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The Gardens

The Gardens at Leaning Pine Arboretum focus primarily on the world's five mediterranean climate regions: Australia, California, Chile, the Mediterranean basin, and South Africa. Additionally, there is an Entry garden, a New Zealand garden, a Dwarf and Unusual Conifer garden, a Formal garden, a Primitive garden, and a Palm and Aloe garden. Featuring a varied assortment of trees, shrubs, and other landscape plants, each garden is unique while continuing the cohesive experience of the entire arboretum.

Entry Garden Welcoming visitors to the arboretum, the Entry Garden offers a quick introduction to each of the various gardens, showcases some of the most interesting plants found in the arboretum, and demonstrates ways to combine and blend plants from all of the world's mediterranean climates.

Entry Garden

Australian Garden Featuring red flowering plants, such as a variety of bottlebrush, grevillea, and correa, the Australian Garden is a haven for hummingbirds. Other highlights include numerous species of exotic banksias, emu bushes, and a grove of one of Australia's more unusual trees, Brachychiton rupestris.

Australian Garden

Ranging in texture, color, and shape from kangaroo paws, to grass trees and a coral tree, many of the plants found in this garden offer attractive and unusual flowers, seed pods, and foliage. Select a peaceful place to read or relax from one of the numerous sitting areas and benches found throughout the garden.


Californian Garden This garden is designed to resemble many of the natural plant communities found throughout California. Here you may walk through a lush redwood grove, view a grass meadow, or overlook a restoration bank that demonstrates the strength and adaptability of our state's native flora.

Californian Garden

The ceanothus collection produces a must see show of blue flowers in the spring. While some of the other collections include Agave, Arctostaphylos, Quercus, and Salvia. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the gazebo or reflect for some time at the council ring.

Chilean Garden Growing along the top of the arboretum, the Chilean Garden displays many plants from the Chilean matorral ecoregion - an area of central Chile with a climate very similar to California.

Chilean Garden

Representative plants include trees, flowering shrubs, pineapple relatives from the bromeliad family, and geophytes. Cantua buxifolia 'Hot Pants' produces hot pink, pendulous trumpet shaped flowers in spring and summer, while Luma apiculata displays creamy white, star shaped flowers from mid-summer to fall.

Mediterranean Garden Encompassing plants from the Mediterranean basin, this garden highlights many old favorites including several cultivars of rosemary and lavender, an olive grove, as well as many lesser-known mediterranean plants.

Mediterranean Garden

Additionally, the garden features a variety of picturesque trees including: blue Atlas cedar, Lombardy poplar, Italian cypress, cork oak, Canary Island palm, almond, Italian stone pine, and madrone. Enjoy sweeping vistas of the Morros and the Cal Poly campus from a seating area near a small, bubbling pond.

South African Garden At the far end of the arboretum, the mesembryanthemum bank in the South African Garden puts on a stunning display of vibrant spring color.

South African Garden

Large pots of unusual succulents, plants from the restio family, seasonal geophytes, along with proteas and their relatives offer continual color, exotic flowers, and interest throughout the year. Stop to smell the large "grape kool aid" shrub (Psoralea pinnata) and to marvel at the size of the sugar bush flowers (Protea repens).

New Zealand Garden A stunning New Zealand Christmas tree spreads a broad canopy of dense, blue-green foliage above coprosmas, phormiums, and carex below.

New Zealand Garden

Although not truly of a mediterranean climate, many of the distinctively bright and lush plants from New Zealand thrive in our costal climate, displaying a variety of foliage textures and colors.

Dwarf and Unusual Conifer Garden While the smallest garden in the arboretum, the Dwarf and Unusual Conifer Garden contains many interesting cultivars of well known trees, including a dwarfed and weeping version of the world's largest tree, the giant sequoia.

Dwarf and Unusual Conifer Garden

Other plants display unusual foliage coloring, such as the golden hues of a deodar cedar cultivar. At the end of the path, you will find a secluded place to sit and study the interesting forms of the many unusual conifers.

Formal Garden Offering an interesting contrast from other gardens in the arboretum, the Formal Garden is ordered and carefully planned to create a symmetrical geometric pattern of neat, shaped, and continually trimmed hedges.

Formal Garden

Centered around a tiered fountain, a boxwood parterre is interplanted with numerous evergreen topiaries. For the best view of the garden's design, walk around to stand on the overlook deck.

Primitive Garden Step back in time as you walk through a group of prehistoric plants in the Primitive Garden. These ancient plants include ginkgo, horsetail, gunnera and a sizeable collection of cycads.

Primitive Garden

A focal point in the garden is the dawn redwood, (Metasequoia glyptostroboide) which is a deciduous conifer with golden russet foliage in fall and is the only living species of the ancient redwood genus Metasequoia. Standing on the wooden bridge, watch our seasonal creek flow after a winter rain.

Palm & Aloe Garden The Palm and Aloe Garden hosts a collection of palms from around the world, along with more than 60 species of aloes and other succulents.

Palm and Aloe Garden

The aloes, with their amazing variety of foliage colors and patterns, range in height from just a few inches tall to tree types reaching thirty feet or more with massive trunks at maturity. Aloe ciliaris, climbing aloe, grows as a vine supporting itself on the trunks and stems of other plants.

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Last Update:

01/04/2013



Leaning Pine Arboretum
Horticulture and Crop Science Department
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
805.756.2888
leaningpinearboretum@calpoly.edu