Home 9 Native Plant Botanical Garden

A New Botanic Garden brings a water solution for Southern California

Let’s talk specifically about a water solution for Southern California focused around us being more mindful of our own individual water usage. We all use more or less the same amount of water every day for interior usage including our own personal hygienic usage and we are collectively and on average doing pretty good with interior water conservation. And bravo to you all for turning the water off while you brush your teeth and taking shorter showers! And bravo for switching to the energy-efficient dish washers and washing machines!

Our water usage differs though and varies the most with the amount of water we individually use for landscaping in San Diego’s different micro-climates.

San Diego’s climate is classified as semi-arid running slightly drier than a Mediterranean climate, so why are there so many water thirsty lawns in Southern California? This must change and did you know we are in a drought? Water thirsty lawns are not sustainable.

Either we are in it together in terms of sustainability or we as a human race are not going to make it at all. Said by many, one possible water solution for San Diego county is by way of changing how we do our own landscaping.

California Native plants offer a great alternative to water thirsty plants for landscaping here and not only are California native plants beautiful, but some are edible. At the newly opening Native Plant Botanic Garden here, we will demonstrate and educate visitors on the more than 100 different native plant species we have here. There are quite a lot of varieties because the elevation here is right in the middle of where the coastal low-elevation native plants meet the mountainous high-elevation native plants. The Botanical Garden is in a transition zone. In order to protect flora diversity, we feature many rare and endangered plants. Being at the headwaters of the San Diego River, we also showcase riparian flora as well.

We welcome you to see the beauty native plants have to offer. See our open hours below. We also offer the Botanical Garden as a wedding venue now and then and rent the large rooms out for lodging when we are not having retreats. At the Native Plant Garden, we present a trail you can walk that features the beautiful native plants. Feel free to familiarize yourself to the plants, and we will inform you about good places to buy native plants so you can use the native plants in your own garden.

In changing your landscaping, you are choosing to save the ground water and the water we all need in switching to native plants. New legislation suggests that in the future you may not be given a choice in how you landscape. Future legislation suggests we all must save our outside water usage. Permanent water conservation is becoming more and more of a necessity. The current legislation is aiming to limit indoor water and outdoor water usage to 50 – 55 gallons per person per day and there will be heavy fines if you don’t comply.

At the end of day, when you need to shower and also water the back lawn, you may be forced to pick one or be fined! You may be faced with the fact there is only enough water left in own personal allotment to either shower or water the back lawn and so, which one will you choose? Naturally, we will want a shower. With a garden of native plants, that question of choosing a shower or watering your lawn will most probably never be something you have to face.

We all must start saving and conserving water immediately in some way that is sustainable. We feel a demonstration native plant garden is a must for educational purposes. Our visitors will leave with knowledge how they can create a native plant garden at their own home, replacing their water-thirsty lawns. Having a native plant garden is one way we all can save water. We are all learning about sustainability together. We invite you to be part of the world change towards sustainability and relearn how to live with each other in a sustainable way. We all have an important part to play.

We are all currently being educated about the drought we are experiencing and most of us already are using less and less water each day. Right now, there is not a way to measure day to day water usage but water is measured monthly. Slowly but surely, this new legislation I predict will become law, because it has been done in other geographical areas.

We Live in a beautiful piece of land at 3,500 feet elevation between Santa Ysabel, CA and the Historic town of Julian, California in the north east region of San Diego county that is rich in California Gold Rush history. This is a 10.8 acre land located at the Headwaters of the San Diego River. With many Metates carved into rock, this has been the home to many before us. We have found flint and pottery chard from Native Americans who once lived here, and we found an old wagon wheel from the 1870’s. The old wagon trail once went through this land.

Here, you will also find a large labyrinth to walk. With more than 1000 Oak Trees, three small seasonal rivers, large granite boulders to climb on, meditate on and sit on, this is a haven and a sanctuary for children and adults, alike. There is also a large chemical-free and splinter-free playground.

Bring a picnic basket. Open hours are from 10 a.m. to dark with advance reservations because we are not always open to the public. The cost is a love donation.  Thank you for supporting this cause while enjoying the great weather in the mountains.

We have lodging available and you can find information by going to our lodging only website

Growing in Sustainability

We are looking to make this center more sustainable, and to implement permaculture design concepts which we have done. We are building a sustainable earth house.

We plan on expanding our annual garden and perennial landscape. We have an orchard of about 85 fruit trees – Apple, Peaches, Apricots, Cherry, Plum, Goji, Pear, Persimmon, Walnut, Nectarine, Pluots, Quince, Mulberries (Black and Pakistan), Pineapple Guava, Pomegranate, Contorted Jujube, olive and almond trees. There are also blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries, grapes, blueberries, and strawberries. We compost and recycle and make a lot of our own fertilizer

We are doing it together with you! Come share what you know with us and learn what we are doing with well water and farming.  We will also further develop our well water system and solar power system.

And Much More …

A slice of history

Take a trip back in time. Our little piece of land that we love to share has been shared with many throughout time. The Kumeyaay Native Americans first inhabited this land and there are about 25 metates (grinding or mealing stones) around the property for viewing. These holes were ground into the rocks over hundreds of years by the Native Americans and today they serve as bird baths during the rainy season for the many types of birds that call this area home. The very first and original wagon trail passes through the center of the land here. The white concrete, old abandoned highway here provides many children who visit here a very safe trail for bike riding. It was abandoned in 1955 and is one of the longest intact pieces of highway in the area, around 300 feet. The old highway also hugs the San Diego River’s headwaters which originate from this area.

A walking labyrinth

We feature a walking labyrinth in California. It is 110 feet in diameter. Going in and coming out, walking this labyrinth is about three quarter’s of a mile walk. People from all over the world have enjoyed walking this labyrinth since 2008. People have many different intentions when they walk the labyrinth. Some of the intentions people have for walking the labyrinth are: to cope with stress, to help deal with grief, to calm down, to meditate or pray, to have time to themselves, to find and observe their authentic selves beyond their ego and illusion, to unite a group with common hopes, to stimulate creativity, to gain clarity, to find peace, to release a burden that is too heavy for them to carry and for personal development. As you see, people use the labyrinth for many purposes.

Hiking trails

Within walking distance, the Inaja Trail is the best adventures track and one of four trails in San Diego County showcased as a “National Recreation Trail.”  It begins about one half mile from here. A trail leaflet, which may be available at the trail head, gives information about the typical live oak-chaparral vegetation seen here and elsewhere in the upper foothills of San Diego County. An overlook at the midpoint in the trail gives a good view down the linear canyon of the San Diego River. Nearly everything you see in that direction was burned in the 2003 Cedar Fire, but the landscape is quickly recovering. At 3440 feet elevation, the overlook is often just above a temperature inversion that traps cooler, moist air below. On some mornings, you’ll find the nearby canyon hidden by a cottony blanket of fog, while neighboring ridges stand out.