beautiful orange wood and helped us clean up the area and took some of the wood to create with.