Friends of the Regional Park Botanic Garden

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About the Garden

Overview  |   Seasonal Guide   |   Blooming Now   |   FAQ   |   Virtual Tour   |   In the News

VISITING THE GARDEN
What are the Garden's hours?
Is there a fee for admission to the Garden?
Is there a fee for parking?
Can I get to the Garden by bus?
Is the Garden accessible by wheelchair?
Is it possible to visit the Garden in the rain?
Where are the bathrooms?
Are there picnic areas in the Garden?
May I bring a group or class to the Garden without scheduling a tour?
May I have my wedding in the Garden?
May I walk my dog / ride my bicycle, skateboard, or rollerblades / play
    with balls or frisbees in the Garden?

Where can I lock my bicycle at the Garden?
Does the Garden have a gift shop?
Is there a place to get food or beverages at the Garden?
Where is the trail to Lake Anza?

OTHER USES OF THE GARDEN
Is my artists' group allowed to set up and paint in the Garden?
Is the Garden available for use in commercial projects?

TOURS
Do you offer tours of the Garden?
How much do tours cost?
Are the weekend tours suitable for small children?
How do I sign up for a weekend tour?

GARDEN FACTS
How old is the Garden?
What is the size of the Garden?
Is the Garden publicly or privately owned? Who owns the Garden?
Do you have a rose garden?
Where is the cactus garden?
Why do you water the plants in the Garden? Aren't California
   native plants drought tolerant?


PLANT SALES
Do you sell native plants? When is the plant sale?
How do your prices and selection of plants compare to commercial nurseries?
May I donate my empty pots to the Garden?
What and where is Native Here Nursery?

EMPLOYMENT
How many people work at the Garden?
How can I get a job at the Garden?
Does the Garden offer internships?

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
What kinds of volunteer opportunities does the Garden offer?

FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE GARDEN
Where does the Garden's funding come from?
How can I make a financial contribution to the Garden?

FRIENDS OF THE REGIONAL PARKS BOTANIC GARDEN
How do I join the Friends?
Do the Friends hold regular meetings?
Whom do I contact about doing volunteer work for the Friends?

PUBLICATIONS
Do you offer any publications about native plants?
How can I get a copy of The Four Seasons?
Can I obtain back issues of Manzanita?

CLASSES AND PROGRAMS
Do you offer classes at the Garden?
When and where do the Wayne Roderick Lectures take place?

COLLECTING AND RESEARCH IN THE GARDEN
May I collect seeds, cuttings, leaves, pinecones, berries,
   mushrooms, plant samples, etc., in the Garden?

May I do a research project in the Garden?



VISITING THE GARDEN

What are the Garden's hours?

From October 1 though May 31, the Garden is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
From June 1 through September 30, the Garden is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Garden is closed on January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25.

Is there a fee for admission to the Garden?
No. Admission to the Garden is free.

Is there a fee for parking?
No. Parking at the Garden is free.

Can I get to the Garden by bus?
Yes. AC Transit serves the area near the Garden. However, the bus does not stop at the Garden. On weekends, it stops at the Brazil Building on Wildcat Canyon Road. From there, it is a short walk (about one long block) to the Garden. On weekdays, the bus stops at the intersection of Grizzly Peak Blvd. and Shasta Road. From there, it is a half-mile downhill walk to the Garden. Because bus routes and schedules are subject to change, we recommend you check the
AC Transit website or call 511 or 817-1717 for current information.

Is the Garden accessible by wheelchair?
The Garden was built into a canyon in 1940, and much of it is on steep terrain with narrow paths. However, in recent years, the Garden staff has endeavored to create premium displays along fairly level or gently sloping paths. These displays can be reached by most wheelchairs, but it is still advisable to have an attendant. Even paths that are level or that slope gently may have varying surfaces, some of which may be challenging to some wheelchairs. Improvements to help more wheelchairs reach more of the Garden are planned, but they will depend on future funding.

Is it possible to visit the Garden in the rain?
The Garden is open rain or shine. It is beautiful at all times of year and in all kinds of weather. In the rain, manzanita bark glistens, the creek and water channels roar, and mist makes the groves of trees appear mysterious and magical. Bundle up in waterproof clothing and shoes, as umbrellas are difficult under low-hanging branches or on paths between tall shrubs. You can always take shelter and warm up in the Visitor Center.

Where are the bathrooms?
The public bathroom facilities for the Garden are located in the parking lot on Wildcat Canyon Road across the street from the main entrance to the Garden.

Are there picnic areas in the Garden?
There are no formal or reservable picnic areas, but there are places to picnic informally in the Garden. Although we do not have picnic tables, there are numerous benches and lawn areas around the Garden. We request that large groups pack out their trash after picnics and events.

May I bring a group or class to the Garden without scheduling a tour?
The Garden is open to groups either with or without a tour. We think your group will enjoy one of our docent-led tours, and we encourage you to make arrangements for a special tour a few weeks in advance of your visit. Visit our
Tours page for more information. Groups are also welcome to visit the Garden on their own; we ask only that you follow our Guidelines for Visitors.

May I have my wedding in the Garden?
Yes, we allow small weddings (up to 60 participants) in outdoor areas of the Garden. However, we cannot accommodate receptions in the Garden. For more information, visit our
Weddings page or call (510) 544-3169.

May I walk my dog / ride my bicycle, skateboard, or rollerblades / play with balls or Frisbees in the Garden?
We do not allow any of the above activities in the Garden. Because the Garden is a living museum of plants, many of which are rare and fragile, we ask that you follow our rules, which are designed to protect the plants and assure visitors' health and safety. See
Guidelines for Visitors for more information.

Where can I lock my bicycle at the Garden?
You may lock your bicycle to the chain link fence outside the Garden or to the wooden fence railing at the back of the Visitor Center. We do not recommend leaving unlocked bicycles unattended in the Garden.

Does the Garden have a gift shop?
Due to its small size and staff, the Garden does not have a gift shop. We offer a few helpful handouts for sale in the Visitor Center on the honor system, and our journal,
The Four Seasons, may be purchased through the Garden staff.

Is there a place to get food or beverages at the Garden?
Other than the four drinking fountains located in the Shasta-Klamath, Redwood Forest, Franciscan, and Desert sections of the Garden, we do not offer any food or drink. The nearest food concessions are the Grizzly Grill at the
Tilden Park Golf Course (open year-round) and the snack stand at the Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round (open seasonally). You are welcome to bring food into the Garden; please deposit garbage in the trash can in front of the Visitor Center.

Where is the trail to Lake Anza?
The Wildcat Gorge Trail leading to Lake Anza is not accessible from inside the Garden. However, it can be reached from a trailhead just outside the Garden on Anza View Road beyond the Brazil building. Consult the detailed
Tilden Park-south map for a view of the trail.


OTHER USES OF THE GARDEN

Is my artists' group allowed to set up and paint in the Garden?
We welcome artists and photographers to use the Garden for non-commercial purposes. We ask only that you follow our
Guidelines for Visitors and take care not to step or sit in plant beds.

Is the Garden available for use in commercial projects?
Use of the Garden for any commercial purpose is allowed only with a written permit from the East Bay Regional Park District and may require payment of a fee. For more information, contact the East Bay Regional Park District Public Affairs Department at (510) 544-2200.


TOURS

Do you offer tours of the Garden?
We offer free, docent-led public tours of the Garden at 2:00 p.m. on most Saturdays and Sundays. We also offer tours for school classes and other groups by arrangement. If you would like to arrange a tour, please call the Garden at (510) 544-3169. Visit our
Tours page for additional information.

East Bay Regional Park District naturalists also conduct occasional programs in the Garden. Watch for their programs in the Park District publication Regional in Nature or visit the East Bay Regional Park District website for information about these programs.

How much do tours cost?
All docent-led tours of the Garden are free.

Are the weekend tours suitable for small children?
Our weekend tours are suitable for people of all ages. Our docents are trained to lead tours that are enjoyable for children as well as adults.

How do I sign up for a weekend tour?
It is not necessary to sign up for regular weekend tours. Tours begin at the Visitor Center at 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays; you can join a tour just by showing up. For more information, visit our
Tours page.


GARDEN FACTS

How old is the Garden?
The Regional Parks Botanic Garden was founded on Jan. 1, 1940.

What is the size of the Garden?
The Garden is approximately 10 acres in size.

Is the Garden publicly or privately owned? Who owns the Garden?
The Garden is owned and operated by the
East Bay Regional Park District, a special-purpose district that operates the largest urban park system in the United States. The East Bay Regional Park District is a public agency.

Do you have a rose garden?
California has nine species of native roses and we grow them throughout the Garden. However, we do not have a formal rose garden. Formal public rose gardens in our area include the City of Berkeley Rose Garden, 1200 Euclid Avenue in Berkeley; the Morcom Rose Garden, 700 Jean Street in Oakland; and the Garden of Old Roses at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive in Berkeley.

Where is the cactus garden?
We have a fine collection of desert plants that includes a number of species of cacti.
The University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley has a large cactus collection. That garden is located at 200 Centennial Drive on the UC Berkeley campus.

Why do you water the plants in the Garden? Aren't California native plants drought tolerant?
California is unique in the world in its diversity of habitats, topography, and climates. In some parts of the state, annual rainfall is less than 10 inches a year and plants native to these areas are tolerant of prolonged summer drought. In other areas, rainfall is much more plentiful and fog drip can contribute the equivalent of several additional inches of rain during the summer. The Garden's collection includes plants from many different parts of the state. Plants from areas with more summer moisture or cooler temperatures than those in our Berkeley hills location need supplemental water in the summer to survive. Other plants need supplemental water because our clay soil limits the depth of their root systems, or because they grow at high elevation in the wild and need to be kept cool in our warmer climate. In addition, we water some plants that are adapted to survive summer drought by drying or going dormant to keep them looking fresh for our visitors.


PLANT SALES

Do you sell native plants? When is the plant sale?
The Garden holds a big annual sale of native plants on the third Saturday in April every year, rain or shine. We also offer native plants for sale on Thursday mornings, 9:00-11:00 a.m., from May through December. Visit our
Plant Sales page for more information.

How do your prices and selection of plants compare to commercial nurseries?
Thanks to the efforts of volunteers, the prices of our plants are quite reasonable compared to commercial nurseries. Our selection of California native plants is very broad and includes a number of species that are not available anywhere else.

May I donate my empty pots to the Garden?
We often accept gallon-sized plastic pots, but occasionally we become overstocked. Before bringing pots to the Garden, please contact us at (510) 544-3169 or
bgarden@ebparks.org to make sure we can accept them.

What and where is Native Here Nursery?
Native Here Nursery, a project of the
East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, is a volunteer-run, nonprofit nursery specializing in plants native to Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Native Here Nursery is located on Golf Course Road across from the entrance to the Tilden Park Golf Course. Native Here Nursery is not affiliated with the Regional Parks Botanic Garden.


EMPLOYMENT

How many people work at the Garden?
Four gardeners
One supervisor, who also gardens
One director
One senior office assistant
One interpretive student aide (a rotating, temporary position)
Two student laborers during the summer (temporary positions)
Numerous volunteers

How can I get a job at the Garden?
Jobs at the Garden are filled through the Human Resources Department of the East Bay Regional Park District. To learn more about job openings and the application process, visit the
East Bay Regional Park District website or call the Park District office at 1-888-EBPARKS (1-888-327-2757).

Does the Garden offer internships?
Unfortunately, the small size of the Garden's staff does not permit us to offer regular internships. However, we would be glad to talk with students about projects they wish to do that involve work in the Garden.

The Garden has one
interpretive student aide position. This part-time, temporary job is much like an internship. Contact the Garden at (510) 544-3169 or bgarden@ebparks.org for more information.


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

What kinds of
volunteer opportunities does the Garden offer?
There are a number of different ways volunteers can support or work in the Garden:

  • Propagating plants

  • Collecting and packaging seed with the Seedy Friends

  • Leading tours of the Garden as a docent

  • Assisting the gardeners

  • Working on projects with the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden

    If you are interested in volunteering, visit our Volunteer page or contact the Garden at (510) 544-3169 or bgarden@ebparks.org for more information.


    SUPPORTING THE GARDEN FINANCIALLY

    Where does the Garden's funding come from?
    The Garden is operated by the
    East Bay Regional Park District, which provides its primary funding. The East Bay Regional Park District is in turn funded through property tax revenues approved by the voters of Alameda and Contra Costa counties and through fees, grants, and bonds. Supplemental funding for the Garden is provided by our plant sales, through fundraising by the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, and by direct donations to the Garden and to the Regional Parks Botanic Garden Endowment.

    How can I make a financial contribution to the Garden?
    There are a number of ways to make financial contributions to the Garden, including direct
    donations, bequests, gifts in honor or in memory of someone, donations to the Regional Parks Botanic Garden Endowment, and donations to the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. For more information about donations, visit our Support the Garden pages or contact the Garden at (510) 544-3169 or bgarden@ebparks.org.


    FRIENDS OF THE REGIONAL PARKS BOTANIC GARDEN

    How do I join the Friends?
    Click here for a membership form or visit our Friends page for more information.

    Do the Friends hold regular meetings?
    The Friends board of directors meets on the second Wednesday of most months at 10:00 a.m. in the Garden's Visitor Center. Everyone is welcome to attend.

    Whom do I contact about doing volunteer work for the Friends?
    You can find out about doing volunteer work for the Friends by sending email to the Friends at
    info@nativeplants.org or calling the Garden at (510) 544-3169. The Friends welcome volunteers to help with various short-term or long-term projects, including fundraising, event planning, education, and publicity.


    PUBLICATIONS

    Do you offer any publications about native plants?
    The Garden's annual publication,
    The Four Seasons: Journal of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, is devoted to natural history, biology, ecology, conservation, botany, and horticulture, with an emphasis on California's native plants. In addition, the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden organization publishes the quarterly newsletter Manzanita for its members.

    How can I get a copy of The Four Seasons?
    A subscription to the Garden's annual journal, The Four Seasons, is included as a
    benefit of membership in the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. If you are interested in purchasing a specific back issue, contact the Garden at bgarden@ebparks.org or (510) 544-3169 to find out whether it is available. Individual issues published prior to 2004 cost $4; those published from 2004 to the present are $10 each. Send a request noting the volume and issue number, date, and quantity of each issue you wish to purchase along with a check or money order payable to "East Bay Regional Park District" to:
    ATTN: The Four Seasons
    Regional Parks Botanic Garden
    c/o Tilden Regional Park
    Berkeley, CA 94708-2396

    Can I obtain back issues of Manzanita?
    Some back issues of Manzanita are available for purchase. If you know which issue you want, please contact the Friends at
    info@nativeplants.org or call the Garden at (510) 544-3169 to check availability before sending your order. Back issues are available for $4 each by check or money order payable to "Regional Parks Foundation." Mail your order and payment to:
    Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden
    c/o Tilden Regional Park
    Berkeley, CA 94708-2396


    CLASSES AND PROGRAMS

    Do you offer classes at the Garden?
    The Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden organization offers fun and informative classes, field trips, and workshops on botany, natural history, gardening, art, photography, and garden crafts. Visit our
    Events and Classes page for more information.

    When and where do the Wayne Roderick Lectures take place?
    The Wayne Roderick Lectures, a series of free public lectures on a broad array of topics related to plants and natural history, are held in the Garden's Visitor Center at 10:30 a.m. on most Saturday mornings in November through February. Visit our
    Wayne Roderick Lectures page for more information.


    COLLECTING AND RESEARCH IN THE GARDEN

    May I collect seeds, cuttings, leaves, pinecones, berries, mushrooms, plant samples, etc., in the Garden?
    We do not allow collecting of anything in the Garden, even fallen leaves or pinecones, without permission of the Garden staff. If you wish to collect something in the Garden, contact the Garden in advance at (510) 544-3169 or
    bgarden@ebparks.org to obtain permission or talk with the staff when you visit. Because the Garden's collection is limited, students are not allowed to take living specimens for class projects or reports.

    May I do a research project in the Garden?
    We welcome research projects at the Garden provided they are compatible with Garden operations and practices. Please contact the Garden's director or supervisor at 510-544-3169 or
    bgarden@ebparks.org to discuss your project in advance.

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