Sonoma Botanical Garden is launching a water-based native plant project in California

Sonoma Botanical Garden is launching a water-based native plant project in California

Sonoma Botanical Garden announced a new project on January 31 to plant a native California demonstration plant on the nonprofit’s lands.

In collaboration with the Sonoma Environmental Center and the Habitat Corridor Project, the garden will contain environmentally sustainable plants and will be unveiled in phases over the next few years.

Sonoma County’s pioneering partnership will develop a fire and water demonstration garden to showcase the beauty, vitality and practicality of native plants. Such plants can protect against wildfires, promote water conservation, and sustain local wildlife.

The project aims to create an educational landscape surrounding the Welcome Center at Sonoma Botanical Garden. According to a press release from the Sonoma Botanical Garden, the initiative represents a major step toward sustainable landscape design and environmental stewardship in Sonoma.

“We are thrilled to embark on this innovative project alongside the Sonoma Ecology Center and the Habitat Corridor Project, which is generously supported by the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation,” said Jenny Perales, Executive Director of the Sono Ma Botanical Garden.

This collaboration leverages the expertise and resources of three regional organizations dedicated to conservation, education and environmental resilience, according to Perales.

In addition, the project will build on the Sonoma Botanical Garden’s recently opened California Oaks Trail and the organization’s mission to inspire appreciation for the beauty and value of native plants along the Asian flora range, Perales said.

The project, which was recently launched, will be unveiled to the public in phases over several years. The garden will provide guests with an immersive experience to explore and understand the vital role native plants can provide in the future of horticulture in California.

The fire-resistant, water-efficient collection will be a showcase of practical techniques for homeowners, landscape professionals and community planners to create similar landscapes that support biodiversity, according to the press release.

“The Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation supports Sonoma Botanical Garden’s new focus that will connect more people to nature and educate them about the beauty, resilience and importance of our native plant species,” said Daily Maxwell, Foundation President.

The experimental garden will serve as an educational center featuring public programs for all ages and special tours designed to connect local residents with California plants.

Botanical gardens are places of beauty, rest and appreciation of the natural world and can serve as sites for biodiversity and conservation, said Bob Schneider, design and implementation project manager at the Sonoma Environmental Center.

“California is a hotspot for biodiversity, and Sonoma Valley in particular is home to a lot of plant diversity. We are excited to showcase more of our region’s native plants, as well as to demonstrate fire-based landscape design principles,” Schneider said.

The park will provide significant habitat to support biodiversity that has been lost in the Sonoma Valley, said April Owens, executive director of the Habitat Corridor Project. It will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate how native plants can be utilized in California landscapes.

The Sonoma Ecology Center is honored to diversify the native plant collection at the Sonoma Botanical Garden with plants common in the nursery trade and rare and protected plants of the Sonoma Valley, Owens said.

Visitors can learn the value of adding larger California native shrubs to support pollinators such as butterflies, birds and bees and take advantage of marshes — grassy depressions that control the speed of rainwater — and rain gardens to collect and filter water and design plants for defensible space, accordingly. To Owens.

For more information about Sonoma Botanical Garden, visit https://sonomabg.org/.

Learn more about the Sonoma Ecology Center at https://sonomaecologycenter.org/, the Habitat Corridor Project at https://habitatcorridorproject.org/ and the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation at https://www.maxwell-hanrahan.org/.

Sonoma Botanical Garden is open daily from 9am to 4pm and is located at 12841 Hwy 12 in Glen Ellen. Call 707-996-3166 or email info@sonomabg.org with questions.

You can contact staff writer Emma Molloy at emma.molloy@sonomanews.com.

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