Archive for October, 2011

On October 5, 2011 the City Council of the City of Davis unanimously approved a proposal shepherded by UC Davis Arboretum Assistant Horiculturalist Emily Griswold, to allocate $40,000 towards the development of a sculptural gateway feature at the east end of the Arboretum. This area of the Arboretum also recently received grant funding to build a new California Native Plant GATEway Garden.

A call for proposals from artists is currently underway.  The budget includes all costs such as artist’s fees, travel, shipping, fabrication and installation. The qualifications submission deadline is December 12, 2011, with the grand opening unveiling projected for October 2012.

The goal of this installation is to improve pedestrian, bicycle and transit connections; to help promote and market the campus and downtown area as an art district and visitor destination; and to enhance the partnership between the City and University on a mutually beneficial project.

Congratulations Emily for spearheading an important partnership that will not only serve as a symbol of the city/campus collaboration, but act as a lasting landmark to help visitors find their way.


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As you can see from these before and after photos, the grass on the La Rue Road medians is now prepped for removal and conversion from a high-maintenance, high-water lawn, to a low-water, low-maintenance, beautiful landscape featuring plant selections from the UC Davis Arboretum All-Star program.


Photo of La Rue Road median before spray.


Photo of La Rue Road median after spraying.

Campus Planning and Landscape Architecture architects Skip Mezger and Christina DeMartini Reyes are currently working on a draft irrigation and planting plan in partnership with Arboretum horticulturalists Ellen Zagory, Emily Griswold, and Ryan Deering. Civil and Industrial Services will begin removing the grass next week and retrofitting the irrigation from spray to drip.

To read more about how UC Davis is working to redefine this campus landscapes click  here.

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Nature’s Gallery Court construction has begun! The design for this courtyard was created by UC Davis alumnus Ron Lutsko, recent recipient of an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Landscape Architects. His plan highlights the Nature’s Gallery mural–a creation of many hands–through a collaboration between the UC Davis Arboretum and the Art-Science Fusion Program.

Photo of UC Davis Nature's Gallery Court Rendering.

The Nature’s Gallery ceramic mosaic mural is a stunning work of art composed of over 140 tiles—hand-crafted by students, staff, faculty, and community members—each showcasing diverse drought-tolerant plants or insects found in the Arboretum’s Ruth Risdon Storer Garden.  Not only did community members help create the art, they also helped fund its installation.  Their donations also support the campus’s Art-Science Fusion program which serves as the catalyst for this and similar community art projects.

Campus Planning and Landscape Architecture is project managing the overall installation of this unique venue. The photo below shows Steve Stombler, Contractor, laying out the plans in preparation for the footings which are scheduled to be dug next week by Civil and Industrial Services. The project is located at the west end of the Arboretum just off Garrod Drive, near the Arboretum Teaching Nursery and Veterinary Medicine.

Photo of Steve Stombler begining construction on Nature's Gallery Court on the UC Davis campus.

Between the academic Art-Science Fusion program that brought this concept to life, all the individuals from students to community members involved in its artistic creation, and the administrative coordination involved in seeing this project to fruition, this installation has truly been a team effort!

To read more articles about this project click here. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can support this installation click here.

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The Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum hosted its final plant sale for the fall season on Sunday, October 9. The theme of this sale, Growing a Green Future, celebrated the UC Davis Arboretum’s 75 years of sustainable gardening by showcasing landscape plantings that save water, reduce pollution, support native pollinators and still manage to provide jaw-dropping beauty!  Attendees learned that by making smart planting choices means they really can have it all!

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Despite a challenging economy, revenues were almost as high as last year’s record-breaking totals, not to mention the fact that our audience grew by over 400 visitors! Thank you to all our volunteers and staff whose efforts continue to make this fund raiser better with each and every sale!

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On July 22nd2011, the final stone was set in place to cap completion of the campus’s Geology GATEway Garden located on the south and east side of the Earth & Physical Sciences Building.  (For more information about GATEways and its projects visit the UC Davis Arboretum website.)

This new garden, which features California native plants that are part of the Arboretum All-Stars program, is a destination spot and outdoor education space for those interested in geological pursuits. The landscape contains rock specimens from throughout California and is already being used in many undergraduate geology programs. It also offers local school kids a place to study regional rock types without having to travel.

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Late last fall, the majority of specimens were set by Civil & Industrial Services, a division of Campus Planning & Community Resources.  Using Civil’s 20-ton crane, stones were placed at specific locations called out by project leaders Professor Peter Schiffman, former Department Chair, and Janice Fong, Illustrator.   A striking  6,000 lb. silica stone with veins of pyrite serves as a  monument at the entrance of the Earth & Physical Sciences Building. From here the garden unfolds into a variety of rock types formed from igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary and hydro-thermal processes and includes examples of gabbro, schist, gneiss, marble, silica, limestone and lava. The focal point of the garden is the Yuba Blue ‘Teaching Stone’. Delivered from Smartville in Yuba County, this stone has been cleaved and polished to a fine luster, revealing a deep greenish-blue tint with a rich pattern of striations and inclusions.

For CPCR’s Civil & Industrial, this has been one of the most interesting projects they’ve been asked to participate in. Every member of their crew was engaged in the project and at the end received a copy of Roadside Geology of California.

Download this .pdf walking tour of the Geology GATEway Garden for a tour of California geology right here on campus!

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Grounds staff have sprayed the turf in the median and you should see the grass turning brown.  In a couple of weeks, the turf will be removed and work will begin on retrofit of the irrigation from spray to drip.  The Arboretum staff has prepared a list of plants to be considered as CPCR Landscape Architects begin the design.  Watch for heavy equipment in November!

Below is a photo of to show you just how large this project is.  The medians being converted to a low-water, low-maintenance landscape stretch from Russell Blvd. to Garrod Drive.  For more information about this conversion to a low-maintenance, low-water, regionally-appropriate landscape, see our previous post here.

To download a .pdf of this file, click the image below.

Image of La Rue Road Medians Base Map

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Another pilot conversion project is the Arboretum meadow turf conversion at Shields Oak Grove. This project continues moving forward as well.  Initial herbicide treatments took place last week just before the storms moved in.  The next step will be a retrofit of the irrigation system, followed by seeding around November 15 with purple needlegrass, a native California grass.  For more information about this low-maintenance, low-water, regionally-appropriate landscape conversion, read our previous article here.

Purple needlegrass (Nassella pulchra) was once a dominant species in California grasslands before invasive grasses became dominant. The seeds of N. pulchra were an important food source for many California Indian tribes. Today, it is the ‘State Grass of California’ and plays an important role in native grassland restoration and erosion control.  (Excerpt on purple needlegrass from Wikipedia.)

Photo of purple needlegrass below.

Photo of Purple Needlegrass

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