UC MG Outreach: Willows Eco Gardens
UC Davis All-Stars Bloom at the Willows
The UC Davis All-Stars have come to town! The Willows Shopping Center in Concord is the venue where the All-Stars will perform 24/7 year round in planters and landscape surrounding the shops and parking areas. The gala Open House was held on Saturday, September 25, 2010. Admission to see the All-Stars in action is free of charge.
While that sounds like hype for an athletic contest, it actually announces the completion of a project between the management of the Willows Shopping Center, the UC Davis Arboretum, and the California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH). Completely new landscaping at the shopping center features a selection of the UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars, 100 tough, reliable, and eco-friendly plants that California home gardeners can use to enhance the beauty and sustainability of their gardens.
UC Master Gardener volunteers from Contra Costa were on hand at the Open House to assist and educate Willows visitors on sustainability issues. They provided a brief talk on UC Master Gardener services available to county residents, answered questions at the UC Davis IPM kiosk, staffed a “Help Desk” table, and explained the site’s compost bin.
There was also a sale consisting of plants provided by UC Davis Arboretum that are featured in the garden. *file48078* The 100 All-Stars included a variety of Mediterranean climate plants, with a large selection of California natives such as Achillea millefolium ‘Island Pink’—Island Pink yarrow and Heuchera ‘Rosada’—Rosada coral bells.*file48079*
Other All-Stars come from Mexico, the Mediterranean basin and Argentina.
To qualify as a UC Davis All-Star, a plant must have three features: attractive most of the year, thrives in California’s Mediterranean climate, and tested at the UC Davis Arboretum. In addition, many have one or more of the following features: low maintenance, drought tolerance, attractive to beneficial wildlife (which includes pollinator insects), and “power line friendly.” About 50 species are represented in the Willows landscape.