San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum

A dedicated garden to showcase California native plants was in the original bequest from Helene Strybing when establishing the SF Botanical Garden. The California section of the garden includes a coast redwood grove and the Arthur L. Menzies Garden of California Native Plants featuring annual wildflowers and perennials.

Location: Martin Luther King Drive in Golden Gate Park near the intersection of 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way, San Francisco

Tilden Regional Parks Botanic Garden

Devoted to the collection, growth, display, and preservation of the native plants of California, the garden is organized by regional plant community, and covers all climates in California. The plants of each regional area are grouped together so you can understand and appreciate which plants flourish in which region. See https://www.ebparks.org/parks/tilden/botanic-garden for visitor information and a list of what’s in flower each month. They also hold monthly plant sales.

Location: 1550 Wildcat Canyon Road within Tilden Regional Park in the Berkeley hills.

Note: most cell phones do not work at the Botanic Garden.

University of California Botanical Garden

Approximately 1/3 of the 34-acre garden is devoted to California natives, so it’s worth a visit! Reservations are recommended for the general public. Free passes may be available through the Marin County Library System via Discover & Go. Check their web site for information about their very popular plant sales.

Location: 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley CA

Pollinator Garden at Bay Model Visitor Center, Sausalito

CNPS Marin planned and installed a garden at the Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model in the fall of 2017. Plants are grouped roughly into habitats for hummingbirds, songbirds, butterflies, and monarch butterflies; native bees enjoy all of it. To preserve the water view from the lobby of the building, plants that remain 4–5 ft high or lower at maturity were used. All plants chosen for the garden are commonly available and grow well in Marin County; we offer many of them for sale during our spring and fall plant sales. A visit to the garden allows you to see how the plants work together as a plant community.

The garden has educational signage to help visitors understand which area supports which pollinators. A free brochure lists the plants growing in the garden—plus some alternate choices—organized by pollinator, and a brief description of what is unique about each. There is also a plant list of all species that were initially installed. Always open.

Location: 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA

Public Landscaping Using Native Plants

Downtown Larkspur Native Landscaping

Spearheaded by Laura Lovett, CNPS Marin board member, various locations around downtown Larkspur have been gradually planted with California natives. CNPS maintains them for the city. These public plantings focus on annuals and perennials as the beds have to remain low in height for traffic safety. Locations include:

Beds by the Lark Theater, Magnolia Avenue.

Planted 2017. Great wildflower display in the spring.

Larkspur Police Station, 250 Doherty Drive

The area around the entry sign was newly planted in winter 2023, mostly with wildflowers. Older landscaping dates from police station construction and consists mostly of ceanothus and redbud.

Downtown Parking Lot, corner of Magnolia and Ward.

This is due to be replanted in Fall 2023 with native plants, mostly shrubs and grasses.

Hangar Avenue, Hamilton, Novato

Check out the relatively new native plant landscaping for the repurposed airplane hangers along Hanger Avenue, west of the control tower; signage says The Landing. Plants include Cleveland Sage and prostrate Coyote Brush.

Novato Fire Station 63 Resilient Demonstration Garden

This garden was planted in spring 2023 as a showcase for native fire-wise landscaping that also supports biodiversity. It features groundcovers, succulents, a pollinator meadow, drought-tolerant shrubs and more. The garden, designed by the Habitat Corridor Project, is expected to have full plant coverage 3 years after initial planting.
Location: corner of San Marin Dr. and San Ramon Way, Novato

Neil Cummins Elementary School/ Corte Madera Town Park

Non-profit Refugia Marin prepared and planted a new California native landscape in the marsh habitat on public land adjacent to the Neil Cummins Elementary School garden, turning a strip of land that had been left untended over the years into a flourishing habitat. Accessible from the public pathway.
Location: 498 Tamalpais Dr, Corte Madera

Annual Native Garden Tours

Eco-Friendly Garden Tour

The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership

Sponsors an annual tour of home gardens in Marin and Sonoma counties. It highlights Russian River-Friendly and Bay-Friendly landscaping best practices, and supports Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper certified professionals by featuring their personal or client’s gardens. Pre-registration required. The 2023 tour showcased 7 Marin gardens and many more in Sonoma, most of which featured California native plants. It’s a great way to see what other gardeners have created. Be sure to visit Home Ground Habitats Nursery in Novato which is usually having a plant sale in conjunction with the tour.

Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour

During two days of virtual tours and two days of in-person tours, you can view over 50 gardens in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, including a multi-home pollinator pathway in Berkeley. Pre-registration required. There are usually plant sales held in conjunction with it. Highly worth driving to the East Bay! See website for details.