The Friends of the Arboretum will celebrate the grand opening of the new teaching nursery this Saturday by holding its 34th annual Plant Faire.
The sale features over 10,000 plants – mostly “All-Star plants” – Californian natives that have been hand selected by horticulturists on staff that will prosper in Davis’ Mediterranean-type climate.
“[All-Stars are selected] for their toughness, drought tolerance, tolerance of boron and bicarbonate water, beautiful flowers and foliage and their ability to support wildlife through providing nectar, pollen and edible fruits,” said Ellen Zagory of the UC Davis Arboretum.
The faire runs between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., with a special preview sale for Arboretum members from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and will include live music and free children’s activities.
“We would love to see people from all over the Sacramento region and hope to become a regional resource for all of the gardens in our area,” said Mary Patterson, president of the Friends of the Arboretum.
The new teaching nursery, located on Garrond Drive, east of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, recently had its first workshop on Great Plants for Valley Gardens in partnership with the California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH). The nursery will be a basis for people from the community to learn more about taking care of their own gardens.
“I would like to think that in the next six months we will start to have more workshops,” said Patterson. “Eventually we will have some regular classes and gather resources to do that by partnering up with [organizations] on campus.”
Plant Botany graduate students are planning to start a plant disease education program where people can have the opportunity to come in with their dying or diseased plants to get help.
“It’s a good way for the regional community to interact and share their expertise with the gardening community,” Patterson said.
The Friends of the Arboretum and the UC Davis Arboretum aims to spread knowledge about sustainable gardens in the community.
“Our long-term goal for the UC Davis Arboretum is to connect the knowledge and work of the campus to those that live in our area by introducing them to environmental science through plants, gardens and their connections to native flora and fauna around our urban landscapes,” Zagory said in an e-mail interview.
This first sale at the brand new facility includes partnership with Tree Davis, Master Gardeners and California Center for Urban Horticulture.
New members of the Friends of Arboretum will receive $5 off a membership and a free plant on Saturday.
“It’s just a fun, feel-good event,” said Heather Jones, a propagator volunteer for the Friends of the Arboretum.
The Plant Faire is one of the most important events for Friends of the Arboretum, which fundraises year-round for the Arboretum. Over 50 student volunteers come to each faire.
“We could not put on these sales without them,” Patterson said. “It makes a big difference.”
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.