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. (Click this link then scroll down to see previous posts.)

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.

Last winter and spring, our newly constructed California Native Plant GATEway Garden (working title), 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 be primarily 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.)

Students design sustainable birdhouses

Photo of sustainable birdhouse design from UC Davis Sustainable Design class student.

This sustainable birdhouse design titled, “Off the grid at flycatcher farmhouse” uses non-toxic paint and upcycled materials. This birdhouse will be on display with 37 other student creations on light poles throughout the Quad and around the arboretum’s Lake Spafford from Saturday, December 7 through the week of January 6, 2014.

As the result of a collaboration between the UC Davis Arboretum  and Public Garden and the UC Davis Department of Design, the arboretum and other parts of the Davis campus will become student galleries for Ann Savageau’s “Sustainable Design” class.

The students worked in two-person teams to create 38 birdhouses, using “upcycled” materials (saved from the landfill) and incorporating simulated features of sustainability, such as solar panels, rainwater catchment, and living roofs and walls. To identify the species of birds that would benefit from the birdhouses, the design students consulted with student organization Wild Campus who suggested their target “audience” would be western bluebirds (Sialia Mexicana), tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), ash-throated flycatchers (Myiarchus cinerascens) and house wrens (Troglodytes aedon).

“Human encroachment is resulting in many animal species losing essential nesting and foraging sites,” Savageau wrote in her assignment. “Designers have a responsibility to use their talent and training to help restore the Earth’s ecosystem.”


Look for them on light poles throughout the Quad area and around Lake Spafford through the week of January 6, 2014 January 31, 2014 barring any extreme weather circumstances.


(Excerpted from UC Davis Dateline article
“CLASS ART: Sustainable birdhouses and site-specific installations”)

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