FREE PUBLIC TALK: The Science and Art of Saving the Planet

Photo of Bill Jorda

Bill Jordan, the person who coined the term “restoration ecology,” and one of the founders of the modern discipline of restoration, will be giving a FREE PUBLIC LECTURE as part of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden’s “Thought Leader Series.”

“The Science and Art of Saving the Planet”
Bill Jordan
Director, New Academy for Nature and Culture
DePaul University

DATE: Wednesday, April 2
TIME: 4-6 p.m.
PLACE: UC Davis Buehler Alumni Center, AGR Room


Sponsored by the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden
and the John Muir Institute for the Environment

The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer period and a book signing of Bill Jordan’s recent books, Making Nature Whole and The Sunflower Forest.

Who should attend?
Anyone interested in finding out more about how environmental restoration practices—the attempt to guide damaged ecosystems back to a previous, usually more natural condition—can truly be integrated into the everyday life of local people and local communities.

Jordan is engaging the UC Davis community in a conversation about developing a new environmentalism capable of providing the means for negotiating a healthy, sustainable relationship between humans and the rest of nature. Building on the deep need for people to have a “strong engagement with nature,” Bill Jordan is exploring a range of practices—practical, scientific, artistic, therapeutic, and spiritual—that recognize the challenge of helping people orient themselves towards nature, heal themselves, and help build stronger, richer communities while restoring local landscapes.

As director of the New Academy for Nature and Culture and Co-director of DePaul University’s Institute for Nature and Culture, Jordan is guiding new ambitious programs of research, education and public participation that will provide leadership in the urgent task of setting environmentalism on a new course during the critical decade just ahead.



Image of flyer for Bill Jordan lecture

IN PROGRESS: Mural design workshops

Photo of Muralist Caryl Yasko.

Caryl Yasko, nationally-recognized muralist, is gathering community design ideas for a mural located in a high-traffic bike and pedestrian throughway connecting Putah Creek Parkway in south Davis with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.

PLEASE JOIN US! Register here for a workshop or drop-in session.


Do you have an opinion? Artist seeks your ideas for city mural

An example of one of Caryl Yasko's community-created art projects--"Prairie Wave," Polyette, Wisconsin.

An example of one of Caryl Yasko’s community-created art projects–”Prairie Wave,” Polyette, Wisconsin.

Caryl Yasko, nationally-recognized muralist, came to the right place if she’s looking for opinions. She’s been commissioned, through a grant funded by PG&E and obtained by the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, to create a mural that will become part of the public art collection for the City of Davis.

This is the first of three community art projects that the public will have the opportunity to help create–in addition to this mural there’s a “street mural” planned for the intersection at Fourth and K Streets as well as “art benches” planned for along newly-restored Putah Creek Parkway. It’s all a result of the Community Built Association conference taking place in Davis in early April.

The goals of this project, located in a high-traffic bike and pedestrian throughway connecting Putah Creek Parkway in south Davis with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden’s newly-constructed California Native Plant GATEway Garden, are numerous—to beautify the environment, to unite two recently-improved areas, to pay homage to the history of the land, the creek, and California flora, and last, but not least, to infuse that certain “je ne sais quoi” for which Davis is known.

It’s a tall order, but Yasko’s specialty is working with communities to help them express their voices.

“Art should be available to everyone,” says Yasko. “My approach as an artist is to serve as a facilitator and make it possible for communities to create their own unique art.”

In order to make this happen, Yasko, in collaboration with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, is holding multiple forums where members of the public can brainstorm and develop a theme for the mural. They are also invited to draw, but organizers don’t want that aspect to discourage anyone from participating.

“I only invite participants to draw using the eight elements of line—light, dark, short, think, thin curved and straight,” explains Yasko.“In this environment, lack of formal art training is never bad.”

“We are excited to be hosting Caryl and collaborating with our community on another project,” states Emily Griswold, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden head of GATEways horticulture and organizer for this event. “This process fits perfectly with our history of collaboration and co-creation.”

Which session(s) should you attend? You are welcome by organizers to attend all nine, or if you have opinions and ideas about what story the mural should tell, attend a theme development workshop. If you are more interested in exploring the artistic qualities of the mural, attend the design development workshops. Interested in checking out the mural’s location and meeting the artist for a few minutes? RSVP for a drop-in session.

Register of any or all of these events via the UC Davis Arboretum website: Upon registration you will be kept informed of any event updates by email.

Theme Development Workshops: Brainstorming and Content Development
Refreshments provided by Whole Foods Market Davis

Design Development Workshops: Group Drawing and Composition Activities
Refreshments provided by Whole Foods Market Davis

Design Drop-in Sessions: Information conversions and activities with the artist on site
Refreshments provided by Whole Foods Market Davis

Like to paint? Yasko doesn’t  just want your ideas. Community members and attendees of the Community Built Association conference will be invited to finalize the project in perpetuity at the end of March and beginning of April. Stay tuned!

Members only spring plant sale: Saturday, March 15

This Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum fundraiser is also a special sale opportunity just for members

This Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum fundraiser is also a special sale opportunity just for members

Prepare your landscape for long-term water conservation with attractive, drought-t0lerant, easy-care, region-appropriate plants including a large selection of California natives and Arboretum All-Stars.


Date: Saturday, March 15
Time: 9 AM-1 PM
Place: UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery: click here for directions.
Parking: Visitor Parking Lot 55: click here for directions to parking. Parking is FREE.

Note: You must be a member of the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum or the Davis Botanical Society to attend this sale.

Not a member? Join at the door! All members receive 10% off their purchases and new members will also receive an additional $10 off. The benefits of membership far outweigh your cost! FIND OUT MOREabout becoming a member of the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum here!

What else will you find?

  • Member appreciation gift: $10 off your purchase at check-out
  • 10% off your plant sale purchases
  • Live music
  • Refreshments
  • Children’s activities
  • Arboretum experts
  • Free parking
  • Purchase loading assistance
  • Outreach Partners
  • Plant Doctor Clinic
  • Pesticide Safety Information
  • Master Gardeners
  • California Native Grasslands Association
  • California Native Plant Society
  • Hedgerow Farm
  • Partner Nurseries
  • Davis Ace
  • Lemuria Nursery

Can’t make this date? Come to our PUBLIC SALES on Saturday, April 5; Saturday, April 26; and, Saturday, May 17.

Need more information, CLICK HERE or call us at (530) 752-4880, or email us at

Watch a video from our Fall 2010 Plant Sale to get an idea of what the sale and selection is like!

Fall 2010 Plant Sale Video

Drought Resources

Below you will find a helpful links and resources to get you started on ways you can save water with your landscape.


7 tips to save your landscape during drought


Upcoming workshops to help “waterwise” your landscape


Where to buy
Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum Spring Plant Sales

Partner Nurseries
Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum receive discounts at these nurseries. Find out more about membership.

What to buy
UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars
Thinking about removing your lawn to save water? The horticultural staff of the UC Davis Arboretum have identified 100 tough, reliable plants that have been tested in the Arboretum, are easy to grow, don’t need a lot of water, have few problems with pests or diseases, and have outstanding qualities in the garden. These plants are called the UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars. Below you’ll find links to planting plans incorporating Arboretum All-Stars.

VERY LOW-WATER ARBORETUM ALL-STARS (link to .pdf download)
Of the 100 Arboretum All-Stars, this list identifies those with the lowest water needs

LEARN MORE about Arboretum All-Stars
SEARCH the Arboretum All-Star database

Find other low-water use plants

SEARCH the WUCOLS Database (Water Use Classification of Landscape Species)

DURABLE DELIGHTS (link to .pdf download)
Plants recommended by Director of Horticulture Ellen Zagory for their low-water needs and durability

Planting Plans

Landscape Design


City of Woodland Guides
The City of Woodland has put together some incredibly helpful resources especially for local residents, but many are helpful to our broader community.



PLEASE NOTE: The resources we’ve listed below are not endorsed by the UC Davis Arboretum, but are websites you might find helpful as you start your search.



UC Davis



7 tips for landscape survival during drought

Photo of the UC Davis Arboretum's Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants

The Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants includes an extensive collection of native plants that work well in home landscapes, arranged along meandering paths under stately oaks. The garden showcases a native meadow—a California-style lawn—and many Arboretum All-Stars, our recommended plants for Valley-wise gardens.

This article was featured in The Davis Enterprise on January 22, 2014.

With water reserves at all-time lows, water rates reaching all-time highs, and severe water rationing on the horizon, representatives from the staff at the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden compiled some quick tips for homeowners whose goal is to save water as well as their landscapes.

1. Mulch. “If I could only give one recommendation it would be mulch, mulch, mulch!” cites Cary Avery, associate director of grounds and landscape services. “Mulching not only keeps the ground moist, but as the mulch breaks down, it provides good nutrients for your plants, improves your soil quality, and looks attractive in areas where there’s little landscaping or your plants have not filled in.”

2. Compost. “The sponge-like nature of compost means that rain or irrigation water will be absorbed and stay in your soil—where your plants need it—instead of trickling off into the gutter. It’s also good for getting many types of plants established during their first year in the ground,” says Stacey Parker, GATEways horticulturist. “Add compost before you mulch to double the impact of your water investment.”

3. Focus on your trees. “In times like these you expect that your lawn will suffer, but don’t forget about your trees if you decide to turn off your irrigation altogether,” explains Ryan Deering, GATEways horticulturist. “Give your trees a deep watering with a hose about every two weeks. If you lose your lawn, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it may be a good thing. But if you lose a tree, you’ve lost years of a shade canopy, and a nice wildlife habitat, not to mention its value in terms of home energy conservation.”

4. Tune up your irrigation. “With the recent freezing weather you’ll want to look at your irrigation system closely to make sure you aren’t losing water due to any broken pipes. Turn on your system and make sure water is going on the plants or turf you want to irrigate. An efficient well-tuned irrigation system will use less water if properly managed and maintained,” recommends Matt Forrest, irrigation supervisor. “Once that has been evaluated, talk to someone at your local hardware store about replacing old sprinkler heads with low-water-use heads for turf, and consider converting shrub and ground cover irrigation to drip or micro-spray. These small changes will help make sure you are watering your plants, not sidewalks or driveways.”

5. Reduce your watering schedule. “If you haven’t already, do it. It’s the simplest way to conserve,” says Andrew Fulks, director of the UC Davis Putah Creek, Riparian Reserve and campus naturalized landscapes. “If you are irrigating for 15 minutes, turn it down to 6. If you are watering four days a week, change it to two, and make sure you are watering in the early morning or late at night. Give the water a chance to seep into the soil before the sun comes out and you lose it to evaporation.”

What if you’ve already done these things? What’s next for the advanced water-saving homeowner?

6. Replace your plants with California natives. “Many homeowners are interested in this type of landscape, but worry that the plants might be hard to grow. However, with right mix, you’ll have an easy-care garden with year-round color and interest, long-term water-savings once the plants are established, and  a much-needed habitat for our pollinator friends,” explains Ellen Zagory, horticulturist. “In addition, people also worry they’ll have trouble finding the plants at their local retailer. Come to the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum plants sales this season. We’ve got a great selection of native plants for this purpose, and we’ll point you in the right direction.”

7. Remove your lawn. “It’s not that scary, I promise. There are so many great alternatives to a standard lawn,” encourages Taylor Lewis, nursery manager at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery. “You’ll see more and more information about how to do this online, or I also encourage you to find a local seminar sponsored by Master Gardeners or a similar club. We’ve compiled a list of these types of workshops on our website.”

With a landscape as large as the UC Davis campus, Arboretum and Public Garden staff consistently employ these methods every year, drought or no drought. In addition, over the last ten years, they have installed a large-scale, “smart” central irrigation system (a high-tech tool able to determine the amount of irrigation needed based on weather conditions), implemented an aggressive irrigation preventative maintenance program, and worked to replace little-used lawns and high-maintenance landscapes with sustainable plants including Arboretum All-Stars.

Where can you find the right plants?

For a wide-selection of attractive, drought-tolerant, region-appropriate plants like California natives and Arboretum All-Stars, shop the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum plant sales this spring at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 15 (members only; join at the door); Saturday, April 5; Saturday, April 26; and Saturday, May 17 (clearance sale). These sales also feature a variety of experts, including Arboretum and Public Garden horticulturists, Master Gardeners, and knowledgeable sales associates ready to assist customers and answer questions.

For more plant sale information, as well as a list of workshops you can attend to “waterwise” your landscape visit our website:

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