To create and maintain public gardens for the preservation, education, cultural contribution & enhancement of the entire community.
The Ventura Botanical Gardens is in the process of becoming the treasure a small group of Ventura residents first dreamed of late in 2005. They came together to formulate plans for a world-class botanical garden showcasing and preserving native plants and providing educational, recreational, and cultural enhancement for the Ventura coastal community.
Grant Park, set in the foothills above Ventura’s City Hall, presented the perfect site, with its breathtaking 360-degree view encompassing the coastline, mountains, and lush agricultural greenery. The eminent landscape architectural firm of Mia Lehrer + Associates was engaged to develop our Vision Plan, and in 2011 signed a lease/option with the City of Ventura for 107 of the 109 acres of parkland. In 2015, the 40-year lease was signed to create a public/private partnership with the City of Ventura.
Field studies were completed compilating existing site conditions and a baseline environmental assessment was created. The restoration of California native plant species and acquisition of new plant specimens began. The first construction, a trail that would someday be the primary walkway through the gardens, was completed in 2012. The walkway begins behind City Hall and climbs gently for nearly a mile, providing a number of viewpoints with spectacular vistas of the city, the sea, and the Channel Islands beyond. In January of 2014, the planting of the Chilean Garden began, which when complete will be the largest Chilean Garden, outside of Chile, in the world. We are also laying the groundwork for the new Cape of South Africa/Fynbos Garden as well including a dry creek bed, additional trail and plantings of protea and ericas. Artistic benches and sculptures enhance the trails along with new educational signage. Additional signage, benches, stonework, and stairs are in the works.
At completion, the Ventura Botanical Gardens will include gardens representing the earth’s five Mediterranean climate zones, as well as public gathering areas and facilities for educational programs, botanic laboratories and collection spaces, along with a range of amenities including a book and gift shop, plant sales area, dining facilities, and event center. The Gardens will also offer a natural canvas to showcase regional and international environmental sculpture, stonework, and other visual arts.
We have nearly 1,000 members and our Perennial Society, those who have committed to five years or more of support, has exceeded the 200 mark. We are also funded through private donations and bequests, corporate sponsorships, grants, and proceeds from events.
If you would like to make a donation and be a part of Ventura’s history, you will also be leaving a lasting legacy.
In addition to the walkway entrance behind City Hall, other unmarked entrances include Summit Drive, Ferro Drive and Brakey Road (map).
We have a wonderful roster of members including Master Gardeners, landscape architects, botanists, wildlife biologists, horticulturists, business and community leaders and neighbors from all walks of life. We hope that you’ll join us. View our membership opportunities here.
For a more complete look at our plans, take a look at our Vision Plan (PDF).
Please join us by making a contribution or volunteering your time to work on special projects. We welcome your talent, your enthusiasm and your support.