Entrances off Wildcat Canyon Road and Grizzly Peak Boulevard,
Shasta Rd, Berkeley, CA (Directions)
Toll Free: 888-EBPARKS (888-327-2757), option 3, extension 4507
October - May
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
June - Sept.
8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Parking: No fee
Dogs: Dogs are not allowed
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The Regional Parks Botanic Garden was founded on January 1, 1940. Situated in Tilden Regional Park's beautiful Wildcat Canyon in the heart of the north Berkeley Hills, the garden is devoted to the collection, growth, display, and preservation of the native plants of California. The state is a vast region of many floral areas, such as seacoast bluffs and coastal mountains, interior valleys, arid foothills, alpine zones, and two kinds of desert. California embraces nearly 160,000 square miles - imagine 160,000 square miles of California set in a garden that can be walked in a day.
The public is welcome in this garden, which is open between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. from October 1 to May 31, and 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. from June 1 to September 30. The garden is closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. All specimens are landscaped into a delightful setting, offering many enjoyable days of exploration, relaxation, and contemplation. To the student, the Botanic Garden offers the premier Northern California venue in which to study the state's native plants without wandering far from home or dorm. Indoors, in the Visitor Center, lectures and slide shows are scheduled on most Saturdays from November through February, and an exhibit pertaining to the native flora is usually to be found in the auditorium.
Notable among the many specimens that have been brought in from all corners of the state are representatives of nearly all the state's conifers and oaks, and probably the most complete collections of California manzanitas to be found anywhere. There are also extensive collections of California native bunchgrasses, bulbs, aquatic plants, and representatives of about 300 taxa that are classified in the California Native Plant Society's landmark study, "Inventory of Rare and Endangered Vascular Plants of California."
For the sake of clarity of display, the majority of the garden is divided into ten geographically-based sections. The sections are: Southern California (plants designated by sand-colored labels), Shasta-Klamath (green labels), Valley-Foothill (yellow labels), Santa Lucia (orange labels), Channel Islands (black labels), Sierran (blue labels), Redwood (red labels), Sea Bluff (brown labels), Pacific Rain Forest (green labels), and Franciscan (yellow labels). The Canyon (brown labels) section at the northernmost part of the garden, is not geographically based. Here, the plants are grouped according to their individual horticultural requirements.
There are also three subsections: aquatic plants, coastal dune plants, and the Antioch Dunes of Contra Costa County.
Each year in the Botanic Garden the first plants to bloom do so around mid-December and early January, initiating a flowering succession that makes a continuous show for fully seven months. No month is devoid of plants of some attraction or other. The following schedule names the more prominent plants and the months in which they are usually at their best.
|January:||silktassels, manzanitas, manzanitas, and more manzanitas, osoberry, currants|
|February:||barberries, Dutchman's pipe, fuchsia-flowered gooseberry, milkmaids, western leatherwood, bluff wallflower, scoliopus|
|March:||redbud, pink-flowering currant, California poppy, trilliums, shooting stars, wallflowers, fritillaries, fawn lilies, rock cress, pussy willows, trees begin to leaf out|
|April:||California rose-bay or rhododendron, woolly blue curls, ninebark, mountain spiraea, summer holly, main ceanothus groups, Chinese houses, irises, storax, blazing star|
|May:||monkeyflowers, fremontias, carpenteria, tidy tips, bush poppies, brodiaeas, mariposa tulips, cacti, clarkias, mock orange|
|June:||western azalea, matilija poppy, fireweed, ocean spray, sweetshrub, mariposas, Donner buckwheat, clarkias, columbines|
|July:||red and yellow bush penstemons and other perennial penstemons, scarlet mimulus|
|August:||wild buckwheats, late penstemons, evening primroses, gum plants, scarlet larkspur, Milo Baker's lupine|
|September:||California fuchsias, tarweeds, buckwheats, hibiscus, helianthus, late penstemons|
|October-November:||fall color of snowberries, berries of the madrone, leaves of cottonwoods, deciduous oaks, dogwoods, hawthorn, willows, vine maple, chaparral currant blooms|
|December:||first manzanita blooms, colorful twigs of deciduous shrubs|
For more information on the Botanic Garden, classes, or events, visit Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden web site at http://www.nativeplants.org/. For more information about volunteer opportunities, call the garden at (510) 544-3169.
The Regional Parks Botanic Garden holds its annual native plant sale on the third Saturday in April, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring cardboard boxes to carry your purchases. Refreshments will be available.
Enjoy free docent-guided garden tours most Saturdays at 2 p.m; Sundays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Meet at the Visitors Center. Group tours are available by appointment; call (510) 544-3169. Docent training is offered most years.
Call (510) 544-3169 for information.
The Botanic Garden is partially accessible to persons with disabilities. This includes the bathrooms at the parking lot. The most accessible paths contour around the garden to right and left from the main entrance. Visitor Center is fully accessible to wheelchair users.
Directions: Regional Parks Botanic Garden
Transit & Trails: Tilden Regional Park, Regional Parks Botanic Garden (transit, biking, and walking directions)
Click the map image below to see an enlarged version.