Members - $45 per person per year
Family Membership - $75 per two named adults per year (children are free)
Preferred Membership - $250 per person per year
Become a member today!
The Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG) is a 109 acre world-class site with spectacular views of the California coastline, verdant agricultural vistas, the Channel Islands and Ojai’s Topa Topa peak. With a 40-year master plan and already over 20,000 plants in the ground, the Gardens represent the five Mediterranean climate zones of the world; Chile, the Cape of South Africa, Southern Australia, the Mediterranean Basin, and California. These are low water climate zones, much like Ventura, allowing for long term sustainability.
Your visit to the Gardens will begin at the Merewether Welcome Center. You will notice a charming gift shop, full of artisan gifts, pottery and plants.
A short walk takes you past our olive trees, through our nursery where we have dedicated spaces to welcome students on field trips. Here we prepare and propagate plants before we add them to our collection.
As you enter the first walkway of the Chilean Gardens, you will note a Chilean Soapbark Tree on your right. The Soapbark Tree provides the adjuvant, a chemical compound affecting immunity, as a part of the shingles and COVID-19 vaccines.
Further along the way, you will see our large Chilean Wine Palms. These are part of our collection of endangered species. The work we do at the Gardens includes protecting and propagating endangered species and creating a library of plants and seeds. As you continue toward the top, take a meditation moment at one of our sponsored benches and enjoy the brightly-colored cistanthe grandiflora along the way.
When you reach Rotary Plaza, shaded by old-growth Eucalyptus trees, you will note the California Ramble ahead, full of native species like ceanothus, lemonade berry, and California oak. Upward in our Mediterranean Garden, there are 130 newly planted olive tree saplings. With 40 different cultivars, these plants will provide conservation and research opportunities for an agricultural resource that humans have developed over millenia. This grove will enable us to examine what cultivars do well in regional agriculture as our climate changes.
To your right and up the hill is the South African Fynbos Gardens, abundant with protea, ericas, and geraniums, a dry creek bed and charming bridge. Looking back toward the entrance, enjoy a spectacular view of the Channel Islands.
Continue to Summit Plateau, lined with California pepper trees, where many of our events occur. Then on to the Karoo Gardens... abundant with Aloe. Here you will feel like you’re at the top of the world.
As a 40-year project, VBG will continue to grow and create new outdoor opportunities for training, research, and educational programs ranging from horticulture and botany to sustainability. Garden expansion will be ongoing for decades to come.
Come back soon, there is always something new to see.
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