This year at our campus’s 101st annual Picnic Day celebration the Arboretum and Public Garden was awarded “Best Department Float” in the parade! It’s no wonder really…with a theme like “The Heart of our Community” we had a lot to work with!
Thanks go to our tireless Arboretum Ambassadors students who coordinated this year’s entry with multiple staff members from throughout our Arboretum and Public Garden team.
Despite our already exceeding Governor Brown’s 25% water reduction mandate, our team is fast at work determining where we can conserve even more.
Last year, thanks to a variety of water conservation efforts implemented by our Arboretum and Public Garden team, our campus was able to reduce water inputs to our landscape by 31%, but we are still planning to do more.
Right now we’re focusing on lawns were we can reduce, cut back, or eliminate irrigation without impacting our trees. We will keep you posted with more information about areas that may be impacted by water reductions and areas targeted for landscape conversions.
It’s hard to believe that no bike parking existed here before, but now–thanks to a partnership with the UC Davis College of Engineering–the area around the Arboretum gazebo, Nature’s Gallery Court, and the Ruth Risdon Storer Garden now are complete with spaces to lock up your two-wheeled vehicles!
Engineering students from our campus, together with engineering students from 14 other schools in the northwestern United States, and as far away as China, came to UC Davis for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Mid-Pacific Student Conference. This event showcases civil engineering students’ leadership and technical knowledge in several design competitions, one of which included concrete construction, hence our new bike racks!
A huge thank you goes to civil engineering professor John Harvey for organizing the competition, his student assistants who worked on competition logistics, and the student teams from UC Davis, San Jose State University, University of the Pacific, and Tongji University for their hard work to design and build the bike parking areas. The project wouldn’t have been possible without the partnership and guidance of Skip Mezger, campus landscape architect, and Emily Griswold, director of GATEways horticulture and teaching gardens, who assisted the conference coordinators with identifying the project area, developing the designs, and facilitating the implementation. It’s another great example of how we use our landscape as a teaching resource for our students and community with the added bonus of providing a much-needed amenity for our visitors.
Leading up to and on May 5 our loyal fans, followers, and subscribers will be receiving more messages from us than usual from the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden because–like last year–we, along with 500+ non-profit organizations in our region, will be participating in our area’s Big Day of Giving (LEARN MORE) and raising $5 million online almost solely from the support of our local audiences. The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden’s goal is a bit more modest–$12,000, but that’s almost double what we raised last year.
By the way, your gifts helped us expand our free public programs including Nature Discovery Days, where participants of all ages can explore a variety of topics including ecology, biodiversity, sustainability, and more through hands-on activities and demonstrations. This year we want to do even more!
We hope you’ll be patient with all the messages leading up to the Big Day of Giving and choose to make an online donation starting May 5th at 12 a.m. midnight through 11:59 p.m. Gifts start at $25 and are made via a secure online site which you will be able find on our home page only on May 5th.
(This article also appears on the front page of the April 8, 2015 issue of the Davis Enterprise.)
UC Davis plant sales offer opportunity to plan for lawn-free, low-water future
If you didn’t feel the threat of this record-breaking drought affecting your life, that all changed on Wednesday with Governor Brown’s first ever issuance of a state of emergency drought declaration mandating statewide water reductions and calling for the replacement of 50 million square feet of lawns throughout California with drought-tolerant landscaping.
The message was no surprise to the staff, students, and volunteers who have been working to prepare the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery for its public plant sales throughout spring beginning Saturday, April 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Other sale dates include Saturday, April 25 and May 16.)
“Homeowners want to make the right choices, but what is available at many large-scale plant retailers doesn’t always fit this bill,” states Taylor Lewis, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden nursery manager. “That’s why they come here. We’ve got the over 350 different varieties of attractive, water-wise choices and an inventory of over 10,000 plants. We know the plants respond well here because we grow most of them at our nursery or we’ve had a good experience growing them elsewhere on campus.
In light of the governor’s mandate, experts with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden hope to educate our region with options for what to do now and what to avoid.
“I hope that our community doesn’t just turn off their irrigation, stop watering their trees, or replace their landscapes with rocks—that would be a huge mistake,” asserts Ellen Zagory, director of public horticulture for the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. “I want people to plan, prioritize and re-plant with selections that make sense for where we live. Lawns are a relic of our country’s European history that has stuck, I think, because it’s easy, neat, and doesn’t require much thought—fertilize, water, mow, and repeat. I get it, but we need to start a new aesthetic, one that fits the region in which we live. We can do it and the sooner the better.”
Attendees to the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden plant sale can discuss alternate landscape options with a multitude of knowledgeable experts, master gardeners and gardening enthusiasts, take home educational information, and of course, lots of low-water plants.
“The thing that is difficult about selling plants in this drought is that even though we offer a huge selection of low-water plants, they still need to be watered, especially when they are young and getting established,” confesses Lewis. “But, when you plant something we’ve selected, your water use will go down as compared to lawns, then continue to go down significantly over time. People can plan for a low-water future with better plant choices now. “
“This is California, we set precedents, we change aesthetics, we can get through this drought and come out better for it when it’s over,” assures Zagory. “The potential for an explosion of diversity of flora and fauna in our urban and suburban settings where lawns are replaced with plants appropriate for our region is so fun to think about! We’ll not only be saving water, we’ll be providing beneficial wildlife with a refuge and food source. Birds, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds—they need help through this drought too.”
Need inspiration? Check out some of the demonstration gardens in the UC Davis Arboretum near the nursery before the sale. Stroll through the Ruth Risdon Storer Garden, the Arboretum All-Star demonstration planting beds near the teaching nursery, and Nature’s Gallery Court. Many of the plants are labeled and will be available at the sale.
For more information about the sale and the plants that will be available, visit the UC Davis Arboretum’s website at http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu. There you will also find a plethora of drought and water conservation resources, planting plans, and plant lists that will help you plan for your low-water future.
5 REASONS (AND COUNTING): Why we hope you will support the Arboretum on May 5th during our region’s Big Day of Giving
Below is a list of five reasons we’ve put together that we hope will inspire you to support the Arboretum during our region’s Big Day of Giving on May 5th. We’d also like to hear from you to help us add to the list!
- You love the Arboretum!
- You never have to pay to get in! We’re community-supported, free, and open 24/7. The “Big Day of Giving” is an easy way for you to give back!
- Your gift helps us create and sustain our public learning landscapes and amazing free family programs that inspire our community to help people and environments thrive!
- The University provides critical support but a large portion of our annual funding comes from the community from people just like you.
- The next time you enjoy yourself in the Arboretum, a warm feeling of pride will wash over you because you are helping keep this place alive!
Tell us why you love and support the Arboretum! Visit us on social media to share your story. Use #GiveBigDoG so we’ll be sure to find it.