Posts Tagged: UC Davis Arboretum
Nature's Gallery, a ceramic mosaic mural installed in the UC Davis Arboretum's Ruth Risdon Storer Garden, is gathering lots of visitors--and lots of donors.
This amazing mural by the UC Davis Art Science Fusion Program, directed by entomologist/artist Diane Ullman and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick, is comprised of more than 140 tiles, all hand-crafted by students, staff, faculty and community members.
Earlier showcased in the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., where it drew more than 300,000 visitors, it is now "home sweet home" in the UC Davis Arboretum.
The good folks at the UC Davis Arboretum are seeking donors for the remainder of the plants and insects depicted on the mural. It's sort of like "Adopt a Bug" or "Adopt a Plant." Donors' names, or names memoralizing loved ones, are engraved on the wall.
So, back to the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). The art work is beautiful, but no one has stepped forward to adopt it. Also available are the giant crane fly (Holorusia rubiginosa), the white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata), a scarab (Bolbelasmus horni), and the meadow spittle bug (Philaenus spumarius).
Our family scooped up the shining leaf chafer beetle (Paracotalpa puncticollis), but only because the honey bee (Apis mellifera), our favorite insect, was unavailable. "The honey bee was among the first to go," Ullensvang said. UC Davis alumnus Dr. Jonathan Bowman donated it in memory of his parents.
If you prefer plants to insects, there are a few plants available: acanthus (Acanthus mollis), Cypriot woundwort (Sideritis cypria), black mondo grass (Opiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'), and Euonymous or “Emerald ‘n Gold” (Euonymus fortunei). (See what's available.)
So, if you're looking for a perfect holiday gift (good cause and lasting legacy), there's an Argentine ant-donor tile that could have your name on it.
Unless, of course, you'd prefer the meadow spittle bug...
Kathleen Socolofsky, director of the UC Davis Arboreteum, at a ceremony honoring the donors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Colorful plants and insects grace Nature's Gallery. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If you've never been to a UC Davis Arboretum plant sale, you should.
The last plant sale of the year will take place Sunday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive.
If you're looking for plants that will attract bees, or plants that will attract butterflies, or plants that will attract both, experienced gardeners there can help you. Check out their inventory.
Nearby is the Nature's Gallery Court Mural, showcasing plants found in the Storer Garden and the insects that gravitate toward them. The mural is the work of the UC Davis Art/ Science Fusion Program, co-founded and co-directed by entomologist/artist Diane Ullman and artist Donna Billick.
If you take a stroll through the nearby Storer Garden, you'll see such plants as white flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa "Contorta"), cenizio (Leucophyllum frutescens) and winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum).
The honey bees love 'em.
Honey bee on a cenizo, Leucophyllum frutescens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee on a white flowering quince, Chaenomeles speciosa "Contorta." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee on winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Argentine Rain Lily (Zephyranthes candida), also known as the White Rain Lily, White Fairy Lily and White Zephyr Lily, is drawing a few honey bees, but the bees like the lavender and sage best.
The white Zeph is one of the "Arboretum All-Stars," a list of 100 plants that thrive in the Central Valley and stay attractive most of the year. Most of the All-Stars are also drought tolerant, require little maintenance, and are relatively pest free, Arboretum officials say. A few--about 15--are California natives.
You can find the All-Stars (and other plants) at the Arboretum's periodic plant sales; the next sales are Oct. 3 and Oct. 17.
"Bee there" for bee-friendly plants and other selections.
At the last sale, we picked up some sage and a carnivorous plant.
To be honest, we were happy the carnivorous plant died. It ate one of our honey bees.
Honey Bee in Rain Lily
If you stuff your turkey with sage, chances are it's Salvia officinalis.
Not the turkey, the sage.
And if you visit the Storer Garden at the UC Davis Arboretum, you'll see bumble bees stuffing themselves with nectar from the purple flowers of Salvia officinalis, cultivar Berggarten, also known as Berggarten sage.
Scores of Bombus californicus nectared the flowers last weekend, seemingly proving that this is indeed a culinary sage favored by people AND bumble bees.
Salvia officinalis (salvia is Latin for "to heal") shows up in both medicinal and culinary history. In fact, Wikipedia says our ancestors used it to ward off evil and snakebites, to increase women's fertility, "and more."
The "and more" means just that. Think of every ailment known to humankind. Now fast forward to modern times. Some researchers are using it to treat mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease and depression.
On the culinary side, Julia Child favored it as a flavorful herb.
Bombus californicus probably knows something that Julia Child did.
Bumble Bee Tongue
The Smithsonian Institution is the place to "bee" on Monday, June 22.
The location: Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History. The Smithsonian is located at the corner of 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington D.C.
Thorp will discuss "Western Bumble Bees in Peril." Sydney Cameron and Jeff Lozier of the University of Illinois will examine "The Status and Trends of Midwestern and Southern Bumble Bees." Then Leif Richardson of the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife will cover "Bumble Bee Trends in Northeastern North America."
- Stephen Buchmann, University of Arizona, "USA Native Bee Diversity: Rarity, Threats and Conservation Ideals"
- Paul Williams, Natural History Museum, London, "A Global View of Bumble Bees and Their Conservation Status."
Michael Ruggiero of the Smithsonian Institution will moderate. He's the senior science advisor of the Smithsonian's Integrated Taxonomic System (ITIS).
Following the symposium, bumble bee experts and other scientists will continue to meet at the Smithsonian for the next two and a half days to discuss concerns about the declining bumble bee population.
The symposium is part of National Pollinator Week, which starts Monday, June 22 and continues through Sunday, June 28.
Thorp delivered a presentation on Franklin's bumble bee May 27, during one of the UC Davis Department of Entomology's noonhour sessions. Franklin's bumble bee, feared extinct or nearing extinction, is found only in one part of the world: southern Oregon and northern California. Thorp's talk was Webcast.
Thorp, a member of the California Academy of Sciences since 1986, says that the loss of a native pollinator "could strike a devasting blow to the ecosystem, economy and food supply."
Locally, we've noticed far fewer bumble bees than in past years. Last summer we spotted a few in the UC Davis Arboretum (see below). This is the yellow-faced bumble bee or Bombus vosnesenskii, the most common Califonria bumble bee.
Not so common any more.
Pollen-Packing Bumble Bee