UC Davis Arboretum 

Volunteer Newsletter

  February 2012

In This Issue
Volunteer Spotlight
Volunteer News Briefs
Volunteer Opportunities


Arboretum Links


Arboretum Website 



Events Calendar 



Email Us! 



UCD Public Garden Blog 



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    75th heritage seal     







What goes around, comes around 

Welcome, Spring!


Thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Southeast? Snowstorms across the Midwest? Screaming winds in the Northeast? Gray drizzle in the Northwest? By comparison, these days of early spring make Californians truly appreciate our region's warm afternoons, sunshine, and fresh spring plant growth of February and March. 


On the public front, student Naturalists and Ambassadors have been busy preparing for and executing school programs and other public events. Docents have been leading weekend tours. Out of the limelight, Arboretum volunteers and staff have diligently carried on the winter work of gardening maintenance, nursery propagation, plant record-keeping, and planning throughout the dormant season can now enjoy the rewards of their efforts:

  • Arboretum pathways are filled with walkers, cyclists, families, students, staff, and others eager to enjoy our striking gardens that stir with new plant and animal life.
  • Bright green shoots appear amid the brown stubble of ornamental grasses recently trimmed.
  • Vertical stands of spring bulbs pop up in patches of mulched and weeded ground. 
  • The sublime fragrance of winter daphne and the brilliant reds of flowering quince remind us to expect a daily roll-out of botanical surprises and delights in our well-tended collections.
  • Throughout the Arboretum, musicians jam, picnickers share meals, lovers find enchantment, students get inspired, hummingbirds seek nectar, and birds build their nests. 

It is not by accident that spring in the UC Davis Arboretum is so extraordinary.  The public and behind-the-scenes work that student and community volunteers have accomplished makes it possible. Though we can still expect an occasional shower, wind gusts, and chilly mornings, we watch as the Arboretum begins the growing season in earnest. Everyone who visits here owes Arboretum volunteers heartfelt thanks for helping to create such a special place.


Margaret Kralovec 

Community Outreach Manager 


Volunteer Spotlight



Jeanne and Ginny
Propagators Jeanne Enos and Ginny Vaughn and the rest of the Tuesday Propagation Team make final plant preparations in the Teaching Nursery before each plant sale.





















Thursday Propagators Pat Dressendorfer, Marianita Vieira, and Candace Cross-Drew share a congenial moment under the protective cover of the Teaching Nursery's new potting pavilion.

Author Terry Davison and fellow Wednesday Propagators Christine Joshel and Lorna Belden share fabulous spreads of food at break time, a tradition for this group.

Plant Propagation: a Perennial Pursuit 

by Terry Davison, Volunteer Plant Propagator and Friends Board Member


Plant sale season is at hand, and the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum prepares for a series of nursery sale events that provides beautifully tended, region-appropriate plants to customers, and fulfills essential funding needs of the Arboretum. But while plant sale events seem to come and go each fall and spring, the effort behind them requires a year-around effort. 


How is it possible to offer so many thousands of fabulous plants to customers at these sales events? Who keeps the Arboretum Teaching Nursery in tip-top shape day in and day out? The answer is our Plant Propagation Teams that consist of about 40 dedicated volunteer propagators who devote one morning a week, either Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays, to tend nursery plants and to maintain the nursery itself. Under the direction of Nursery Manager Lisa Fowler (and now the interim direction of Assistant Nursery Manager Francesca Claverie) plant propagators ensure that individual plants are thriving and that the nursery inventory as a whole receives proper attention. On a rainy day in the winter, we might crowd together inside the Arboretum Headquarters potting shed to plant seeds. Several times a year, we wander through the Arboretum to collect cuttings and seeds to propagate as nursery plants. Frequently, we gather in the Potting Pavilion at the Teaching Nursery to transfer seedlings from flats to individual pots, or to repot growing plants into larger containers. When the sales season approaches, we walk the nursery aisles between plant benches, pruning and weeding potted plants so that the sales inventory remains healthy and attractive.  The results?  Plant Propagator Teams enable the Friends to offer mostly Arboretum-grown plants at its sales, a big draw for those customers who appreciate the quality of plants grown and tended on site at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery.


One of the bonuses I've enjoyed as a Propagation Team member is the opportunity to learn from UC Davis horticulture experts about plants, gardening, and propagation techniques. I recently learned more about seed dormancy and germination. I also got a refresher in pruning trees, shrubs and perennials.  


Each of the three on-site Propagation Teams has a strong sense of community among its members. Besides talk of gardening and plants, there are lively discussions on a wide range of subjects as we stand at the potting bench.  In the lull of activity after the sales season, we often plan a trip to some of the nurseries in the area, usually followed by lunch. Last year, we left the potting shed behind and shared a excursion to the "Bouquets to Art" exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.  


Being able to work outdoors with plants, enjoying the company of like-minded people, and having fun together makes the Propagation Team a perfect volunteer choice for its members.


Volunteer News Briefs

Did You Know? 

volunteer appreciation
The food delights just begin at the barbecue line at the Volunteer Appreciation Party. Join us for a celebratory evening at Putah Creek Lodge on June 26!


Arboretum Ambassadors and Naturalists (in orange aprons) assisted participants of all ages at our Native California Elderberry Flute-making Workshop, Sunday, February 26.   Clockwise from back right are Danielle Lee, Ari Kosel, Mira Parekh, Izzy Zucker, and Outdoor Education Coordinator Stefanie Smart.






Mark your Calendars!  Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Tuesday, June 26, 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Seems an eternity from now, but make sure you save the date for this year's annual celebration of Arboretum volunteers. As we honor the contributions of volunteers during this important 75th Anniversary year, we'll be enjoying grilled food and a potluck buffet created by staff. Watch for more details coming your way! 


New! An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Team has started up on Friday mornings under the direction of Horticulture Director Ellen Zagory and Assistant Nursery Manager Francesca Claverie. Currently, Ellen and Francesca are training eight volunteers and one intern to monitor the Arboretum Teaching Nursery for invasive insects, pests, and plants. The group, consisting of new volunteers Pat Ebert, Candy Schaer, Barbara Ohlendorf; existing volunteers Marianita Vieira, Christina Craig-Veit, Alice Villarreal, Lynda Ives, Evelyn Healy; and intern Lauren Alcorn are learning about spotting the signs of invasives so that they can be eliminated immediately. Once trained, IPM Team members will be taking on the important job of monitoring our substantial nursery inventory for any unwelcome pests. This new, proactive effort to secure the health and vigor of our nursery plants is an exciting development at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery. Welcome, IPM Team!


Docents prepare for special events

In a busy spring season filled with public tours and events as well as plants sales, docents are preparing to show off Arboretum collections at private events for donor groups, regional conferences including the International Prune Association Conference, the Statewide Garden Clubs, Inc. Annual Conference, the California Higher Education Sustainability Annual Conference, and the UCDMC Surgery Staff Workshop. They will be also be hosting garden clubs, master gardeners,  and members of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers at the Arboretum Invitational Tour & Shop in mid-April. Volunteers providing Arboretum tours and explorations have helped make the UC Davis Arboretum THE PLACE for private groups to gather!


Stork Watch: As of our publication date, there is no official word from Nursery Manager Lisa Fowler who began her maternity leave on February 10.    

Volunteer Opportunities


volunteer presale
Volunteers search for their favorites from the new inventory of plants at the beginning of each plant sale season. Come to the Teaching Nursery on March 6 between 11 am and 1 pm to take advantage of this special volunteer benefit to shop for plants before the spring plant sale season begins. All Arboretum volunteers are welcome!
nursery caretakers
Nursery Caretakers Lynda Ives and Dorothy Yerxa tend plants bound for Arboretum collections every Tuesday morning.


Volunteer "First Choice" Plant Sale
March 6, 11 am - 1 pm
Before the first public sale on April 14, and even before the Member Appreciation Sale on March 10, Arboretum volunteers will have the very first opportunity to purchase plants from the spring inventory at an exclusive event to be held at the Teaching Nursery Tuesday, March 6, from 11 am to 1 pm. This is one small way we can show our gratitude for your time and service to the Arboretum. Unfortunately, we can only accept checks and credit cards at this event. Our volunteers who are also members of the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum get a 10% discount on their purchases.

The Tuesday Nursery Caretaker Team needs more volunteers to help tend the nursery next to the Arboretum Headquarters Office. This nursery houses the plants being grown for addition to Arboretum collections. Under the guidance of Curator Mia Ingolia, Nursery Caretakers help propagate plant material and seeds collected from around the world, tend the new plants until they are ready for replanting, and maintain the nursery on a weekly basis. Please spread the word about this opportunity among your plant-loving friends and invite them to contact Margaret Kralovec for more information.  
Spring Plant Sales 

If you haven't committed to helping at the spring Plant Sales, please contact Margaret Kralovec to lend a hand on any or all of these dates!


March 10: Members Appreciation Sale, 9 am - 1 pm


April 13: UC Davis Invitational Plant Sale11 am - 6 pm


April 14: Public Sale, 9 am - 1 pm


April 18: Arboretum Invitational,12 - 3 pm

special access to shopping for plants from noon to 3 pm.


April 28: Pollinator Conference Plant Sale, 1 - 4 pm 


May 19: Public Sale, 9 am - 1 pm