Image of the entry to the UC Davis Gorman Museum of Native American Art.
Entry to the Gorman Museum of Native American Art features a white pavilion sculpture designed by Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, museum director and professor in the UC Davis Department of Native American Studies. (Anjie Cook/UC Davis)

Students Design Garden for Gorman Museum of Native American Art

In a harmonious blend of culture, conservation, and creativity, students from the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden's Learning by Leading™ Sustainable Horticulture program designed a new garden slated for installation fall quarter outside the newly opened Gorman Museum of Native American Art.

Artistic renderings of garden design showing triangular patterns.
The garden design, created by our Learning by Leading Sustainable Horticulture team mimics the triangular pattern of the museum's entry pavilion.

The garden, which promises to be a unique addition to the UC Davis campus, will celebrate the rich cultural heritage of native plants with an emphasis on biodiversity, water conservation, and indigenous traditions. Taking inspiration from the Gorman Museum's new entry-way, created by the artist Tsinhnahjinnie and based on Native American basketry, students plan to echo the motif in the garden's layout, creating a sense of continuity and synergy with the museum's architecture.

One of the standout features of this garden is the inclusion of culturally significant plants. Among these is white sage (Salvia apiana), a plant revered for its spiritual and medicinal properties by many indigenous communities, plants traditionally used for basket making, such as deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens) and Western redbud (Cercis canadensis).

The edges of the garden will soon be a vibrant tapestry of colors and textures, with a focus on low-water perennials and California native plants. Among the many seasonal blossoms, visitors can expect to see yarrow (Achillea millefolium), California poppies (Eschscholzia californica), and lupine (Lupinus spp.). The color will not only be visually stunning, but also provide essential habitat for local wildlife.

The Learning by Leading Sustainable Horticulture team, led by Terilyn Wong and Miguel Moran Cepeda, together with our staff, plan to complete the project fall quarter 2023.

Download the current plant list complete with images.

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