UC Davis Arboretum Expanding

"Shovel Gateway" by Christopher Fennell recently completed.

“Shovel Gateway” by Christopher Fennell recently completed.

UC Davis offers a diverse arboretum along Putah Creek, though it is technically on the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta proper.  The garden winds along the south side of campus from the Veterinary college to the edge of downtown.  The newest section is under construction and is called the Gateway Garden.  It starts behind the shopping center at 1st and D street (the center with Whole Foods and Gap).  Today the new “Shovel Gateway” was dedicated after some months of construction.  Members of the Davis community donated the shovels and the artist, Christopher Fennell.

Walk or bicycle along either side of Putah Creek in the arboretum.

Walk or bicycle along either side of Putah Creek in the arboretum.

It makes for a striking entrance to a great walk or bike ride through the peaceful series of gardens from Australian flora to native oaks.  The UC Davis Arboretum is well supported by the community and offers a teaching nursery and interpretive education on plants and gardening.  They have a great number of special events and several plant sale days in the Spring and Fall.

Ceramic mural near Arboretum headquarters

Ceramic mural near Arboretum headquarters

If you find yourself on campus for an event or conference, take the time to see the pubic art on display. Among my favorites is Robert Arneson’s egghead series, including this one in front of the administration building Mrak Hall.

Two eggheads talking past each other, just a stones throw from the arboretum.

Two eggheads talking past each other, just a stones throw from the arboretum.

Boating on Cache Slough

On a perfect day in October we met our boat at the Bridge to Nowhere at Liberty Island. There was no wind and it was warm not hot. The migratory birds were just starting to return.  The tide was about at its high water mark for the day. We headed out into “the stairstep” on our way to look at cow pasture that will be returned to tidal wetlands and then on to Cache Slough.

Lower Yolo Ranch: future restored tidal wetlands

Lower Yolo Ranch: future restored tidal wetlands

The Cache Slough complex is a mix of hunting areas, and agriculture. Unlike the southern Delta there is still lots of vegetation, even along “project levees” (built to Army Corp standards).  It is a beautiful place for boating. It was a weekday so we did not see many fishermen. The Cache Slough also has potential for restored tidal wetlands–something the Delta has lost more than 95%. Tidal wetlands play an important role in providing habitat for Delta Smelt and other native fish and for producing food for the rest of the estuary.

Great place to canoe or kayak!

Great place to canoe or kayak!

By the time we got to Cache Slough (with many stops along the way to look at natural and man made features), the tide was receding. The sun was rising high in the sky and there was still no wind. Fantastic.

I will return to kayak or canoe here someday.