Meet the UC Davis arboretum all-stars on their Web site
Pardon me, but have you been properly introduced to the UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars?
If not, now is definitely the time.
Mr. and Mrs. Home Gardener may I introduce you to 100 plants that thrive in our Central Valley conditions, remain attractive most of the year, and have been tested in the UC Davis Arboretum.
Our Central Valley conditions mimic the Mediterranean climate that means cool, rainy (hopefully) winters and hot, dry summers. Think Barcelona, Rome, or even Athens. The daytime highs in these Mediterranean cities closely match our own.
The Arboretum All-Stars list consists of plants that are native to California and many that are native to the Mediterranean area. They are drought tolerant, require low maintenance, and attract beneficial wildlife.
The list takes the guesswork out of plant selection that is appropriate for our area.
I tend to think of pansies and primroses as winter color, not spring color as many big-box stores would like to have you think.
The drought tolerance of the Arboretum All-Stars means you can use less water in your garden. This means less water runoff and therefore less erosion.
Many of the 100 choices are naturally pest-free. Additionally, many provide habitat for beneficial insects that keep plant pests in check. That means there is less need to use pesticides.
Fewer pesticides means decreased amounts of toxic chemicals in our waterways. Lower water and pesticide use relates to green savings and by that I mean greenbacks. Just call yourself The Thrifty Gardener.
The All-Stars include perennials, groundcovers, vines, shrubs and trees. There are also some lush grasses to add movement to your landscape.
The All-Stars are growing in the UC Davis Arboretum. You can visit the arboretum 365 days a year, 24/7 at https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu.
The Web site has wonderful information about this outreach program. All of the plants are listed on the Web site with color photos, Latin and common names, cultural requirements, growth patterns and sizes, bloom season, and water needs.
There is even a podcast.
After watching the podcast I paged through the plant guide and found that many of the plants in my own backyard are on the list. It was fun to check off those plants including Aquilegia eximia (serpentine columbine), Echeveria Imbricata (hen and chicks), Heuchera Rosada (rosada coral bells), Nepeta x faassennii (hybrid catmint), Hardenbergia violacea (lilac vine), lavandula x ginginsii and stoechas (Goodwin Creek Grey and Otto Quast lavenders), Rosa Korbin (Iceberg rose), Salvia clevelandii Winnifred Gilman with its maroon stems and blue-violet flowers, and several other salvias, Feijoa sellowiana (pineapple guava), and Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington hawthorn). Thats over a dozen without even knowing it.
This spring the Arboretum All-Stars went retail. The Web site provides a growing list of nurseries that carry these plants. Its too bad that there are no nurseries in Solano County featuring these wonderful plants.
You can purchase the all-stars at the UC Davis Arboretum plant sales.
The next plant sale is Oct. 3. Mark your calendar.
Dottie Deems is a Master Gardener with the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Fairfield. If you have gardening questions, you can call the Master Gardeners office at 784-1322.
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