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Public Gardens of Native Plants

Visit these gardens any time that they're open (please check websites for hours).
West Valley College. 14000 Fruitvale Avenue, Saratoga. California native plants dominate the grounds at the West Valley College campus in Saratoga.
NATIVE HILL AT FOOTHILL COLLEGE. Foothill College, 12345 Moody Road, Los Altos Hills. Begun in 1982 by former faculty member Robert Will as a teaching aid for students, this small patch of land has grown under CNPS member Ellie Gioumousis's care to house 170 species within one acre of land. It is the best demonstration garden of California native plants in the South Bay. It was slated to be paved over in 2000, but an outpouring of public support has spared its life ... so far.  
CHEESEMAN ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY AREA.  De Anza College, corner of Stelling & McLellan (inside the campus), Cupertino. Over 300 species of native plants representing 12 natural communities.  
DUNCAN HALL BOTANICAL & HABITAT GARDEN. San Jose State University, San Salvador St (near 4th St), San Jose. Planted in the mid-1980s, this 4,000 sq.ft. area is landscaped with natives such as lemonade berry, Brewer's saltbush, spice bush, coffeeberry, and toyon, and home to a variety of species of birds, bees, squirrels, and lizards. It is maintained by the Natural History Club.  
MISSION COLLEGE. 3000 Mission College Boulevard, Santa Clara. New plantings of natives.  
A CALIFORNIA NATIVE GARDEN AT STANFORD. Stanford University, Palo Alto. Designed by Meg Webster and installed in 2002, this garden replaced a lawn that was surrounded by redwoods, giant sequoias and coast live oaks.  
CHERRY CHASE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.  1138 Heatherstone Way, Sunnyvale. (408) 522-8241. A small native plant garden is located on a piece of land right next to the street.  
PETERSON NATURAL AREA.  A 2-acre site planted in 1970 with native plants from eight biotic communities. Peterson Middle School, 1380 Rosalia Way, Sunnyvale. Bryan Osborne 408-736-1402 or 408-720-6540 ex 3335.  
HACIENDA ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE MAGNET SCHOOL. A 1-acre site planted in 1971, contains redwood forest, oak woodland, chaparral, grassland, streamside and pond habitats. Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet School, 1290 Kimberly Drive, San Jose.  
OVERFELT GARDENS, Educational Park Drive (at McKee), San Jose. A section of this city park called "California Wild" is devoted to California natives.  
ULISTAC NATURAL AREA,  Lick Mill Boulevard, Santa Clara. A 40-acre site saved from development and in the long, slow process of restoration.  
STEVENS CREEK TRAIL, Mountain View. New landscaping is all natives. Plants include ceanothus, iris, fremontodendrons, elderberry, sages, native roses, buckeye, alder, and sycamore. Landscaping starts at La Avenida (off Shoreline, where there's a trailhead), then follows Stevens Creek for about a mile south to Central  Expressway.  
HILLSBOROUGH WATER CONSERVATION PARK, El Camino Real at Floribunda, Hillsborough. Mixed planting of drought tolerant species includes many California natives.  
WOODSIDE LIBRARY GARDEN,  3140 Woodside Road, Woodside. The garden (in the back of the library) is composed entirely of California native plants. It is open to the public during library hours: Mon-Thu 11-7; Fri-Sat 11-5. It is maintained by the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club. There is a brochure with a map of the different plants.  
Nursery Demonstration Gardens
LARNER SEEDS DEMONSTRATION GARDEN.  A 1-acre site planted in 1980 with plants from several biotic communities. Definitely worth a visit. 235 Grove Road, Bolinas. Tue, Thu 10-2, Sat 12-4.  
REGIONAL PARKS BOTANIC GARDEN.  Tilden Park, Berkeley. The largest collection of California native plants, with plenty to excite the native gardener.  
STRYBING ARBORETUM,  Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Contains a section devoted to California natives, the Arthur Menzies Native Garden.  
UC BERKELEY BOTANIC GARDEN,  Strawberry Canyon, Berkeley. 200 Centennial Drive, #5045, Berkeley, CA 94720. (510) 642-0849. 13 acres of California natives.  
UC SANTA CRUZ ARBORETUM, Empire Grade, UCSC Campus, Santa Cruz. Large sections devoted to plants from California, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, and a "Natives Come First" Garden.  
PACIFIC GROVE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY,  165 Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950. (408) 648-3116. Winter home of migrating monarch butterflies.  
800 Asilomar Boulevard, Pacific Grove, CA 93950. (831) 372-8016. Worth a visit for the dune restoration project. The plant nursery includes a 960 square-foot greenhouse, which grows more than 400,000 plants, representing 25 native species for transplantation on the grounds.
PORTOLA VALLEY TOWN CENTER,  765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Native garden next to the Historic Schoolhouse.  
This page compiled by Arvind Kumar with input from Bracey Tiede, Tanya Kucak, and Wendy Winkler. Send your comments and suggestions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
All photos © Arvind Kumar
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