Gardens

The plants in the 17 gardens and collections of the UC Davis Arboretum represent a living museum. Browse through the list below for more information.

Arboretum Terrace Garden and Lois Crowe Patio

The Arboretum Terrace Garden and Lois Crowe Patio (next to Whole Foods in the Davis Commons Shopping Center in Downtown Davis) is a Mediterranean-style garden for California’s Central Valley, featuring vine-covered pergolas, decorative paving, and cooling fountains. Visitors can learn about Valley-wise gardening: how to create a beautiful garden, reduce their use of water, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and provide a refuge for birds and butterflies, using Arboretum All-Stars plants and garden techniques adapted to local growing conditions. The patio is named for Lois Crowe, an Arboretum docent with a special interest in Mediterranean garden style.

Australian Collection

The recently-renovated Australian Collection features towering eucalyptus trees combined with underplantings of Australian shrubs and perennials, many with interesting flower and foliage forms. Visitors can see several useful groundcovers for sun or shade in low-water gardens. Photo by Ivan Kozik.

California Foothill Collection

The California Foothill Collection displays large trees and shrubs native to the foothills surrounding the Central Valley, including several majestic 200-year-old Valley oaks, pines, ceanothus, and several species of native currants and gooseberries, whose flowers produce a delicious fragrance in mid-winter. Visitors can see a hillside covered with graceful native grasses used as groundcovers.

Carolee Shields White Flower Garden and Gazebo

The Carolee Shields White Flower Garden and Gazebo is a theme garden based on medieval moon-viewing gardens of India and Japan. With its curving paths framing a vine-covered gazebo, the garden is a popular site for weddings and other events. Many of the plants here are fragrant, and their pale flowers are particularly luminous by moonlight. The garden is named for Carolee Shields, an avid gardener and the wife of Judge Peter J. Shields, one of the founders of the UC Davis campus.

Conifer Collection

In the Conifer Collection, you can see cone-bearing trees, including pines, cedars, firs, junipers, and cypresses. These trees are nearly all evergreens, and are native to Mexico, Canada, Europe, North Africa, Japan, China, Australia, and the U.S. Trees in this collection illustrate a wide range of forms and foliage. The mourning cypress, with its weeping, overhanging branches, is familiar from Chinese landscape paintings.

Desert Collection

The Desert Collection demonstrates the amazing adaptations to heat and drought that plants have evolved in the arid regions of the Americas. This area features cacti and succulents as well as fan palms, mesquites, and other trees and shrubs.

East Asian Collection

The East Asian Collection is a popular place for picnics, with open lawns and lovely views of Lake Spafford. Cherry blossoms and fragrant daphne are standouts in winter and spring, while ginkgo and zelkova trees and ornamental grasses provide beautiful fall color.

Eric E. Conn Acacia Grove

The Eric E. Conn Acacia Grove displays over 50 species of acacias from Australia, Africa, and the Americas. In early spring, visitors can walk through clouds of fragrant yellow blossoms amid meadows of native California bunchgrasses. We are testing these attractive heat- and drought-tolerant plants, which range from prostrate, low-growing species to tall shade trees, for use in Central Valley gardens. The grove is named for Dr. Eric E. Conn, professor emeritus of biochemistry at UC Davis and an internationally-recognized expert on acacias.

Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants

The Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants includes an extensive collection of native plants that work well in home landscapes, arrayed along meandering paths under stately oaks. The garden showcases a native meadow—a California-style lawn—and many Arboretum All-Stars, our recommended plants for Valley-wise gardens. Mary Wattis Brown was an avid gardener and botanist who recognized the need for education to promote conservation of California’s wild heritage.

Mediterranean Collection

The Mediterranean Collection features plants native to the Mediterranean basin, arrayed on a curving hillside around a scenic lagoon. This section is noted for its collection of medicinal and culinary herbs.

North Coast Collection

The North Coast Collection features broadleaf and evergreen trees and shrubs native to the coastal regions of northern California, including the fragrant California bay laurel, Lawson cypress, bigleaf maple, dogwood, and spice bush. It evokes the cool, moist northern coast range forests.

Peter J. Shields Oak Grove

More than 80 kinds of oaks are found in the Peter J. Shields Oak Grove, including a fine collection of oaks native to the western United States and many trees that are rare in cultivation. With its open vistas and wide sweeping lawns, the grove is a popular retreat for students and visitors. The Arboretum’s oak collection is part of the national oak collection through the North American Plant Collections Consortium, marking its significance to the scientific community. The oak grove is named for Judge Peter J. Shields, one of the founders of the UC Davis campus. Learn more

Ruth Risdon Storer Garden

The Ruth Risdon Storer Garden is a Valley-wise garden, featuring flowering perennials and small shrubs that are especially well suited to Central Valley gardens, including many Arboretum All-Stars, our recommended plants for Valley-wise gardens. It is designed for year-round color with low water use and low maintenance, and features a demonstration planting of roses and companion plants. Educational exhibits highlight the principles of sustainable gardening. The garden is named for Dr. Ruth Storer, Yolo County’s first pediatrician and an avid gardener.

South American Collection

The South American Collection is a small planting of mainly Argentinean and Chilean plants, including groundcovers and vines used as groundcovers on a steep bank, cacti, and cannas on the water's edge.

Southwest U.S.A. and Mexican Collection

The Southwest U.S.A. and Mexican Collection includes trees, shrubs, and perennials adapted to heat and low rainfall. Many of these plants flower in summer, since they evolved with summer rains. The Montezuma bald cypress was grown from seed from the largest specimen in Mexico.

T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove

The T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove is one of the largest collections of coast redwood trees outside their native range, along with understory plants from the redwood forest. The tall trees create a shady, silent, cathedral-like atmosphere just a few minutes' walk from central campus. The grove is named for Dr. T. Elliot Weier, a professor of botany at UC Davis who helped establish the Arboretum in 1936.

Warren G. Roberts Redbud Collection

The Warren G. Roberts Redbud Collection is a grove of Western redbud, small multi-trunked trees that produce clouds of magenta-pink blossoms in early spring. Redbud is native to the California foothills and is an important plant to Native Californians, who harvest young shoots for basketry. The grove was named to honor Warren G. Roberts, superintendent of the UC Davis Arboretum for more than 35 years.