When it comes to the volume and variety of plants native to Santa Monica and nearby areas, it should be no surprise that our city has plenty of outstanding botanical gardens to discover. Many of these gardens have been cultivated and enhanced for decades and contain both local and non-local plant species.
Since we would need to write a book to cover all of Santa Monica’s botanical gardens, we will stick to a list and brief description of a few of our favorites. The next time you are here to explore Santa Monica, be sure to keep our botanical garden guide handy.
UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden
The UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden is not just 7.5 acres of renowned garden beauty; it is also used as a research facility and outdoor classroom located on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. The garden was first formed in 1929 and grew from native willows and coastal sage scrub to more than 3,500 species and varieties of plants. The urban botanical garden is currently home to more than 15 collections of plants from around the world.
Japanese Garden At The VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Campus
This small and obscure Japanese garden located at the VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Campus is the perfect place to escape the crowds and bustle of city life. Compared to other local botanical gardens, you will cross paths with a relatively small number of people leaving you to enjoy the stunning plants, peaceful koi ponds, ducks, turtles, and other creatures. It is a great walking and sitting garden with bridges, pathways, pergolas, and benches to enjoy.
The Gardens Of The Getty Villa
Step back into ancient Rome when you visit the Gardens of the Getty Villa consisting of four gardens with red-tiled roof architecture, sculptures, paintings, a reflective pool, and around 300 varieties of Mediterranean plants. J. Paul Getty developed plans for the museum and gardens to be modeled after the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum, an ancient Roman town destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The Getty Villa botanical gardens are indeed a work of art.
Self-Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Realization Gardens
The Self-realization Fellowship Hermitage & Realization Gardens is a tranquil botanical setting with ocean views for visitors to enjoy. The serene and calm atmosphere makes this garden the perfect place to walk in peace, meditate, and practice yoga. When you are here, you will feel like you are in a secret garden full of many diverse and colorful plants. The Realization Gardens are the perfect place for the inner yogi in all of us.
Santa Monica Botanical Gardens And Big Dean’s Café
After touring Santa Monica botanical gardens, visit Big Dean’s Ocean Front Café for great food and libations, while listening to music, enjoying our outdoor patio spaces, and watching major sporting events on any of our 17 televisions.