In June of 2009, we were married at the Putah Creek Lodge in the Arboretum. We had the ceremony under the large oak tree in the meadow behind the Lodge and the reception on the patio. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day and place; the grass was green, the trees were full, and all the flowers were blooming. It was beautiful. We both grew up here and have spent a lot of time in the Arboretum and getting married there seemed like the perfect way to celebrate the Arboretum and our love. Thank you for letting us enjoy it!
Sule & Aubrey Suleiman
When I entered UC Davis as a freshman in 1939, Putah Creek was lined with cottonwood trees where it crossed the campus. There was discussion about developing an Arboretum and I believe a few plants had been set out near the A Street bridge.
The winter of 1939-40 was very wet, with some flooding on the campus. On Leap Year day of 1940 no classes were scheduled so a campus Labor Day was held. The student body assembled to work at assigned tasks. The men were to clear Putah Creek of the trash left by flooding. I took some snapshots with my Brownie box camera showing some of the guys working. Many years later I gave those photos to Warren Roberts for the Arboretum archives. Other tasks included laying water lines to the football field, and the coeds fixed and served picnic lunch on the Quad for the hungry workers. Quite a day!
With encouragement and participation of the Botany department and campus staff, design planning and planting continued along the creek banks. The early plantings were behind the campus firehouse, where there was access to water for irrigation. There was question whether coast redwood trees would survive in the heat of the Central Valley, and Dr. Elliott Weier was interested to test that case, so seedlings were propagated and planted. Unfortunately, during the Army occupation of the campus from 1942 to 1945, the Arboretum area was neglected and most of the new plantings died. Planting and care started again when the campus was returned to the university.
So when you admire the handsome redwoods and enjoy their cool shade on a hot day, you can appreciate the tenacity of the people and the plants that represent the beginnings of the Arboretum.
You can tell that I have deep personal ties to the Arboretum.
Lois Weston Weeth, BS 1943
Former UC Regent
One evening on an adventure to tour the Storer Garden to get plant ideas, my husband and I saw a camel being led! We did a double take—the camel being eight feet tall—and it really was a camel! Only in Davis would you see a camel in the Arboretum!
—Nancy Foster, Arboretum volunteer
Chuck Foster (Nancy’s husband) adds: I was there when we were in the Storer Garden and saw the camel on June 12, 2009. I joined Warren Roberts for a “Walk with Warren” three weeks later and mentioned the camel sighting. He too had seen the camel and had checked with the Vet School to see if they knew anything about it. Warren said they told him that the camel had had surgery and was recovering when we saw it walking just west of Storer.
The Arboretum has always been a magical place for our family, filled with fond memories starting back in our beginning days of dating and courtship as students here at UC Davis in the mid 70′s. The love of my life and I would often picnic by “The Duck Ponds” near Mrak Hall. We even contemplated a simple outdoor wedding at the Wyatt Deck as it is now called. However, in those early days, it was not so quaintly named! We searched the campus map back then to find the location for tentative wedding invitation information, only to find that our lovely deck area by Spafford Lake was called “The Snack Shack” in reference to the snack bar there in olden times! We had to laugh and decided that perhaps the name took away from the romantic nature of our plans, though fitting for my love and enjoyment of food!
Following a more traditional church wedding, many delightful family picnics continued through the years, bringing children and friends to the Arboretum to share the ponds and the ducks and the funny story of wanting to marry at The Snack Shack! Thank you for all the beautiful memories, dear Friends of the Arboretum!
Awhile back I went to UC Davis for the Arboretum plant sale. After I was done shopping I took a long walk along the Arboretum creek; a ‘Zen’ walk. I found a new plant on my walk: Leucophyllum frustescens. BEAUTIFUL! It was so beautiful I had to go back to the sale and make my second purchase of the day.