Birds, bees hold UC Davis Arboretum buzzing; plant sale Saturday

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 5:31 AM

But lately, the space really is humming – and buzzing, too.“There are so many hummingbirds, it’s unbelievable,” said Ellen Zagory, the arboretum’s director of public horticulture.

Birds, bees hold UC Davis Arboretum buzzing; plant sale Saturday

Spring always is a active time at the on the UC Davis campus. But lately, the space really is humming – and buzzing, too.

“There are so many hummingbirds, it’s unbelievable,” said Ellen Zagory, the arboretum’s director of public horticulture. “We have these really with long spurs; their long necks are full of nectar and the hummingbirds love them.

“Just this week, the hoverflies and honeybees started to arrive out,” she added. “They love it when it’s warm and not windy. We’re seeing so many native insects in the gardens.”

Located on Garrod Drive close the small-animal veterinary hospital, the teaching nursery is ringed by pollinator-friendly demonstration gardens that indicate off the many water-wise plants offered at its sales. Recent warm weather has brought out an exceptional display of spring flowers.

“The redbuds and the earlier ceanothus (CA lilac) are blooming together; that’s super unusual,” Zagory said. “The deep blue is in full bloom and absolutely gorgeous. The Mutabilis rose looks really beautiful. A lot of the perennials are just at the beginning of their bloom and they see great, too.”

Visitors can look for themselves – and maybe discover some new favorites to get home – during the nursery’s first public sale of the year, on Saturday, April two. Hundreds of drought-tolerant flowering plants will be available. Also on hand will be master gardeners and other volunteers who can proposal advice and suggestions on how to create the most of these water-wise alternatives to traditional turf-heavy landscaping.

Prompted by California’s prolonged drought, the whole UC Davis campus has gradually transitioned from lots of lawn to water-wise alternatives. For example, a mi of median along La Rue Road was replanted with CA deergrass, pine muhly, dwarf miscanthus and other drought-proof grasses. The campus not only saves on water, but maintenance. These grasses necessity mowing just once a year.

“We’re getting the latest of the mowing done,” Zagory said. “The grasses are all popping right back up, and see at this pretty bright green.”

Zagory has seen a transformation in the community, too, as more homeowners replace lawns with something else. That includes many plants certified and suggested by the arboretum as portion of its favorite or other series.

“All over Davis, I’ve been seeing yellow and orange (cape balsam), a plant we featured in the original All-Stars,” Zagory said. “It’s just beautiful. This spring, it’s blooming with big, full-bloom bursts of color. And it’s super drought-tolerant; you hardly have to water it at all.”

For this sale, the teaching nursery has a grand choice of plants for dry or partial shade, both problematic locations for many drought-tolerant plants.

“For this sale, we've several ),” Zagory said. “They’re love Heuchera or coral bells with a wide choice of colored foliage. Tiarella are kind of fragile looking, but they’re tough and do surprisingly well in dry shade.”

So do coral bells, which arrive in many new varieties as well as familiar favorites. That colorful foliage offers garden interest year round.

“We also have a excellent choice of hybrid hellebores, which like dry shade,” she said. “Most people are familiar with the (green-flowered) Corsican , but we've some with silver foliage or variegated or shadowy maroon or light pink flowers. And the hummingbirds took nectar from them, too.”

Arboretum Teaching Nursery, Garrod Drive, UC Davis

nine a. m.-1 p. m. Saturday, April two

Free

530-752-4880,

Extra spring sales will be held April twenty-three and May 14.

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