Archive for September, 2011

As part of the UC Davis Public Garden Initiative, the campus will undertake a master planning effort to redesign portions of the campus landscape to save money, improve campus aesthetics, and provide more opportunities for teaching, research, and community engagement.

Two pilot projects have been initiated that will convert high-maintenance turf areas into lower-maintenance and lower-cost landscape types.  These landscape types will showcase Central Valley ecosystems and Valley-Wise plants.  In addition to less water use and less cost to maintain, these conversions will be more attractive and give UC Davis a unique look and sense of place.

Project 1: La Rue Median Strip conversion

La Rue median strip

The first project is the conversion of the La Rue road median strip from turf to mulch and shrubs.  The turf represents a 1950’s-era aesthetic, and requires a high frequency of maintenance (see photo above).  The safety of the workers maintaining a turf area in the middle of a busy road is also a concern.  The redesigned median will be designed and built by the Campus Planning and Community Resources team, leveraging the strengths of the Arboretum, Putah Creek Riparian Reserve, Grounds, Agricultural Services, and Landscape Services.

The Arboretum will be working with Skip Mezger, Campus Landscape Architect, to design the median using drought-tolerant shrubs and grasses.  These plants require lower water use, are more aesthetic than turf, and require less frequency of maintenance.  Mulch for the project will be developed by chipping tree branches gathered during routine maintenance on campus, and through removal of eucalyptus trees from along Putah Creek, as part of habitat restoration efforts.

Weed abatement at this site began yesterday and will occur again in 3-4 weeks.   So now, when you see brown patches here, you’ll know that’s a good thing!  The UC Davis Public Garden team is preparing to convert this site!

After the conversion project is complete, the La Rue median will have landscape similar to that of King Hall (see photo below).

King Hall landscape

Project 2: Arboretum Meadow

Oak Grove meadow

The second project is creation of the Arboretum Meadow at the west end of the Arboretum.  The beloved Shields Oak Grove is one of the most important collections of mature oak trees in the world.  Recently there was a native grassland restoration under some of the oaks (see photo above), and the Arboretum Meadow will be created on 2 acres of turf between the largest stands of oaks.  The turf will be replaced with native California grasses which will provide homes for insects and animals, and will dramatically reduce water use and maintenance costs.  It will also be available as a teaching and research area about California native grasslands.


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Last Saturday’s Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum Plant Faire & Sale attracted over 1,300 people–one of the best attended ever–with gross sales estimated to be well above $56,000; a remarkable feat considering fewer people are landscaping during this economic downturn.

Designed as the launch for the 75th Anniversary for the Arboretum, this plant sale singled out 75 favorites of the nursery’s 500 plus plant species as selected by volunteers, staff and community members.  When the gates opened, customers were greeted with an inventory of over 17,000 plants, knowledgeable plant advisers, commemorative 75th anniversary pins, live music, and children’s activities.

Mark your calendars!  The second and last sale of the Fall 2011 season occurs on Sunday, October 9 from 9 AM—1 PM at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive.

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Herb harvest flyer

Spread the word and make sure to attend our last-chance free basil harvest.   Basil will be removed after this harvest to make room for our fall plants, so get your Ziploc bags ready!

WHEN:     Friday, September 30
TIME:     Anytime between 9 AM and 2 PM
WHERE:     UC Davis Good Life Garden – in the courtyard of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.  click here for directions.

Please bring the following items:

  • scissors or pruning shears
  • a bag to hold your herbs
  • wet paper towels to put in the bag with the herbs (if you don’t have a refrigerator to keep them in for the day)

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The Sac Bee featured the UC Davis Arboretum’s 75th Anniversary and also included news about about our public garden initiative.

To read the full article, click  here.

Photo of Sac Bee Home and Garden story about UC Davis Arboretum's 75th Anniversary.

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The October 9th Arboretum Plant Sale, with the theme “Growing a Green Future”, has been featured in the October issue of Sunset Magazine!

Don’t miss the All-Stars tag and the photo of the teaching nursery on the first page of the article!

Click on the images below to see a larger version.

Page 1 of Sunset Article about plant sales

Sunset Magazine plant sales article page 2

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Oak grove seating wall tile art

In the Art-Science Fusion Program, formal lectures and workshops are balanced with time in the Arboretum gardens and art studio.  Community members work alongside undergraduate students to produce art that expresses scientific concepts.  These works, in turn, are used in the Arboretum’s public education programs.

You will be given the skills and materials to carve, paint, and glaze a cove piece to contribute to the ceramic tile surface of a 50 foot curved concrete bench at the entrance to Shields Oak Grove. The tile installation will highlight 43 steps in the life cycle of an 800 year old English oak.  You may select an image of a wildflower, mushroom, bird, mammal, or insect from the English oak woodland to depict on your cove piece.  The finished ceramic bench will serve as an outdoor classroom and gathering area for tours of the Arboretum’s nationally recognized oak collection.

Join Art/Science Fusion instructors Donna Billick and Diane Ullman in creating tiles for a permanent installation at the UC Davis Arboretum!

WHO: UC Davis students, Arboretum volunteers, and anyone with an interest in art and science!

WHAT: Creation of ceramic tiles of plants, insects, and wildlife

WHEN: Tuesday evenings, October 4 – November 15, from 6 to 9 pm

WHERE: The Lab + Studio = Labudio (Environmental Horticulture Building, Rooms 126/128)

RSVP: Please contact Emily Griswold at ebgriswold@ucdavis.edu to RSVP

No previous experience necessary.  Materials, tools, and instruction will be provided.  Wear old clothes and shoes, and come create some tiles!

DIRECTIONS: The Labudio is on the UC Davis Campus. Visitor parking is available for $7 in UC Davis Visitor Lot #5 at the corner of A Street and Old Davis Road.  From Lot 5, walk west along Old Davis Road, toward the Mondavi Center. The Environmental Horticulture Buildings will be on your left. Walk inside the central courtyard to find Rooms 126 and 128, the Art/Science Fusion Labudio rooms.

Questions?  Contact Emily Griswold at ebgriswold@ucdavis.edu or 530-754-8038.

Click here to download a .pdf of the flyer.

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ARM employee Nelson Randolph is the winner of the first ever Safety Star award.  This award is bestowed to someone who, based on co-worker nomination, supports a strong safety culture and models the Principles of Safety.  Safety Services works with the winner’s supervisor to coordinate a time to surprise the person with the award.

Nelson is responsible for safety programs for Grounds – primarily pertaining to roads – and his stellar service is also available to other departments on a recharge basis.

Many thanks to Nelson for his commitment to safety!

If you would like to nominate a co-worker for the Safety Star Award, more information will be available soon on the Safety Services website, or you can contact Aimee Pfohl at ajpfohl@ucdavis.edu.

In the photo below Nelson Randolph shows off his Safety Star Award with Grounds & Landscape Services Superintendent Cary Avery and Kim Rhodes, Director of Budget and Planning for CPCR.

Nelson Randolph and his safety award

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