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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.