Creating a new visitor entry and destination


Image of UC Davis Vet Med and Arboretum initiative zones.

Image of UC Davis Vet Med and Arboretum initiative zones.

Construction has begun on the first part of a multi-year plan to improve access and create campus- and visitor-friendly features at the west end of the Arboretum. The area is part of an exciting initiative zone that contains several large, campus-funded projects. Our team has been working with campus project managers and departments to coordinate and leverage these projects to enhance the visitor experience in the Arboretum.

Crews have already broken ground on the first project, which is to reroute Garrod Drive further to the north and expand the Putah Creek Lodge parking lot to the west to meet the new road, improving access to the Teaching Nursery. The road realignment will make space for a new Veterinary Medicine Students Services and Administration Center and events lawn, which will be built within a few years. In addition, we are thrilled that the plans call for a dining pavilion that will be accessible to our visitors. We are working closely with School of Veterinary Medicine faculty and staff to develop ideas for the new landscape exhibits that will be developed.

There are many sustainability features being built into the new landscapes and projects. The parking lot will feature trees specifically chosen for their ability to tolerate tough, urban conditions, a bioswale will filter water that runs off from the parking lot, and a California native plant meadow will collect excess water from the entire site while creating wildlife habitat.

Museum pops up in Arboretum on Nature Discovery Day

Photo from the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden's "Nature DIscovery Day"

On Saturday, October 18, 2014 the UC Davis Arboretum Ambassadors, Bohart Museum of Entomology interns, UC Davis Entomology Club students, students from UC Davis Wild Campus, and Department of Entomology Professor Robbin Thorpe joined forces to facilitate our first annual Nature Discovery Day–an outstanding public program for all ages!

About 50 visitors learned how to capture and identify insects, discovered the hidden world of plant galls, held live walking sticks and Madagascan cockroaches from the Bohart Museum, and indulged in a variety of different arts and crafts including creating pine cone bird feeders and seed bombs!



Native plant meadow construction closes portion of Arboretum loop in Mediterranean collection


Image of Mediterranean Collection detour map.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE above to see the map at a larger size.

The creation of a small bridge will close a portion of the north side of the Arboretum loop—in the Mediterranean Collection—starting October 20, 2014 through mid-November.

This enhancement  is part of a much larger construction project that includes expanding the Putah Creek Lodge parking lot, rerouting Garrod Drive, improving access to our teaching nursery, prepping the area for a Vet Med expansion, and adding a California native plant meadow. The meadow will not only serve to create a wildlife habitat, it will also function as a catchment area and filter for excess water draining from the improved site into the Arboretum waterway.

LEARN MORE about enhancements taking shape in the Vet Med / Arboretum Initiative Zone.


Oktoberfest benefit for UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden



THIS SATURDAY, October 18, 2014 from 6-9 p.m., Whole Foods Davis will be hosting their first annual Oktoberfest event at the UC Davis Arboretum’s Terrace Garden and Lois Crowe Patio.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Friends of the  UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. We hope you’ll consider attending what is sure to be a great time in a beautiful garden, complete with delicious beers from Track 7 and Sudwerk Brewing companies as well as pretzels and bratwurst.

DATE: Saturday, October 18th
TIME: 6 – 9 p.m.
PLACE: UC Davis Arboretum’s Terrace Garden and Lois Crowe Patio MAP
TICKETS: $18 per ticket (must be 21+ years old to attend)


Click here to READ MORE about our partnership with Whole Foods Davis.


DONOR SPOTLIGHT: Whole Foods Market

Photo of Whole Foods partner table at the UC Davis Arboretum plant sales.

We’ve developed a terrific community partnership with Whole Foods Market Davis! Here are examples of how their team has collaborated with the Arboretum and Public Garden in support of community education and sustainable horticulture:

  • Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum was the first recipient of the Nickels for Nonprofits fundraiser at the Davis store, a program that encourages customers to donate their nickel bag credits.
  • Whole Foods has supported the Friends plant sales by providing lunches for hundreds of volunteers working at each event.
  • Whole Foods hosted tasting events, had a shovel collection barrel, provided publicity to help us collect over 400 shovels used in the “Shovel Gateway” sculpture that welcomes visitors to the Arboretum and catered the dedication event.
  • Their team partnered on a “sneak peek” event showcasing the California Native Plant GATEways Garden. Their extensive contributions included food, beverages, rentals and more.
  • Whole Foods completely sponsored an event for our “Circle” level members and long-term supporters including gourmet wine and food pairings, additional staff support, and gorgeous decorations.
  • They are a great neighbor! Their staff helps keep the Arboretum Terrace Garden clean and secure. They even facilitated a donation of tables and chairs to provide additional seating in the garden.

Please take a moment to say “thank you for being a great Arboretum partner” next time you shop in Whole Foods Market Davis.

Nursery manager Taylor Lewis featured in Sac Bee

Photo of Nursery Manager Taylor Lewis at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery.

Nursery Manager Taylor Lewis was featured in the Sac Bee on Saturday, October 11 in the Home and Garden section. The article highlights his focus on native plants as well as the Friends of the Arboretum and Public Garden fall plant sales.
The article can be found on the Sac Bee website. CLICK HERE or you can read it below.

Seeds: California native plants are on gardeners’ most wanted list

By Debbie Arrington

Taylor Lewis believes in the power of natives. As an expert in California native plants, he’s been preaching this botanical gospel for years. But it took the drought to finally get that message to sink in with other gardeners.

“That’s what people are looking for – California natives,” said Lewis, who has been growing them by the thousand.

As manager of the arboretum teaching nursery at UC Davis, Lewis saw the conversion firsthand. “At our four spring sales, our California native aisles were virtually empty with 90 percent sold. I know what people are looking for, but they needed a place to find it.”

A lot of those sought-after natives should be in good supply today during the first of two October sales at the nursery, located near the small animal hospital on the UC Davis campus. A second sale is set for Oct. 25.

The arboretum nursery grows 80 percent of its plant stock in Davis, Lewis noted. “I’ve always liked to grow things where they go. These plants didn’t have to travel hundreds of miles; they were grown here. I’m relatively sure they’ll survive in Sacramento.”

Lewis served for seven years as nursery manager at the now-defunct Windmill Nursery in Carmichael before working as sales manager at Cornflower Farms in Elk Grove. He took over as nursery manager for the UC Davis Arboretum and public gardens in January.

“It was exactly like coming home,” said Lewis, a UC Davis graduate. “I figured they showed me how to do it – to make things grow – and now I’m back doing it for them.”

For today’s sale, the arboretum teaching nursery will have more than 15,000 plants in about 400 different varieties, some unavailable outside UC Davis. The water-wise inventory leans heavily toward natives.

“We increased our native inventory by 35 percent,” Lewis said.

The sales continue a yearlong theme: The New Front Yard. Featured in The Bee, that series of 40 drought-tolerant and wildlife-friendly plants are recommended substitutions for traditional landscaping.

“It’s so applicable,” Lewis said. “So many people I talk to from Sacramento, their yard is just dead. They did the right thing. They let the grass die. Their biggest question: What now?”

Lewis suggests attacking the dead lawn with a purpose.

“Have a plan,” he said. “You need to know what plants need – some need more water than others, some need sun, others shade. Do some research yourself.”

Then, find some examples.

“Look at plants,” he said, pointing to examples that surround the nursery. “Find out what you like and if it will live here.”

Give yourself some options, he suggested. “If you start out (with the goal), ‘I want a bush 3 feet high with red flowers,’ that can be pretty limiting. But if you say, ‘I want something with flowers about this size that will grow in these conditions,’ there are options.”

Among Lewis’ personal favorites are the buckwheats, not just for the plants’ looks but what buckwheat does for the garden. “I absolutely love the diversity of the beneficials (insects) that it brings to the garden. I love to see all the different life on buckwheat.”

But there are so many good natives, he added. “I’m a big ceanothus guy; they do pretty well here. California fuchsias are a real people-pleaser. There are never enough sages in the world. One of the nicest little flowering plants is the seaside daisy, particularly the Wayne Roderick variety we grow.”

See several natives in bloom this morning at the arboretum teaching nursery. If you get there early enough, you may take some home, too.

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