- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
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...