It’s listed as one of the Sacramento Bee’s top 10 garden destinations in the Sacramento/Yolo area.
Reporter Debbie Arrington wrote that “Local gardeners don't have to go far to find inspiration. Our region is dotted with memorable public gardens that offer beauty and food for thought along with relaxation. A stroll through any of these destinations may turn up a new favorite shrub or eye-catching flower. In these gardens, you can see firsthand how thousands of plants have adapted to our climate and often low-water conditions. Best of all: Admission is free.”
The Top Ten:
- UC Davis Arboretum, UC Davis campus
- Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
- University Arboretum, J Street and Carlson Drive, on the campus of California State University, Sacramento, 6000 J St., Sacramento
- Charles C. Jensen Botanical Garden, 8520 Fair Oaks, Blvd. Carmichael
- WPA Rock Garden, Land Park, next to the amphitheater off Land Park Drive at 15th Street, Sacramento
- Water-Efficient Landscape demonstration garden, Fair Oaks Park, 8100 Temple Park Road, Fair Oaks
- Capitol Park, 11th and L streets, Sacramento
- World Peace Rose Garden, 15th Street and Capitol Avenue, Sacramento
- Frederick N. Evans Memorial Rose Garden, McKinley Park, H Street between Alhambra Boulevard and 33rd Street, Sacramento
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, Bee Biology Road, UC Davis
The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden located on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility was planted in 2009 during the tenure of Lynn Kimsey, then interim chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. A public opening celebration took place Sept. 11, 2010.
A 19-member group of devoted volunteers, led by coordinator Melissa “Missy” (Borel) Gable and team leader Mary Patterson of Davis, kept the garden beautiful. The 19 volunteers chalked up 5,229 hours of service between May 2010 and Feb. 15, 2013. At the $10 minimum wage, that would have amounted to $52,290. The volunteers completed their duties at the haven on Feb. 15.
Gable, former program manager of the California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH) at UC Davis, accepted a position on Feb. 11 as the public engagement manager at the UC Davis Arboretum. While at CCUH, she coordinated the design competition for the haven, helped develop the garden through donations and an outreach program, and recruited and coordinated additional campus programs to add educational and art content to the garden. She worked closely with the volunteer crew, who tended the garden on Friday mornings.
In addition to Gable and Patterson, the gardeners included Randy Beaton, Tyng Tyng Cheng, Judy Hills, Carolyn Hinshaw, Kristen Kolb, Marion London, Kate McDonald, Kathy Olson, Nancy Stone, Janet Thatcher, Laura Westrup, Nyla Wiebe, Gary Zamzow, and Kili Bong and son Evan Marczak, all of Davis, and Laurie Hildebrandt and Joe Frankenfield, Woodland.
Said Mary Patterson: "Since I was a student at UC Davis, I have always enjoyed the Olive Drive part of campus. Working at the Bee Garden was a great opportunity for our gardening group. We worked hard to make a special place for the bees and the community. We hope the garden will continue to thrive."
Carolyn Hinshaw called the experience rewarding and educational: “Several of us started gardening here when the garden was still struggling to get established --so it has been very rewarding and educational to experience its transformation to a plant haven for bees, butterflies and many other insects.”
The gardeners also enjoyed discussing plants and insects with the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty and staff. Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology, monitors the garden and has detected more than 75 species of bees since its inception.
“My time volunteering at the garden was not entirely altruistic,” Laurie Hildebrandt said. “I took away more than I gave. I learned so much about the plants that pollinators adore, and how to care for those plants, by working with smart and friendly people. Plus, a huge bonus to being in the garden on Friday mornings was having the chance to talk with Robbin Thorp and Kathy Keatley Garvey (communications specialist for the Department of Entomology) about bees and the other insects that visit there. I have one hive at home, too, so when I had a potential problem with it, Robbin introduced me to Kim Fondrk in Bee Biology where I was given excellent advice. My time working there resulted in not only helping with garden maintenance for the greater good of the bees but gaining knowledge from amazing gardeners and insect experts.”
Marion London considered working in the garden an honor. “Every time I drove to volunteer at the bee garden I experienced the exhilaration of going into open agricultural space. As a volunteer working in the space that has become a garden, and watching the transformation of this garden area was an honor. The volunteer gardeners worked as a team using their particular knowledge, muscle and wit. Visitors came by as we worked in the bee garden, and appreciated the garden and its purpose.”
Randy Beaton described the volunteer work as cathartic and rewarding. “I started gardening at the Bee Haven in August of 2011 as a newcomer to the area,” she said. “It was so cathartic to find a group of like minded people and get to 'play' at the lovely venue that it helped my transition to California living. The garden is so vital and alive that it's been a pleasure to keep it going and watch it thrive. The proof is there to see and watch as all the bees (more than 75 species), butterflies and birds sample gifts from the garden. It's very rewarding to be able to see the results of our hard work and we learned something new almost every time we were out there. And the gardeners.... It was also fun to work with the group--we chatted about gardening and other things and we laughed a lot so the hard work seemed easy. It was just great to share the work with others who also shared a passion for gardening and pollinators with me! “
Gary Zamzow not only gardened, but was the "resident bumble bee watcher." He continues to capture images of bumble bees and other insects in the garden.
Art in the garden is also big draw. The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, directed by Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, has installed bee art in the garden, including two bee box towers at the entrance; a six-foot long ceramic mosaic bee sculpture by Billick; native bee condos; and ceramic mosaic planters. The work is by students, faculty, staff and area residents.
Ullman is the associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and a professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Billick is a self-described “rock artist” with two degrees from UC Davis.
The fence circling the garden is the Eagle Scout project of Derek Tully of Boy Troop 111, Davis. He planned and built the post-and-rail fence with the help of a 33-member volunteer crew that he organized and supervised. Tully launched the project April 2, 2012 and completed it Sept. 7, 2012.
The financial backing from Häagen-Dazs originated with a news story written by Kathy Keatley Garvey about bee research under way at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. After reading the news story, Häagen-Dazs officials approached the department chair and donated funds for the garden and for the Häagen-Dazs Postdoctoral Scholar, awarded to insect virus researcher Michelle Flenniken. She is now a research assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, Montana State University (MSU), Bozeman.
Häagen-Dazs ice cream initially committed $125,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology for the garden project. This encompassed site planning, preparation and the design competition. Since then, the brand has generously donated more funds. Cagwin & Dorward Landscape Contractors served as the landscape contractors. The list of other donors is at http://beebiology.ucdavis.edu/HAVEN/donors.html.
Winning the international design competition was the Sausalito team of landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki. The blueprint is online at http://beebiology.ucdavis.edu/HAVEN/honeybeehaven.html.
The garden is open from dawn to dusk for self-guided tours. Admission is free. For guided tours, which began March 1, groups and organizations can contact Christine Casey at email@example.com. The fee for the guided tours is $4 per person.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer in the garden can download an application at http://beebiology.ucdavis.edu/HAVEN/index.html. Volunteers must be at least 18, Casey said.
The gardeners at the haven: Front row (from left) Kili Bong, Davis; Tyng Tyng Cheng, Davis; Missy Gable, Davis; Evan Marczak, 6, Davis (son of Kili Bong); Mary Patterson, Davis; Kristen Kolb, Davis, and mascot Olive. In back (from left) are Nancy Stone, Davis; Laurie Hildebrandt, Woodland; Billy Synk, staff associate research associate and beekeeper at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility; Marion London, Davis; Judy Hills, Davis; and Laura Westrup, Davis. Not pictured: Kathy Olson, Nyla Wiebe, Gary Zamzow, Randy Beaton, Janet Thatcher and Kate McDonald, all of Davis, and Joe Frankenfield, Woodland. The haven gardeners are now working at the UC Davis Arboretum at the plant sales nursery, pollinator garden, and at Nature's Gallery. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology