Clovis Botanical Garden

Photo by adam blauert

Photo by adam blauert

Clovis Botanical  - PHOTO BY ADAM BLAUERT

Clovis Botanical  - PHOTO BY ADAM BLAUERT

It’s popular and easy to make jokes about the Fresno area.  In some ways, this generally-accepted negativity makes the area’s hidden gems even more surprising.  The most recent one that I’ve discovered is the Clovis Botanical Garden. 

Having some unexpected free time between two appointments and after discussing several options, we eventually decided to check out the garden.  

Despite the fact that this is the dormant season for many plants, the garden was still quite interesting. We really enjoyed our visit and plan to return in the spring. 

Desert Willows - PHOTO BY ADAM BLAUERT

Desert Willows - PHOTO BY ADAM BLAUERT

The best thing about the garden is that it is a great place to learn about water-wise plants that tolerate our hot summers and cool winters.  It was designed to become “the premier regional garden for demonstrating wise water use in Valley landscapes.” 

Although we’d been interested in learning about how to plant native plants and other low-water species, we hadn’t realized that it would be so easy and enjoyable to learn about until we ended up at the botanical garden almost by accident.  

The Garden started with one acre and is in the process of developing three more.  The plants are a mix of native species, plants from similar climates around the world, and hybrids – including trees, shrubs, ground cover, and various perennials – all of which are clearly labeled. 

If you’re thinking of transitioning to landscaping that uses less water, this is a great place to see what your options are.  We wrote down the names of several plants that we liked.  

Acacia - PHOTO BY ADAM BLAUERT

Acacia - PHOTO BY ADAM BLAUERT

Several free pamphlets about recommended plants are available to visitors.  My favorite has been “Sensational 70: Seventy Plants Friendly to Central Valley Landscapes.” 

All the included plants are attractive, water-wise, non-invasive, and regularly available in retail nurseries. 

Another pamphlet produced by the City of Fresno featured a link to a useful website of water-wise plants:  http://www.fresno.watersavingplants.com/

The garden also offers a demonstration planting of the drought-tolerant UC Verde Buffalograss developed by UC Davis and UC Riverside.  This grass uses 75% less water than traditional lawns, only needs to be mowed once every 2-3 weeks, is designed for regular foot traffic, and produces few allergens.  

The garden is operated by a nonprofit organization and all the work of maintenance and planting is done by volunteers. 

It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9AM to 4PM and admission is free. 

It is closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and the following holidays: January 1, July 4, Thanksgiving, December 24, and December 25.  Group tours for all ages – including school groups – can be arranged in advance. 

Winter Flowers - PHOTO BY ADAM BLAUERT

Winter Flowers - PHOTO BY ADAM BLAUERT

The Garden is adjacent to the Dry Creek Park, which offers a large variety of attractive playground equipment for children and picnic tables.  The Dry Creek bike/pedestrian path connects the park and garden to many other destinations in Clovis.

With this year’s worrisome drought conditions, I can’t imagine a timelier place to have discovered last weekend than the Clovis Botanical Garden. 

For more information go to: http://clovisbotanicalgarden.com/ or call (559) 298-3091.

Clovis Botanical - PHOTO BY ADAM BLAUERT

Clovis Botanical - PHOTO BY ADAM BLAUERT

For upcoming events- Call or email Marge at (559) 323-5974 or cbgmarge@comcast.net.

Events can  include workshops on water-wise gardening, an “Ask the Experts ‘Alley’” where guests can get gardening information and advice from a wide range of water and gardening experts, and a water-wise plant sale. 

Local food trucks will provide a variety of lunch options. 

For more information, email or call Georgia at (559) 287-2320 or gporcella@comcast.net.  

Other locations to visit while in Fresno

While in Fresno, there are plenty of other things to enjoy.  Some of the best include: