The University of California, Irvine's Arboretum has evolved and will see many exciting improvements during the coming months. The new role in the Ayala School of Biological Sciences and mission emphasis will be upon encouraging and assisting teaching and research. Although the facility will be closed to unscheduled public visitation, there will be an open house each quarter at which there will be public Arboretum and Marsh Tours, and during which researchers using the Arboretum will showcase their studies and research sites for the public. These events will be well publicized, posted on our website, and will be held during times of peak flowering in various of our exhibits, particularly the South African Bulb Garden and aloe exhibits.

South African Bulb Garden

At present, there are 976 taxa (species, subspecies, and varieties in this collection. The Iris family is particularly well represented among bulbous South African plants. In the past most of this collection was grown in pots in the cloth houses for purposes of propagation. This was to protect bulbs from marauding ground squirrels and rabbits (you may notice large numbers of ground squirrels during the day; at night, the Arboretum supports a large number of rabbits). The new bulb garden was designed to display these plants to the public in a garden setting. Approximately 500 taxa from the Cape region of South Africa have been planted in the garden. The peak of flowering for South African bulbs is in March, although a few species will flower at other times of the year. We hope that as visitors see how these plants can be incorporated into the landscape, the public will become more interested in growing them, and more concerned about their conservation.