This forty-year retrospective of the UCSC Arboretum's development and growth is based on an exhibit at the Arboretum that opened in Fall, 2005; events that have taken place since that time are not reflected this retrospective.

 A history of the Arboretum

Getting started . . . (part 2)

Brett Hall photo

Brett Hall started as a student
worker in 1975. He is now the Director of the Arboretum. (1985 photo)

All this was accomplished — paths, roads, and buildings — with little funding and lots of back-breaking labor. The initial irrigation system was a pipe hooked to the Chancellor's backyard (at University House). Student volunteers helped erect a tool shed and other physical features. The entry and boulders for the early Mediterranean garden were pushed into place. Water pipes were laid. And all the while, plants were going into in their beds.

plant nursery photo

Before 1976, young starts were
nursed under bottles with
their bottoms cut out


Early work on the Australian garden


Alogyne hueglii blooms as the Australian
garden is cultivated (1976)


Funding was the responsibility of the Chancellor's office-and there was lots of creativity. Instead of hiring a full-time employee, the Arboretum spent money on a part-time groundskeeper and a handful of part-time students. Collett received only a small stipend to serve as Director. He also carried a full teaching load as a professor of Natural Sciences and taught courses in other divisions. Still, with the interest and enthusiasm of supporters, Collett continued to expand the collections.

Slossen garden photo

Moving earth for the Elvinia J. Slossen Garden (1978)


Newly planted Australian garden in bloom (1979)