It's a diamond jubilee that can grow on you.
The beloved UC Davis Arboretum celebrates its 75th birthday Saturday with a special plant fair and sale at the campus' arboretum teaching nursery. Gates open at 9 a.m. for members, 11 a.m. for the general public.
Introduced at the sale will be the new "Community Favorites," 75 can't-fail plants grown and recommended by local gardeners as well as arboretum staff and volunteers.
Topping the list of favorites is Pink Gruss an Aachen, a fragrant floribunda rose named by the arboretum as its 2011 All-Star Plant of the Year.
"It's just a wonderful plant," said Ellen Zagory, the arboretum's horticulture director. "It's tough; people don't think of roses as drought-tolerant, but we only irrigate every two weeks and this rose just keeps blooming. I think of it as cast-iron, a plant that will succeed in many different situations."
The Community Favorites follow the Arboretum All-Stars, 100 drought-tolerant, easy-care plants recommended for valley and foothills gardens. Most of the All-Stars will be available at the sale, too.
In addition, the arboretum will offer hundreds of other popular plants, all proven to perform well in the greater Sacramento area.
With more than 1,000 people expected, the sale is short; it closes at 1 p.m. But scores of volunteers should help keep the lines moving. The arboretum teaching nursery is located on Garrod Drive, across from the small animal hospital.
For a map, details and list of available plants, click on http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu or call (530) 752-4880.