Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

1212 Mission Canyon Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93105


Our Mission:
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden fosters the conservation of California's native plants through our gardens, research and education, and serves as a role model of sustainable practices.

Our Vision:
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden envisions a world where society understands the interdependency between people and plants, and acts to preserve the natural world.

Origins of the Garden
In 1925, the Carnegie Institution suggested a cooperative undertaking with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to administer what it envisioned as a botanical garden "...reaching from the sea to the crest of the mountains, connected by a drive lined with trees, shrubs and flowers from all parts of the earth." Plant ecologist Dr. Frederic Clements came to Santa Barbara as Carnegie's representative in search of geographic sites that could be used for experimental plant research. In 1926, this plan became a reality when local philanthropist Anna Dorinda Blaksley Bliss purchased 13 acres in Mission Canyon for the museum, with views spanning from  the mountains and the ocean.

This initial gift, a substantial endowment given in 1927, and subsequent acreage given in 1932, provided the foundation for the Blaksley Botanic Garden's creation and first 10 years of operation. In 1939, the Botanic Garden incorporated as a separate organization and was renamed the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. The aim of the founders was to create a garden that would "...unite the aesthetic, educational and scientific." Based on concepts developed by Clements, the garden was originally laid out in various plant communities, such as chaparral, desert, and prairie, with an emphasis on plants from the Pacific slope of North America. Experimental groupings of significant genera such as Ceanothus and Eriogonum (buckwheat) were also displayed for horticultural research and to educate the public. By 1936, this emphasis had narrowed to plants native to the state of California, and now includes northwestern Baja California and southwestern Oregon, which are part of the California Floristic Province.

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