Santa Barbara Botanic Garden encourages cultivating native plants.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden encourages cultivating native plants. (Courtesy photo)

As local residents face long, dry summers, periods of extended drought, and rising water bills, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden urges planting native plants as a solution to wilted lawns and landscaping.

Throughout October and November, the Botanic Garden celebrates the fall planting season with activities for plant lovers and home gardeners to provide community members with the tools to make changes in their own backyards.

“Native plants have evolved to manage the environmental stresses of our local climate, and there is no better time to plant them than the fall season,” said Keith Nevison, director of horticulture and operations.

“Not only are native plants the best option to help manage your home’s water use, but they also attract beneficial insects, pollinators, and birds that are essential to a healthy ecosystem. Simply put, our community needs native plants, and the garden is here to help,” he said.

Events began Oct. 1 and include a native plant pruning demonstration, in-person lecture on how to create a garden suited for birds, an art exhibit depicting a year of native plant blooms, and a spooky-themed Family Nature Night.

Also in October is a two-day volunteer opportunity to join the WeDigBio global effort to digitize local biodata.

The garden’s new shop online, pick-up onsite program starts Nov. 1, just in time for the holiday season. The new e-commerce site allows customers to shop the largest selection of native plants on the Central Coast, as well as other retail items, and get plant information ahead of their visit.

Orders are prepared by staff and made ready for pickup at the customer’s requested time and date. To shop online, visit
The Garden Nursery, which adds to its inventory in November, will be closed Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 2-3, to prepare for the expected increase in customers during planting season. A preview for garden members only will take place held Nov. 4, and the public is invited to a kickoff event Nov. 5.

“Fall is the best time to get native plants in the ground so the rainy season can help them get established before the stresses of our hot, dry summers begin,” said Matt Straka, nursery manager.

“To support our community, we stock our nursery all year but especially pack it with even more native plants and a wide variety and some unique plants for the fall so our customers can get inspired and really embrace the season,” he said.
For those unsure on how to get started, Straka offers instruction at weekly in-person Native Planting Techniques sessions at the nursery, held every Sunday in November.

Also in November is the debut a new series of four How to Garden with Native Plants videos on the garden’s social media platforms, and an in-person workshop on how to create habitat to attract animals to home gardens.
The Garden Nursery is at 1212 Mission Canyon Road, just inside the garden entrance. Hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Garden members receive a 10% discount. Visitors interested in shopping do not require garden reservations; they can park in a “member” parking spot and check-in at the front kiosk to receive a shopper pass.

Find a Garden Nursery inventory list, updated monthly, at

For more class and event information, reservations, and online plant sales, visit