When is a rock like a snake?

Photo of UC Davis Geology Rock Garden exhibit signage.

One of the exhibit signs now located in the California Rock Garden–a Geology GATEway Garden. This garden, located around the UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences building, offers students and visitors a chance to learn about geology from all over the state without leaving campus.

Mike Lemaire with geology garden signs

Find out the answer to this question and many more when visiting the California Rock Garden–a Geology GATEway Garden.

Exhibit signage and labels for all of the incredible rock specimens that were once located throughout the state of California and now reside around the UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences building, make visiting this GATEway garden even more enjoyable.

A team from Grounds and Landscape Services, including Mike Lemaire (seen left) installed the exhibit signs and labels throughout the garden. Mike used discarded plastic plant containers filled with cement to stabilize the label posts in the ground. What a great reuse idea for those pots!

LEARN MORE about this garden.

DOWNLOAD a walking tour created by the UC Davis Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.


Newly-constructed and planted, the California Native Plant GATEway Garden fills with native plants, art, and community

Photo of the UC Davis California Native Plant GATEway Garden

Last spring the trellis of the California Native Plant GATEway Garden served as a display for student-created, solar-lit light sculptures. The sculptures were removed in June.

Last winter and spring, our newly constructed California Native Plant GATEway Garden, part of our Arts GATEway, teamed with student interns, loyal volunteers, hundreds of community members, as well as Arboretum and Public Garden staff who planted over 25,000 grasses, rushes, sedges, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees—all native to our lower Putah Creek region. It’s amazing to see how the plants have filled in and are thriving, not to mention the new connections created between the City of Davis and our campus!

It’s hard to believe the area used to primarily be a large patch of dirt and weeds! The grant funding and partnerships that came together for all this to happen are amazing and now we can begin to enjoy this new garden!  (READ MORE about the background of this project here.)

Green features of CNPG

Click on the image above to download a .pdf overview of some of the green features located at our California Native Plant GATEway Garden.

As always, there’s more to be done. We’re working on completing a new set of interpretive signage, improving our directional signage, and launching more programs for this area. In the meantime, we thought you might like taking a behind-the-scenes look at some of the large and small “green” features of the garden. DOWNLOAD this OVERVIEW then go for a stroll to see the features in person!


California Native Plant GATEway Garden

Bike Tunnel Mural Creation and Dedication

Student-created, Solar-lit Light Sculptures (Note: These sculptures were removed in June.)



La Rue Road median update

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Staff from the Arboretum and Public Garden’s Grounds and Landscape Services team planting the median in February 2014.

Early in 2014, teams from the Arboretum and Public Garden including Grounds and Landscape Services, assembled to plant the northern most section of the La Rue Road median with plants selected for their seasonal interest, water-wise qualities and long-term durability. When selecting the plants used for this project Ellen Zagory, director of public horticulture, also wanted to make sure the flora blended well with surrounding landscapes. Note the repetition of the Calamagrostis acutifora ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass both in the median and as part of the student dormitory landscapes across the street.

Photo of northern portion of La Rue Road median.

In order for this landscape to blend well with the surrounding areas, grasses that appear in the median also appear in the student dormitory landscape across the street.

If you happen to see the median in person and notice an empty island triangle as you cross La Rue Road at Russell Boulevard, fear not! That area is being held for our partners at the UC Davis California Center for Urban Horticulture who are planning to use that spot as a testing ground for a flowering plant that needs little to no water—it’s a good thing because that  part of the median is not equipped with any irrigation!

The final portion of the median is scheduled for planting this fall. For more pictures, see our PHOTO GALLERY of this project.

IN THE NEWS: Edible landscape interns receive well-deserved feature

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Students from our Edible Landscape Internship were featured recently on the UC Davis home page (see above). This group of students, the newest members of the Arboretum and Public Garden’s “Learning by Leading” program, are working to develop, maintain, program, and support edible landscapes throughout campus including the UC Davis Good Life Garden, plots in the Experimental College garden, and the Salad Bowl Garden just outside of the Plant and Environmental Sciences building, just to name a few. READ THE FULL ARTICLE here.

They have started their own blog to document their work throughout campus. Keep up to date with their progress via the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden Edible Landscape Internship blog.

Congratulations to Stacey Parker and her team of Edible Landscape Interns for this well-deserved feature!


Students offer edibles at public plant sales

Vice Chancellor John Meyer retires

meyer-headshot-blogA huge thank you is due to Vice Chancellor John Meyer who retired from the university after 14 years of service. It was in July of 2011 that John integrated all of the units responsible for our outdoor spaces into the unit now known as the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden—a move he felt would lead the campus to a new level of sophistication and collaboration in its approach to stewarding the campus landscape.

We cannot thank him enough for his leadership and support of our organization and the UC Davis GATEways Project. We look forward to continuing to fulfill his vision and developing the resource of our campus grounds into a model for other public gardens and institutions of higher education worldwide.

In partnership with the Office of the Chancellor and Provost, we have dedicated the “Oak Food Chain” bench (see photo below) in our oak grove to John’s legacy at the university. We wish him many, many more successes and hope that he will continue to provide our organization the guidance on which we’ve always relied.


SEE A PHOTO GALLERY of the Oak Food Chain bench which has been dedicated to John Meyer’s legacy.

Water conservation featured in Sustainability Showcase

14444155790_38ae4f3228_zThe Sustainability Showcase, located in one of the main hallways of the Memorial Union, features revolving exhibits highlighting actions our campus units have taken to improve our sustainability. The exhibits may be about conserving our natural resources, being creative with our reuse, engaging with the community, or all of the above.

The Arboretum and Public Garden exhibit showcases a map of our main campus with information presented about how we’ve been helping conserve water with high-efficiency irrigation systems, water-wise plant selections, and turf conversions. Visitors are also invited to grab a marker and share where their favorite landscapes are.

Our communications and marketing team members Katie Hetrick and Andrew Larsen developed the exhibit concept with help from Arboretum Ambassdor Nicole Porter, as well as Arboretum and Public Garden team members. It has been on display since April and will be up throughout summer. We hope you’ll have a chance to drop by! If not, here’s a photographic sampling of some of the remarks we’ve been getting! It’s nice to see all the different and very specific opinions!


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