Our botanical collection consists of over 160 species predominantly from the Mediterranean climate regions of the world, mixed with a few more exotic sub-tropical species that remain on the site from prior to the development of the gardens. Within the collection is a small Mediterranean pine forest consisting of about 60 trees that have been georeferenced and botanically identified, and are the basis for our Mediterranean collection. A small Eucalyptus forest is also a part of the collection and comprises 7 species that form a mixture of ornamental and weedy Eucalyptus. The "Ramble" is a large swath running through the center of the gardens that will represent native California plant communities in a naturalistic presentation and which currently consists of a mixture of coastal sage scrub and chaparral species.
Ventura Botanical Gardens currently has three main focuses with respect to development of our collection. First, we actively continue to remove invasive plant species across the 109 acre site of the gardens. Second, we continue the restoration of coastal sage scrub and chaparral, which are native California plant communities. Through a combination of seeding and plant installations we are building plant collections and in doing so restoring/creating habitat in these areas. Third, we continue to expand our acquisition of Chilean plant specimens.
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Our First Trail
In June of 2012, the shovel hit the dirt as work began on the Demonstration Trail, the first step in the physical development of the Gardens. Opened to the community in October of 2012, the trail begins behind City Hall and climbs gently for nearly a mile. It passes along an historic stonewall and has additional hand-built stone wall enhancements. The trail is six feet wide, with a decomposed, compacted granite surface. The first majestic viewpoint is wheelchair accessible.
The trail offers remarkable views of downtown Ventura and 180° vistas of the Pacific Coastline, the Marina, Oxnard and Mandalay Bay to the east, Surfer's Point, the Rincon to the west, and the Channel Islands.
On October 20, 2012, the trail officially opened and is now a popular hiking destination. We are asking the community to keep bikes off the trails as they may damage the surfaces and add to erosion issues.
Park in the upper parking lot at City Hall, the trailhead starts there.
Our First Garden
VBG’s Chilean Gardens feature hundreds of plants, including giant terrestrial bromeliads called Puyas, Acacia caven trees and an array of succulents and cacti all chosen for their beauty, extreme drought tolerance and non-invasiveness.
Planting began in February of 2014 and upon completion our Chilean garden will be the largest garden of Chilean plants in the world outside of Chile. They will provide efficient erosion resistance, a major goal of the Gardens, as well as animal habitat enhancement.
The Chilean Garden frames VBG’s Demonstration Trail, offering dynamic views of the coastline, mountains and western Ventura County.