Arboretum Gateway Garden
UC Davis Arboretum, Davis, CA
Landscape Architect: Ron Lutsko Jr.
The Arboretum GATEway Garden at UC Davis is a living museum that provides an immersive experience of the lost landscapes of the California Central Valley. The garden exposes visitors to the rare beauty of native Central Valley grasslands as well as the engineered mechanizations of their displacement that have created the nation's most intensely productive agricultural region. Exemplifying a new approach to a botanical collection, the garden offers a model for sustainable practices within today's engineered landscape. Mass plantings make legible nuanced differences in color and texture from species to species as functions of subtle topographical shifts. Demonstration plantings offer lessons in the historic flora, fauna and hydrology of the local lower Putah Creek watershed, the human history on the site, UC Davis research, and contemporary philosophies on land management and community-based stewardship. The grassland garden evokes a pre-industrial local ecology while exemplifying a 21st century green infrastructure ethos.