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Public Gardens of Native Plants

These gardens provide opportunities to see a wide variety of native plants throughout the year. 

Parks, Arboreta and Public Gardens

Jeffrey Fontana Park, intersection of Meridian Ave and Oakglen Way, San Jose. Across the street from 1278 Oakglen Way, San Jose. A beautiful selection of mature and new native plant gardens. Many of the plants are labelled.

Capitancillos Drive Native Plant Demonstration Garden, intersection of Capitancillos Drive and Oak Canyon Place. Extensive collection of chaparral shrubs and plants. Plants are labelled.

Ulistac Natural Area, Lick Mill Boulevard, Santa Clara. This 40-acre site was saved from development in 2001 and is the only dedicated natural open space in the City of Santa Clara.

Berger Native Demonstration Garden, 1553 Berger Drive, San Jose, CA 95112. The always-open Berger Native Demonstration Garden showcases a range of drought-tolerant California native plants. It's a great example of what a lawn-replacement project might look like. The garden was created in Fall 2013. 

Master Gardeners Parcel at Martial Cottle Park, , 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose, CA 95136. This 4 acre parcel includes a a thriving Native Garden.

Master Gardeners Palo Alto Demo Garden, 851 Center Dr, Palo Alto, CA 94301 (Eleanor Pardee Park). The Water Wise Garden (always open to the public) includes many California native plants.

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.

Portola Valley Town Center, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Native garden next to the Historic Schoolhouse.

Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley Street, Palo Alto CA 94301. This garden includes a .3 acre parcel that features water-wise California Native Plants, including many Pacific Coast Iris hybrids that bloom in late winter.

Centennial 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.

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.

Overfelt Gardens, Educational Park Drive (at McKee), San Jose. A section of this city park called "California Wild" is devoted to California natives.

Colleges

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 grew under CNPS member Ellie Gioumousis's care to house 170 species within one acre of land.  It was slated to be paved over in 2000, but an outpouring of public support spared it.

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.

Schools

Gardens associated with schools may not be open to the public. Please contact the school for information about visiting.

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.

Osborne Nature Area at Peterson. A 2-acre site planted in 1970 with native plants from eight biotic communities. Peterson Middle School, 1380 Rosalia Way, Sunnyvale. 

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.

Others (outside Santa Clara Valley)

Forrest Deaner Native Plant Botanic Garden, Dillon Point Rd, Benicia, CA 94510. The garden covers 3.5 acres in the Benicia State Recreation Area. The Garden is an ideal setting for learning about native plants and how they may be used in home gardens and other landscape projects. 

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.

Pacific Grove Museum Of Natural History, 165 Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950. (408) 648-3116. Winter home of migrating monarch butterflies.

Asilomar Conference Grounds,
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.

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This page originally compiled by Arvind Kumar with input from Bracey Tiede, Tanya Kucak, and Wendy Winkler.

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