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

History of the collections

The collections are a treasure trove of plants of unusual aesthetic, instructional, or research value. The staff of the Arboretum has been as much of a treasure as the plants, ably nurturing rare and difficult specimens through the vagaries of cultivation and tough conditions such as the recent frost of December 1998. The achievements are many because the Arboretum staff has always been ambitious and adventurous in its collections. Fortunately, the staff has been matched by equally supportive donors, volunteers and friends.

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Eucalyptus (original eucalyptus
grove in the background.)

Eucalyptus Grove
· Summer 1965: Plants put in the area near the intersection of Western Drive and Empire Grade from specimens donated by Max Watson in 1964. Other trees grow from seed collected in the wild.
· 1970: Emil Schmidt does a survey of the grove and writes, "…almost a 160 trees…divided between 56 varieties. The size runs the gamut…the tall single stemmed straight shafted Propinquas…the airy foliage of the Sideroxylon roseas….the Macarthurii, which puts on quite a show…I had never been intimate with this species before…I get carried away."

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Deodar cedars, the first
conifers planted at the Arboretum.

 

Conifers
· 1967: Earliest plantings run parallel to Empire Grade. Some of the original deodar cedars donated by Robert Burton are still visible near the Barn at the main campus entrance.
· Present: Collection contains representatives of all but four of the the world's known genera of conifers. Some are extremely rare, such as the Dacrydium guillaumanii, and some interesting genera such as Araucaria and Phyllocladus.

 
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The Frost Hollow
(December, 1979)

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Killing frosts recur about every 10 years
(December, 1978)

 
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Ron Arruda, curator of the
South African collection

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Walter Middleman, a South African,
provided the seeds for
the Erica collection

South African
· Fall 1972: Just before the "Great Freeze" of December 1972, Collett begins planting the proteas. They survive, barely.
· 1970 to 1990: The collection develops until is becomes among the finest in the world. Strong ties to Ruth and Walter Middleman, renowned protea growers, Stellenbosch University, and Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden in the Cape Province provide invaluable resources for the collection.
· November 1990: South African area is named the Dean and Jane McHenry Garden, consisting of Protea, Leucadendron, Leucospermum, and Erica species.
· December 1990 and 1998: Hard frosts damage collection.
· 2000: Restio Family is added and the collection takes on the natural look of a "fynbos" landscape.

 
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Gwen and Roger Elliot,
recognized internationally for their
work on Australian Plants

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Melinda Kralj, curator of
the Australian collection

Australian
· Early 1970s: Collett and Dick Hildreth, Director of the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation, import plants from Rodger and Gwen Elliot of Melbourne, Australia.
· 1976-77: Grevilleas are planted on "Old Grevillea Hill".
· February 1977: Collett makes first of many trips to Australia to collect plants.
· July 1977: Elvenia J. Slosson gives the first Slosson Foundation Grant. Collection is named the Slosson Gardens. The Slosson Foundation continues to support the research gardens today.
· 1980s: Collett conducts hybridization in Correa, Leptospermum, and Alyogyne. Many choice selections emerge and the introduction of prized cultivars becomes an Arboretum practice.
· 1984-86. "The Banksia Field" extends the collection to the eastern boundary of the Arboretum.
· 1990-98: USDA issues special permit to the Arboretum to import from Australia members of the Citrus Family, Rutaceae (Correa, Boronia, Crowea, Flindersia, Zieria, etc.)

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Tom Sauceda, curator of
the New Zealand collection

New Zealand
· September 1974-June 1975: Todd and Virginia Keeler-Wolf, graduates of UCSC in Natural History, with guidance from Collett, collect and ship primitive angiosperms and South Pacific conifers to the Arboretum. These specimens flourish, forming the core of the New Zealand garden. They also provided plants from Australia and New Caledonia for those collections.
· 1981: Ed Landels makes first of many gifts for the New Zealand garden.
· 1984: The collection is officially named the Edward D. Landels New Zealand Garden.
· 1986: Harry O. Warren bequeaths the South Pacific/New Zealand Endowment.

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Stephen McCabe, curator of
the Succulent collection

Cacti and Succulents
· 1985: The succulent collection is established based on early donations from Naomi Bloss, Victor Reiter Jr., Jim Daniel, Jack Napton, and Stephen McCabe. It has grown to become one of the largest collections in term of numbers of individual plants and numbers of different accessions.
· 1989: Others instrumental in establishing the garden include the Monterey Bay Area Cactus and Succulent Society, Carla Reiter, wife of the late Victor Reiter, the Cactus and Succulent Society of San Jose and the Hardman Foundation. The Arboretum now has the largest collection of Dudleya in the world.
· 1999: Bob and Margaret Grim donate their Echeveria hybrids and many cacti specimens.

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Ric Flores, curator of
the California collection

California Natives
· Natives are at the heart of the site. There are two areas set aside for this collection: the Entrance Native Garden, roughly 1.5 acres located at the entrance and the California Province Gardens, 50 acres located in the northwestern part of the Arboretum.
· 1978: In cooperation with local native plant enthusiasts, a "Natives Come First" display is established near the entrance to promote interest in native flora.
· 1979: Specimens from Santa Cruz Island, the Central and South Coast Ranges, North Coast and Klamath Ranges are collected.
· 1985: Institute of Museum Sciences funds the development of Entrance Native Garden. Arboretum staff continue to collect and cultivate specimens.
· 1988: Arboretum and the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve begin to collaborate on managing the Lower Moore Creek section of the Reserve. This is the largest parcel in what is now called the California Province Gardens.
· 1993: A small grant helps enhance the special Native Bulb Collection, which include Calochortus, Triteleia, and Fritillaria, among others.

 
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Todd and Virginia Keeler-Wolf,
plant hunters for the early collections

Special collections
· 1980: An award from Institute of Museum Services for conservation of endangered flora of New Caledonia enables more collection from South Pacific.
· 1986-89: Rare Fruit Collection is initiated by the Monterey Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers.
· 1999: The Arboretum credited with being the only place that cultivates one of the oldest flowering plants in the world. DNA analysis places one of the New Caledonia endemics, Amborella trichopoda, at the base of the evolutionary tree of angiosperms--a direct descendant of the forerunner to all angiosperms.