UC Davis Today

  • New trails — Oak Diversity and Oak Discovery — in the Peter J. Shields Oak Grove offer a more inviting visitor experience as the arboretum transitions to public garden.

  • Every oak has a story.

  • New walkway leads from the arboretum path to the site of the animal science garden, featuring a display plot for forage crops and a view of livestock in a Cole Facility coral.

  • Nearly 50 boulders comprise the California Rock Garden around the Earth and Physical Sciences Building.

  • Fieldwork in geology is right outside the classroom.

  • A meadow of native bunchgrasses in the arboretum.

  • Site of the future design garden at Cruess Hall, home of the Design Museum. One proposal would focus on converting discarded goods to new uses.

  • No more turf, no more mowing the La Rue Road median. "Cast-iron" plants, drought tolerant and low maintenance, are going in.

  • The planned California native plant garden, behind the Davis Commons shopping center, will connect the arboretum and downtown.

  • Artists Mark Rivera and Donna Billick apply grout to the Nature's Gallery ceramic mural during its installation in the arboretum.

  • Nature's Gallery, which debuted in 2007 at the U.S. Botanic Garden, finally has a permanent home: at the arboretum entrance off Garrod Drive.

  • "Then, now and always — a part of this Land" reads the inscription on top of this basalt column in the Native American Contemplative Garden.

  • Native American Contemplative Garden, south of King Hall: The rock wall “coils” like the foundation of a Patwin basket.

  • The Good Life Garden, an edible landscape of vegetables, herbs and flowers, sits in the courtyard of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

  • A beginning modern dance class uses the arboretum as a studio, for an exercise on interacting with inanimate objects.

  • The T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove is one of the largest collections of coast redwood trees outside their native range.

  • Some things never change: The solace of Lake Spafford ...

  • ... the main trail as a place for running, walking and biking ..

  • ... and fishing at Lake Spafford.

  • An egret along the arboretum waterway.

UC Davis Arboretum: Blazing a new trail

UC Davis, UC Davis, how does your garden grow? And by garden we mean the arboretum and other landscapes around the central campus. Today they are in sync, growing in stature and sustainability as a public garden unlike any other at a university. And receiving acclaim as one of the 10 most beautiful botanical gardens across the United States, as declared recently by Stylelist Home, part of the Internet newspaper The Huffington Post

Since UC Davis launched its Public Garden Initiative in June 2011, the arboretum and academia have been collaborating more than ever before, stretching their missions and overlapping boundaries to create new opportunities in teaching and research, develop new landscapes, and boost community engagement. 

“This is a transformative moment in the history of the campus,” Peter H. Raven, famed botanist and conservationist, said during a visit to UC Davis in January. “This is not about a garden branching out. Think of it as a rededication of the campus to the principles of sustainable horticulture, the environment and academics.

 “Using the campus as a model, this could be a modern garden of Eden that will allow us to live in harmony with the Earth,” Raven continued. “It would be sustainable in every respect.” 

And, in every garden you see, anywhere on campus, the arboretum aims to pique your interest in the UC Davis mission, in what goes on beyond the gardens and inside the buildings. 

Follow the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden blog to keep up with what’s going on with this program.

The T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove is one of the largest collections of coast redwood trees outside their native range. Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo. Slideshow photos by Urquiaga and Karin Higgins, both of University Communications.

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