Arboretum Plant Sale on Oct. 22: Yes, There's Life After Lawn

Oct 21, 2016

Is there life after lawn? Yes.

If you're looking for plants to attract pollinators, including bees and butterflies, then the UC Davis Arboretum's Plant Sale on Saturday, Oct. 22 is the place to "bee."

A public fall clearance sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive, UC Davis campus. It will feature a "wide selection of Arboretum All-Stars, California natives, and gorgeous drought-tolerant plants," officials said. Members (new members can join at the door) save 10 percent and also reap other benefits.

The sale will include more than 16,500 plants and more than 450 varieties.

Will they have milkweed? Yes.

"It looks like we'll have plenty of milkweed, two varieties--Kotolo (Asclepias eriocarpa) and showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)," said Katie Hetrick, director of communications.

Will they have butterfly bush (Buddleia)? Yes.

"We have a ton of Buddleia," said Hetrick, mentioning just a few: Magenta Munchkin, Dark Dynasty, Buzz, Orchid Annie, Purple Haze, Lavender Cupcake--and "The Chips": Lilac Chip, Pink Micro Chip, and Blue Chip Jr.

"And let's not forget all the Salvias!" Hetrick said. "Those are a nectar fave with pollinators including butterflies, bees and hummingbirds!" Among the Salvias on sale: Bee's Bliss, Pacific Blue, Marine Blue, Pozo Blue, Debbie's Rose, Little Kiss, Red Swing, Violet Riot, Royal Bumble, Hot Lips, and Scott's Red.

Taylor Lewis, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden Nursery Manager, related that pipevine, the host plant of the pipevine swallowtail butterfly (Battus philenor), will be available.

Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture, listed some of her favorite sunflower family plants that attendees can buy:

  • Aster 'Monch'
  • Coreopsis, 'Little Penny'
  • Coreopsis, 'Enchanted Eve'
  • Coreopsis, 'Red Elf'
  • Echibeckia, 'Summerina Brown'
  • And lots of Echinacea (cone flowers)

For a full list of the plants available, download the PDF. 

And, it's interesting to see what folks in the area have planted instead of lawns. The Aboretum's web page offers great ideas.

Do you know how much acres in the United States are planted in lawn? Huffington Post reports in a 2015 news story: "According to a new study from NASA scientists in collaboration with researchers in the Mountain West, there is now an estimated total of 163,812 square kilometers, or more than 63,000 square miles, of lawn in America — about the size of Texas."

All that manicuring, all that water, all that work. And little or no food or shelter for the pollinators.

Every well-manicured lawn "uses up to 900 liters of water per person per day and reduces sequestration effectiveness by up to 35 percent by adding emissions from fertilization and the operation of mowing equipment," Huffington Post says.

Indeed, lawn is our nation's single largest "crop."

But it doesn't have to be. There IS life after lawn. And there is MORE life after lawn.