Parks and Gardens Featuring California Native Plants

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Where to see native plants

While visiting my daughter in New York City last week I wanted to see habitat or native plant gardens. Though I was not able to find a list of such gardens in the city, I spent time in the native plant garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and on a previous visit I enjoyed The High Line. Both gardens are grand as only NY can be but neither is quite the celebration of native wildlife as we have here in California. The following is a list of botanic gardens, arboretums, parks, nursery gardens, and demonstration gardens that feature native plants. If I have missed any – and I am sure I have – or given incorrect information, please let me know so I can correct the list. A pdf of the list can be found in the How To section of the WeedingWildSuburbia website.

Now my goal is to visit those parks and gardens that I have missed!

Botanic Gardens and Arboretums (Updated: 8/5/2012)
Conejo Valley Botanic Garden
350 Gainsborough Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91358; Phone: (805) 494-7630
collections of native plants, oak trees and water-conserving plants
Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada, CA 91011; Phone: (818) 952-4400

native plant section
Fullerton Arboretum
California State University, Fullerton, CA 92634; Phone: (714) 733-3579

Mediterranean section with plants of coastal sage scrub and chaparral communities
Leaning Pine Arboretum
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407; Phone: (805) 756-2161

against the hills at the north end of campus
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Palo Verde Garden Center & Wortz Demonstration Garden
47-900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260; Phone: (760) 346-5694

desert plantings
Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden
301 N. Baldwin Ave. Arcadia, CA 91007; Phone: (626) 821-3222

Sunset Demo. Garden with California native plant garden; old stand of Engelmann oaks
Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden
1236 N. Peck Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266; Phone: (310) 546-1354

drought tolerant garden featuring low-water use and California native plants
Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden
UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024; Phone: (213) 825-3620

coastal sage scrub, Channel Islands and chaparral communities
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 N. College Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711; Phone: (909) 625-8767

devoted to the collection, cultivation, study, and display of California native plants
San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanical Garden)
230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024; Phone: (760) 436-3036

native plant and ethnobotanic garden; natural coastal habitat sections
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93105; Phone: (805) 563-2521

fostering stewardship of the natural world with emphasis on California native plants
University of California Riverside Botanic Gardens
Univ. of Calif. Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521; Phone: (909) 784-6962 or 787-4650

southwestern desert and Sierran foothills sections

Nursery Gardens
Grow Native NurseryClaremont West LA (Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden)
Claremont:1500 N. College Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711
Ph: (909) 625-8767 ext 404; Website: (Closed 5/28 – 11/2/12)
West LA: VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System, Davis Ave & Constitution Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90049; Phone: (424) 234-0481
Las Pilitas Nursery
8331 Nelson Way, Escondido, CA 92026; Phone: (760) 749-5930
Theodore Payne Foundation
10459 Tuxford St., Sunland, CA 91352-2116; Phone: (818) 768-1802

demonstration garden areas, a wildflower nature trail, and natural canyon areas
Tree of Life Nursery
33201 Ortega Highway, P.O. Box 635, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693; Ph: (949) 728-0685

straw bale retail bookstore, nursery landscaped with native plants

Habitat and Demonstration Gardens, Parks, Nature Centers
Alondra Park Island Native Plant Garden
3850 W. Manhattan Beach Blvd, Lawndale, CA 90260; Phone: (310) 217-8366

native plant garden started in 1998 by faculty from El Camino College
Arlington Garden
275 Arlington Drive, Pasadena, CA 91105 Phone: (626) 441-4478

drought resistant plants including desert and chaparral gardens
Arroyo Seco-South Pasadena Woodland and Wildlife Park (Friends of the Nature Park)
100 block of Pasadena Avenue (east of York Blvd. Bridge), South Pasadena, CA 91030
Phone: (626) 799-8048

3-acre wildlife park: coastal sage scrub and walnut, sycamore, oak woodland
Audubon Center at Debs Park
4700 North Griffin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90031; Phone: (323) 221-2255

walnut savannah, oak-walnut-toyon woodland, and coastal sage scrub
Charmlee Wilderness Park
2577 S. Encinal Canyon Road, Malibu, CA 90265-2411; Phone: (310) 457-7247

native plant displays and a butterfly garden
Chino Basin Water Conservation District Demo Garden
4594 San Bernardino St, Montclair, CA 91763-2228; Phone: (909) 626-2711

drought resistant plants including desert and chaparral gardens
Columbia School Joint Use Park
12400 Columbia Way, Downey, CA 90242

school greening project, native plants surround a new DG walking & running track and a cluster outdoor exercise equipment (Amigos de los Rios, Emerald Necklace park for El Monte School District)
Columbia Memorial Space Center
3400 N. California Ave, El Monte CA 91731; Phone: (562) 231-1200

small native plant garden on grounds of museum (no mention of it on web)
Downtown Gateway Park
11333 Valley Blvd, El Monte, CA 91731

pocket park that enables community access to the Emerald Necklace Trail along a major arterial road and celebrates local veterans’ service to our country (Amigos de los Rios, Emerald Necklace park)
Durfee-Thompson School
12233 Star St, El Monte, CA 91732

landscaped trail wrapped around se corner of schoolyard features outdoor classroom and nature trail (Amigos de los Rios, Emerald Necklace park)
E. Rowley Demonstration Gardens
4594 San Bernardino St., Montclair, CA 91763; Phone: (909) 626-2711

chaparral, desert and riparian sections
Eaton Canyon County Park
1750 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena, CA 91107; Phone: (626) 398-5420

coastal sage scrub, bird and butterfly, wildflower gardens in a foothill setting
El Alisal, the Lummis Home
200 South Avenue 43, Los Angeles, CA 90042; Phone: (323) 222-0546

low water use garden, offering a display of native and Mediterranean plants
El Dorado Nature Center
7550 E. Spring St, Long Beach CA 90815; Phone: (562) 570-1745

105-acres of natural habitat; trails along lakes, streams and forested areas; visitor center
Encanto Park Bioswale & Outdoor Classroom
751 Encanto Parkway, Duarte, CA 91010

Bioswale and trail with native plantings on west side of San Gabriel River. Part of Emerald Necklace Green Infrastruction Park Network
Environmental Nature Center
1601 16th Street, Newport Beach, CA 92663; Phone: (949) 645-8489

3.5 acre nature center representing 15 plant communities, LEED environmental center, programs for kids and adults, butterfly garden
Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve
1200 West 170th Street, Gardena, CA 90247 ; Phone: (310) 217-0681

entrance to the preserve is in Arthur Johnson Park, formerly South Gardena Park, between Normandie and Vermont, one block north of Artesia Blvd. 
Gibson Mariposa Park
4140 Gibson Road, El Monte, CA 91731

4.3 acre butterfly-themed park featuring splash pad, recreational facilities, native plants and environmentally friendly landscaping, opened 3/2012 (Amigos de los Rios, Emerald Necklace park)
Golden West College California Native Garden
Golden West College, Huntington Beach, CA 92647; Phone: (714) 892-7711 ext. 52181

foothill woodland, redwood forest, oak woodland, chaparral, coastal sage scrub, mixed evergreen forest, Channel Islands and grassland native plants

450 Alessandro Blvd., Riverside, CA 92508; Phone: (909) 780-4170
one-acre water conservation demo garden by Western Municipal Water District

Lashbrook Park
3141 Lashbrook Ave, El Monte, CA 91733; Phone: (626) 580-2200

1.8 acre habitat park along south bank of the Rio Hondo River; native plantings, interpretive signage, exercise and play equipment, picnic areas (Amigos de los Rios, Emerald Necklace park)

3201 Plaza del Amo, Torrance, CA 90503; Phone: (310) 782-3989
vernal marsh, wetlands area, nature center

5131 Carmelian Street, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91701; Phone: (909) 980-0412

six acre, low-water use, home garden with many native plants

1200 West 170th Street, Gardena, CA 90247; Email:

water-wise demonstration garden located in Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve, opened June 2012, informative website
Peck Road Water Conservation Park
5401 N. Peck Road, Arcadia, CA 91006; Phone: (626) 334-1065

6201 Winnetka Ave, Woodland Hills, CA 91371; Phone: (818) 719-6465
small garden featuring California, S. African and Australian mediterranean plants

Point Vicente Interpretive Center
31501 Palos Verdes Drive West, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275; Phone: (310) 377-5370

small native plant garden maintained by South Coast Chapter of CNPS

Prisk Elementary School, 2375 Fanwood Ave, Long Beach, CA 90815
Facebook Page:
school habitat garden featuring native plant communities including coastal strand, coastal sage, chaparral, Channel Island, desert wash, freshwater marsh

Arroyo Pescadero, Colima Road, Whittier, CA 90602; Phone: (562) 945-9003

coastal sage scrub and chaparral
Rio Vista Park & Trail
4275 Ranger Ave, El Monte, CA 91732; Phone: (626) 580-2200
native plant area surrounding Tongva and Barrio History Interpretive Elements

San Gabriel Canyon Forest Gateway (USFS Office)
1960 N. San Gabriel Ave (Hwy 39), Azusa, CA 91702; Phone: (626) 969-1012

2.5 acre pocket park and interpretive center (Amigos de los Rios, Emerald Necklace park)

17851 Goldenwest St. (south of Slater Ave) Huntington Beach, CA 92647; Ph: (714) 842-4772

18-acre natural sanctuary for local wildlife and haven for visitors
TreePeople, Coldwater Canyon Park
12601 Mulholland Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210; Phone: (818) 753-4600

trails in City of LA Park at headquarters of environmental organization, TreePeople; includes La Kretz Urban Watershed Garden
Valley Park, Hermosa Beach (Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden)
2521 Valley Drive, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254; Phone: (310) 318-0280
native plant garden planted by the Hermosa Beach Garden Club

700 Washington Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

city park with mature native plantings
The Water Conservation Garden

12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West, El Cajon, CA92019; Phone: (619) 660-0614
4.2 acre, low-water use garden featuring Mediterranean plants and a few natives


15 thoughts on “Parks and Gardens Featuring California Native Plants

  1. Outstanding list, Barbara. Would like to suggest a little addition. There is a lovely little native plants garden at Point Vincente Interpretive Center that is maintained by South Coast Chapter, CNPS. The site underwent hazardous materials clean up several years ago and was replanted. It's a wonderful place to visit on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Location info at this link: http://

  2. Thanks, Janis. I will add it to the lists. I will be giving a talk for CNPS – SC chapter next month and will be sure to leave enough time to visit the park before it.

  3. Anonymous

    There is also a Small California native/Mediterranean/xeric botanical garden at Pierce College in Woodland Hills.

  4. Bryan Matsumoto

    Great list Barbara! Makes a fun checklist for trips. Make sure to add a new one to your list, Encanto Park in Duarte – with an all native redesign just opened in Dec. 2010. The plants are big and full already! Features a lovely boulder-strewn bioswale with heron sculptures, interpretive signage and plantings representing Coast Live Oak Woodland and Southern Sycamore Riparian habitats. Stepping

  5. Thank you all for your suggestions. I will add them to the list next week – to minimize updates. I will continue to add new parks and gardens every few weeks as they come in. It should grow into quite a big list!!!

  6. Wow its a very good post. The information provided by you is really very good and helpful for me. Keep sharing good information..

  7. Bryan. Just updating the park list. Encanto Park doesn&#39;t have much of a web presence. Even the city website doesn&#39;t give it much! Thanks for the links. <br /><br />Looking forward to seeing this park and the many others I am learning about.

  8. Barbara, just remembered that little native garden we visited behind Downey Space Center after you gave your talk at Council for Watershed Health seminar last year. Nothing about the garden online, but here is Space center website:

  9. Thanks Janis. Will include it on the next go round – which will be soon. And thanks for the helpful link.

  10. Very cool. I was wondering when someone would do this. I started putting together a Google Map of naive plant gardens and areas in the LA area. <br /><br />;msa=0

  11. Just saw some lovely Native Plants at TreePeople. Coldwater Cyn at Mullholland.<br />Thank you for this list!

  12. Ita

    Barbara, thanks for a wonderful, comprehensive, informative article!!! I hadn&#39;t realized there were so many and will put them on my &quot;must visit&quot; list.<br /><br />Keithdude – thanks for the wonderful map. So handy!

  13. I must have missed this post earlier. <br /><br />Valley Park in Hermosa Beach has (had) a native plant garden in honor of Theodore Payne, established in 1966. I believe it is greatly diminished, but undergoing restoration / renovation by a local garden club.<br /><br />There are open space areas in Palos Verdes where native plants can be seen au naturel. One of the easiest to access is George

  14. Thanks, Brent. Will add your suggestions to the list.

  15. Finally had a chance to take a look at the google map list of native gardens that Keith posted. Awesome! Thank you, Keith. There are several that I will add to my list. Do you think we could open this up so people could add to the list independently? I&#39;m thinking this way it could really grow. Thoughts, Keith?

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