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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden conclude fall plant sales

The seasonal sales are a hub for the Arboretum and local plant shops to sell stock and for growing experts to share advice with community members


By LILY FREEMAN – campus@theaggie.org


After welcoming the public back to the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery for the first time in three years due to the COVID-19 hiatus this fall, the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden completed their final plant sale of the fall 2022 season on Nov. 5. These large-scale sales took place several times this season, according to their website, and involved dozens of students, volunteers and nursery staff, who grew and propagated some of the plants themselves on-site at the Arboretum. 

The concluding sale offered many varieties of low-water, easy-care plants, according to the Arboretum website. Also present at the sale were staff members willing to share their knowledge about growing plants.

Enola Lagrave, a third-year environmental science and management major and a staff member on the Arboretum Nursery Management team, detailed her involvement in preparing for the plant sales. 

“While sometimes we get the plants from different local distributors, we also have patches of plants around the Arboretum that we take pieces from,” Lagrave said. “[We] put them in tiny little pots, and once they’re grown a little bit, we’ll put them in bigger pots, and eventually, they’ll go on the sales floor. We do a lot of our own cuttings [and] other times, we take care of watering, pruning or making sure they look nice and healthy.” 

The sale also partnered with other local plant shops and organizations that had information to share about growing plants. Dispersed throughout the nursery, community members stood alongside tables showcasing their diverse plants and infographics about growing techniques and environmentalism. 

Lawrence Groves, the founder of The Growing Groves, a newly-opened plant shop in downtown Davis, described his experience collaborating with the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden for the first time this fall. 

“I was kind of gagged when we were reached out to by the Arboretum,” Groves said. “It was very much like a moment of ‘Oh my gosh, these people know who we are.’ Being able to meet the directors and everyone who makes this possible has been a really present and amazing experience. It’s been really amazing feeling like a kind of staple in the community.” 

Groves said that he hopes to come back to the next plant sale season and “have new things to show everyone.” 

Amelia Swanson, a second-year design major who attended the plant sale, described her experience as a first-time customer.

“It was such a cool community to feel a part of,” Swanson said. “Everyone was so knowledgeable and willing to help me, whether I was looking for a plant or wanting to get involved with the community garden. The plants were super affordable, which is super cool considering that they aren’t that accessible in a lot of places. I definitely see myself getting involved in the future.”

Lagrave said that in hopes of promoting more community involvement in future plant sales, volunteers handed out informational pamphlets at the final sale about how community members can become involved with upcoming events. She also outlined the qualifications for volunteers. 

“You can be as unqualified as you’d like,” Lagrave said. “We have a bunch of people that have just a mild interest in plants and they’ll volunteer here. Our interns who have been here only a few weeks are already on the sales floor. You know a lot more than you think.” 

Lagrave said that while she works on the Nursery Management team every season, interns can pick and choose the seasons and events they want to work.

Although this was the concluding plant sale of the fall 2022 season, volunteers promoted the upcoming spring 2023 season throughout the event. The dates for the spring season sales will be announced soon, according to the Arboretum website. 

Larissa Thatcher, a third-year environmental science and management major and intern at the Arboretum, said that they have “never been this fully stocked for spring.” 

“It should be a good season!” Thatcher said. 


Written by: Lily Freeman — campus@theaggie.org