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!


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

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

We are very excited to announce a generous endowment of $25,000 (built through a pledge of $5,000/year over five years) from our long-time friends and supporters, Bret Hewitt and Deb Pinkerton. In addition, they have pledged $10,000 in current use gifts over the next five years.

These gifts are uniquely structured so the endowment will be used for new programs that support our GATEway initiatives (Garden, Arts and The Environment) and the current use funds will be used to build the GATEways program as the endowment grows. This creative gift will provide much-needed “seed” capital for new planning efforts, programmatic needs and/or capital projects.

When making this gift, Bret and Deb said that they hoped their efforts would be an encouragement for others to get involved and support the Arboretum. Thanks, Bret and Deb – we so appreciate your support!

Below is  a photo of Bret Hewitt and Deb Pinkerton with Warren Roberts. currently the Arboretum’s Superintendent Emeritus, in front of the Nature’s Gallery Court installation at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.

The Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum is hosting its second and last Fall Plant Sale of the season at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery this Sunday. In honor of the Arboretum’s  75th Anniversary, the theme of this sale, Growing a Green Future, is all about sustainable gardens. Attendees will learn how they can save water, reduce pollution, support native pollinators, and still enjoy a beautiful home landscape.

!Image of Plant Sales Flyer

Did you know that the Sign Shop, formerly part of Facilities Management, is now part of Campus Planning and Community Resources?  On September 22nd it moved into a newly renovated shop space located at Civil & Industrial Services’ location on Garrod Road in West Campus.  This new alignment will consolidate the fabrication and printing of signage used for events, wayfinding,  street identification and traffic control.

CPCR has 32 directional signposts situated across campus which the Sign Shop updates with directional signage.  (See the photo below.)  With room for three signs on each placard, Vice Chancellor Meyer recently inquired as to whether or not their use was restricted to events.  From this observation came a welcome sign for students and parents of the class of 2015.

Image of event directional signage placard.

Going forward, the Sign Shop will be looking at further enhancements,  such as the incorporation of different colors, fonts and icons.  The Arboretum Plant Sale signs serve as a recent example.  They are moving cautiously in this direction in order to maintain campus identity standards.

Soon the Sign Shop will also be rolling out prototypes of new campus street signs that have been designed and created in-house.  These new signs meet the latest January 2012 standards and also include the campus wordmark.   Initial roll-out will be at West Village.  (See photo below.)

Image of mock-up street signs in the West Village neighborhood.

The CPCR Sign Shop may be reached at 754-5762 or through its portal at signage@ucdavis.edu.  The shop specializes in thermal transfer and cut vinyl on aluminum, steel, coroplast corrugated board and door magnetics.  The shop can accept most file formats and has the ability to remap to spot colors as well as convert graphic images into editable line art.

We are so proud that the Good Life Garden is featured on the cover of UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions recruitment materials.  In the three years since this space opened it has quickly gone from a beautiful edible landscape to a campus icon thanks to the hard work of Landscape Architect Christina DeMartini Reyes, Landscape Superintendent Cary Avery, Gardening Specialist Pat Stoffel, and many others.

Image of Undergraduate Admissions Catalog Cover