Digital Content Blog

Keep up with California Botanic Garden!

In these challenging times, as we stay socially distant but not apart, we are working hard to bring California Botanic Garden to you. From virtual tours to online classes, visual galleries to a podcast, there are many ways to stay connected. This webpage brings together all the digital content we are producing so you can be sure you're keeping up with CalBG! You can also follow us on our Facebook and Instagram. If you are able during these difficult circumstances, we would appreciate your support. Please consider making a donation below.


August 30, 2021

CalBG on the Road: Coast Redwoods

We're wrapping up Tree Month with an appreciation for the shade trees provide us during the warm sunny summer months. California Botanic Garden, located in Claremont in Los Angeles County, California, is fortunate to have a small grove of redwoods in our living collection. Follow along to see Coast redwoods in their native habitat in Redwood National Park and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and learn about their environmental interactions.

August 10, 2021

CalBG on the Road: Death Valley and the Niterwort

Take a road trip with CalBG staff out to the extremes of Death Valley! Get a glimpse of what it's like to be a field botanist and the work of the Conservation Staff here at the Garden.

June 26, 2021

Summer Care for California Native Plants with Chip Grubbs

As we head into summer with longer and warmer days, it can be hard to keep your cool when it comes to the care of your California native plants. Is it supposed to look like that? Does it need more water? Is now a good time to prune? Help!  

Don’t sweat it! Learn the answer to these questions and more with the guidance of Chip Grubbs, Horticulturist at CalBG, so you can breeze through the summer care of your garden. Gain insight into general summer care for both newly planted and more established plants, watering techniques, summer pruning and typical maintenance. Look ahead to the next planting season and get tips on garden additions that look great throughout summer, others that are summer dormant, and how to expand your micro habitat for summer wildlife. Now you can sit back and enjoy summer evenings in your garden!

June 22, 2021

Butterfly and Plant Connections with Maria Jesus

Take a stroll with Maria Jesus, graduate student at CalBG, as she highlights some wonderful butterfly and native plant relationships. Come on in for a visit to the Garden to learn about more of these fascinating butterfly and plant connections.

June 12, 2021

Habitat Gardening for Butterflies with Evan Green

With many butterfly species, like the monarch, becoming threatened and endangered, it is important that we help provide suitable habitats for them wherever possible - and that includes in your home garden!

Join us virtually as Evan Green, Horticulturist at CalBG, walks us through all things butterflies! Understand the basic biology of butterflies and which species you are most likely to spot in Southern California. Gain insight into how to best use California native plants in your garden to support butterfly populations, which plant species will provide nectar for adult butterflies or food for caterpillars, and how to maintain those plants year round. With time and a little bit of work, watch as your garden transforms into a butterfly hotspot!

June 11, 2021

Butterfly Biology with Steve Bryant

Join Steve Bryant, biologist and volunteer at CalBG, as he dives into the biology of butterflies! Learn about the lifecycle of a butterfly, host and nectar plants, and how you can help the native butterfly populations of Southern California! Join us this June for Butterfly Month in the Garden! How many butterflies can you spot on your next visit?

June 2, 2021

June Highlights at CalBG!

Come on in to CalBG for a summer sunset stroll! Take advantage of the cooler evenings and our extended hours, now open from 8am - 8pm Tuesdays through Sundays now through the end of August!

May 20, 2021

Maintaining your Established Native Plants: Buckwheats, Ceanothus, Manzanitas, Matilija, and Sages (April 2021 Volunteer Enrichment)

Ashlee Armstrong, CalBG Grounds Manager, presented a talk about maintaining a select number of established plants. She addressed the basic questions about when and how to prune, what to do if the plant is overgrown, how to water new and established plants especially during the summer.

The Power Point slides are provided. Unfortunately, CalBG was not able to fully record the live presentation and follow-up questions.

May 20, 2021

Clayfornia Live from the SoCal Garden

This is a recording of a live tour from Monday, May 10. Join Mary Beierle (Artist at AMOCA Ceramics Studio) and Carrie Kiel (Postdoctoral Fellow at California Botanic Garden) for a live, virtual tour of Clayfornia: Ceramic Sculpture in the California Sunshine. Hear insights about the exhibition, learn about California native plants, and explore this unique collaboration between the California Botanic Garden and the American Museum of Ceramic Art.

May 15, 2021

Seed Saving: Collecting, Processing, Storing and Germinating

As the beauty of spring fades into summer, get ready to put your seed saving hat on! By understanding the process of ethically collecting and saving native seeds, you can ensure future generations of the beautiful flowers and plants in your garden.

Join us virtually to learn how to collect, clean, store, and germinate seeds from your garden. With the guidance of Cheryl Birker, Seed Conservation Program Manager at CalBG, and Steven Valdez, Lead Nursery Technician at CalBG, get a behind the scenes look of what we do to conserve native seeds through our Seed Bank and Grow Native Nursery here at CalBG and what you can do at home. We will focus on the what, when, where and how of seed collecting, understanding how to clean and process seeds in preparation for proper storage, and how to germinate seeds when the time comes. Feel poised to carry your abundant garden this year into the next, and for many more to come.

May 8, 2021

Arrange Wild with Linda Prendergast

This is a recording of the Arrange Wild class held on May 8.

Learn to create a wonderfully spring-themed arrangement with pops of pinks, purples, oranges and yellows that will be sure to bring joy to all that take in its beauty! With the expert guidance of Linda Prendergast of CalBG’s Native Designs, you will learn the steps to make a fabulous spring floral arrangement. As you get to know the aesthetic characteristics of these beautiful flowers, our horticulture staff will bring insight into their horticultural value and help you learn how to grow and maintain these native plants at home.

May 1, 2021

May Highlights at CalBG

Our spring favorites like the California poppy, firecracker penstemon, and douglas iris are still going strong, but now they have some new friends in bloom to join them! See if you can spot the beautiful blooms of chick lupine, elegant clarkia, or the flowers of the hedgehog cactus on your next visit to CalBG!

April 23, 2021

Wildflower of the Week: Lupine!

Join Maria Jesus, graduate student at CalBG, as she takes a walk on the wildflower side! Take a look at the beauty of the wonderful wildflower, Lupine. Learn some tips on how to identify different species in this, sometimes tricky to differentiate, genus. Want to enjoy the beauty of these wildflowers at home? There are multiple varieties available at the Grow Native Nursery Online Store.

April 22, 2021

Wildflower Bloom and Bust Cycles

This is a recording of the webinar held on April 22 with Maria Jesus. Many of us have been able to experience the magic of vibrant hillsides showing a kaleidoscope of colors during a superbloom in California, but why isn't every year a superbloom year? J

Join us to learn all about the bloom and bust cycles of California’s native wildflowers. Follow Maria Jesus, M.S. Botany student at Claremont Graduate University at CalBG, as she takes you on a virtual tour to several beloved wildflower hotspots around the state and tells you the best strategies for wildflower viewing during dry years like 2021. Walk away with a better understanding about how our changing world could impact superblooms of the future and efforts to conserve California's unique plant diversity.

April 15, 2021

Clayfornia Live from the Cultivar Garden

This is a recording of a live tour from Monday, April 12 at 12pm. Join Grayson Fair (Artist in Residence at the American Museum of Ceramic Art) and Danielle Wildasinn (Visitor Experience Coordinator at the California Botanic Garden) for a virtual tour of Clayfornia: Ceramic Sculpture in the California Sunshine. Hear insights about the exhibition, learn about California native plants, and explore this unique collaboration between the California Botanic Garden and the American Museum of Ceramic Art.

April 14, 2021

Wildflower of the Week: Penstemon!

Join Keir Morse, PhD student at CalBG, and take a closer look at the wonderful perennial herb, penstemon! Take a walk in the Garden and see how many species of penstemon you can find! Can you find one with an actual beardtongue? Want to enjoy the beauty of these wildflowers at home? There are multiple varieties available at the Grow Native Nursery Online Store.

April 8, 2021

Virtual Garden of Verses

April is Poetry Month! Poets Zoomed in from all over the southland on Saturday, April 3 to share a day of poetry.

April 7, 2021

Wildflower of the Week: California Poppy!

Join Maria Jesus, graduate student at CalBG, and take a closer look into our state flower, the California poppy! Come on in for a walk in the Garden to see these vibrant orange blooms in person. Want to enjoy the beauty of these wildflowers at home? Grab a seed packet from Grow Native Nursery's Online Store and plant some in a pot on your patio or scatter around your yard in the fall for a delightfully orange yard next spring!

April 6, 2021

April Highlights at CalBG

The Garden has come alive with color and wildlife activity! Come on in for a walk in the Garden to see all the beautiful native wildflowers in bloom! Can you spot some special pollinator friends on your visit?

March 27, 2021

Nature Photography with Keir Morse

Nature comes in such a diversity of intriguing shapes, patterns and colors! But that moment of visual ‘awe’ or ‘aha’ can be a challenge to capture and preserve in our photographs. Learn to get the most out of your camera as you explore the natural world around you!

Join us as Keir Morse, botanist and photographer, introduces the basics of photography. Gain insight into camera settings such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO and more. With the use of example photographs, you will be able to visualize the effects of these settings and begin to understand when and why you may want to use them. This webinar will leave you inspired and ready to capture the beauty of spring in Southern California! Test out your new photography skills with a visit to the Garden!

March 10, 2021

Eating California! Using Native Plants in your Diet and Garden with Antonio Sanchez

Locally grown foods and low-water landscaping are all the rage right now, but a quick trip to a farmer's market or a commercial nursery will showcase almost no California native plants. You may be surprised that among the more than 6,000 plants native to California, hundreds are not only edible, easy to use and delicious, but great low-water additions to your home garden as well!

Join us as native food enthusiast Antonio Sanchez, Nursery Manager of the Santa Monica Mountains Fund, discusses the ancient and emerging field of California native foods and their cultivation. Learning from and paying honor to many living traditions that have been passed down by local indigenous peoples, this unique lecture explores how old ways can combine with new ways to find a place in local gardens and kitchens. Explore some of the many native California plants that you can grow at home and incorporate into your diet.

March 9, 2021

March Highlights at CalBG

Come for a walk at the Garden this month to take in the first signs of spring! Rediscover the Garden with all your senses. The smell of California lilac (ceanothus sp.) will enchant you, the bright pops of color around each corner are sure to bring you joy, and the sounds of birds chirping are full of delight. Don't miss the beauty of March at CalBG!

February 27, 2021

Habitat Gardening for Birds and Other Pollinators with Chip Grubbs

This is a recording of the Habitat Gardening for Birds and Other Pollinators class led by Chip Grubbs on Feb. 27, 2021.

Join us virtually as Chip Grubbs, Horticulturist at CalBG discusses the care requirements for various native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers that attract and support different types of birds. Learning how to incorporate a diverse plant palette in your garden will bring birds and pollinators to your garden year-round.  As you learn how to take care of a variety of plants, you will ensure they have a long, healthy life providing food and shelter for your favorite winged friends. With a little time and effort, you can build healthy plant habitats that help to build healthy bird populations!

February 25, 2021

Preparing for the Future by Preserving the Past (February 2021 Volunteer Enrichment)

Have you ever had to deal with “preserving” old photographs, scrapbooks, and other personal collections? Then you won’t want to miss the February Volunteer Enrichment presented by CalBG Archivist Rachel Poutasse. After a brief overview of the archival collections in the CalBG library, she will review some basic principles of preservation and give us some tips and tricks for handling papers, photographs, artwork, audiovisual material, and more.

Rachel Poutasse joined the Garden in 2013 as a curatorial assistant in the Herbarium and later became workroom manager. In 2015, she worked with CalBG librarian Irene Holiman and volunteer John Bradley on the Marcus E. Jones archive and curated an exhibition on his life and achievements as a late-nineteenth-century botanist. Rachel left the Garden in 2017 to attend UCLA, where she obtained a Masters in Library and Information Science with a specialization in Archival Studies. Since that time, she has applied her arts as an intern in the archives of the Museum of Northern Arizona and the Getty Research Institute. She returned to the Garden in October 2020 and is currently working with Irene to survey and catalog the archives and develop guidelines for processing and preserving the collections.

February 24, 2021

Dames in the Garden: Women Who Shaped California's Landscape (January 2021 Volunteer Enrichment)

Dames in the Garden: Women Who Shaped California’s Landscape, presented by Peggy Perry, is a survey of women horticulturists, designers, botanist, and conservationists who left a legacy still seen in California today.

Peggy Perry is a professor emeritus in the Department of Plant Sciences at Cal Poly Pomona. Among the courses she taught over her 42-year career were California Native Plant Materials and History of Garden Art. These subjects merge in her research on women in California’s landscape history. Peggy serves on the Board Trustees at CalBG. She is also a member of the Susanna Bixby Bryant Legacy Garden Project.

We hope you will find this a fascinating subject that will enhance your knowledge of California’s place in the plant world and in women’s history.

February 23, 2021

Owl Hour with Bob Everett of Wild Wings of California

Spend some time with Bob Everett, wild bird rehabilitator and founder of the non-profit organization Wild Wings of California, and his three feathered friends. Get to know Odie, the screech owl, Honey, the barn owl, and Bruce, the great horned owl, and find out what makes them tick. Learn about their habitats, unique behaviors, and amazing adaptations that make them such great nocturnal hunters. Enjoy this informative video with the whole family!

February 12, 2021

Introduction to Birding with Tina Stoner of Pomona Valley Audubon Society

This is a recording of the Introduction to Birding Class led by Tina Stoner, President of the Pomona Valley Audubon Society on February 13, 2021.

Birdwatching is a wonderful way to connect with nature, get a breath of fresh air, and learn a little more about the diverse bird populations in your area. Dive into the wonderful world of birding as you learn the basics of getting to know the birds around you. You will establish a foundation for an enriching hobby that will give you a lifetime of joy!  

Join us as Tina Stoner, President of Pomona Valley Audubon Society, walks you through how to use the tools of the trade (binoculars and field guides), keeping records, and how to identify birds by using the four fundamentals of birding. Have your binoculars and field guides handy for the class if you have them. Put your newly acquired skills into practice with a birdwatching visit to the Garden. All birding levels encouraged to join!

January 23, 2021

Pruning Techniques for CA Natives Class with Ashlee Armstrong, Grounds Manager at CalBG

This is a recording of the Pruning Techniques for CA Natives led by Ashlee Armstrong on Jan. 23, 2021.

You’ve successfully planted and nurtured your new native plants into thriving, beautifully full plants, but what do you do when those plants become a little too unwieldy? Join us virtually to learn some tips and tricks for how to prune and shape your native plants when the time comes. By pruning you will stimulate plants to make fresh growth, thus keeping them youthful looking and, often, flowering more abundantly. Guided by Ashlee Armstrong, Grounds Manager at CalBG, you will gain insight into the objectives of pruning, techniques for pruning perennial shrubs, subshrubs, and small trees, what tools to use, and general pruning timelines for common native plants. We hope you will walk away with the confidence to tackle even the most daunting of pruning tasks that may await you.

December 22, 2020

Create Your Legacy

This is a recording of our Create Your Legacy webinar held on Zoom on December 10.

Have you thought about how you would like to be remembered? If you have, perhaps your thoughts have centered on ways you can leave an enduring legacy that reflects how you helped others and the good that you achieved during life. The right plan for you depends on your personal situation and your goals. To put your goals into effect, you need to develop your plan for leaving a legacy through a will or trust. Join us to learn about how to provide for and protect yourself and your family, while also benefiting the organizations you care about.

Marivel Zialcita is the founder of MMZ Law; she has been an attorney for over 18 years and practices in the area of trust and estate. She is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters. Recently, she presented seminars at the National Business Institute, New York Life, and Chaffey Federal Credit Union. Marivel received her Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law, ABA/AALS, of San Diego. She strives to create value and a meaningful experience for all her clients in order to deliver on her promise to stand for them in their life and their legacy.

December 12, 2020

Arrange Wild: Winter Edition

This is a recording of the Arrange Wild: Winter Edition Class held on Dec. 12 lead by Linda Prendergast of Native Designs.

Although the holidays will look a little bit different this year, there are many ways we can still find a sense of peace and joy. A brisk walk through the Garden, a cup of hot cider, and of course, the smell of fir and pine. Learn how to create a little bit of that festive feeling and fill your home with a wonderfully fragrant holiday centerpiece. Follow along with us virtually in this workshop on December 12th, as Linda Prendergast of Native Designs, a volunteer group at CalBG, will lead us through the steps of making a festive holiday centerpiece. Gain insight into the ecological qualities of the native greenery used in your arrangement with knowledge from Lucinda McDade, Executive Director at CalBG.

December 5, 2020

Propagation: Seeds, Cuttings and Divisions - Horticulture Class with CalBG Lead Nursery Technician Steven Valdez

This is a recording of the Propagation: Seeds, Cuttings and Divisions Class held on December 5, 2020.

The reward of watching a tiny seed grow into a thriving plant is like nothing else! Participants joined us virtually on Saturday, December 5 at 11 AM to learn some of the tricks of the trade when it comes to native plant propagation. With the guidance of Steven Valdez, Lead Nursery Technician at CalBG and Master Gardener, we focused on multiple methods of propagation including seed starting, cuttings, and divisions. Students became familiar with some of the tools and materials we use in the Garden’s nursery and learned what is practical to do at home. We hope everyone walked away feeling inspired to begin starting their very own native plants from scratch!

November 18, 2020

Conservation Stories: A Virtual Lecture Series featuring Maria Jesus

This is a recording of talk given by Maria Jesus, M.S. student at Claremont Graduate University (and California Botanic Garden) on Tuesday, November 17 as a part of our Conservation Stories: A Virtual Lecture series.

During this presentation, Maria Jesus discusses the Conglomerate Mesa located in the Southern Inyo Mountains with CalBG Director of Conservation Programs, Naomi Fraga

Maria Jesus is a graduate student at Claremont Graduate University (at California Botanic Garden) where she is completing a vascular flora of the southern Inyo Mountains. Thanks to a chance encounter with a plant identification course during her undergraduate English studies, Maria abandoned plans to become a librarian and found her way to field botany. She has since completed several field seasons monitoring plants in the Chihuahuan Desert, Sonoran Desert, Southern Plains, Southern Cascades, and the Great Basin. Just prior to graduate school, she managed a multi-agency vegetation monitoring program aimed at informing adaptive management of public lands. Maria is a Switzer Fellow (2019) and is passionate about advancing native plant conservation through her floristic research and beyond.

November 17, 2020

Taste Wild II: Savor the Fall

This is a recording of our Taste Wild II webinar held on Zoom on November 14.

California Botanic Garden partnered with As You Like It, one of our fabulous caterers at the Garden, and Abe Sanchez of the Chia Café Collective (CCC). CCC is a group of local tribal members and collaborators that honors indigenous people and their vast traditional knowledge of the nutritional and medicinal bounty of native plants.  

The virtual event included a keynote address from Abe Sanchez of CCC. Our Caterer, As You Like It, shared some of their experiences in crafting these delectable foods. We then tasted each item and introduced the recipe and ingredients. Abe shared insights about the nutritional aspects, flavors and cultural relevance of the included plants. California Botanic Garden staff shared the ecological importance of each species.

November 11, 2020

Susanna's Wild Garden: A Living Legacy (Fall 2020 Volunteer Enrichment Presentation)

This is a recording of our Fall 2020 Volunteer Enrichment held on Zoom on Monday, November 9.

This first Volunteer Enrichment for the 2020-2021 year was entitled “Susanna’s Wild Garden: A Living Legacy.” California Botanic Garden, previously Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, has a very rich back story within the history of Southern California horticulture and the life of Susanna Bixby Bryant. The Board of Overseers, now called the Advisory Council, has created the Susanna Bixby Bryant Legacy Project and charged it with establishing a legacy garden to pay tribute to CalBG’s founder. To get a feel for who Susanna was and lay the groundwork for the development of this garden, historical and biographical research is being done by John Bradley, Yvonne Wilson, and Peggy Perry. As a result of their work, a body of information is becoming available for the use of the legacy garden creators. At this time, we also want to inform CalBG volunteers and members of our work. We hope you can join us to for a review of the past that is leading us to the development of the future.

November 11, 2020

Mothing: Night Study

With the new moon coming up this weekend on November 15, we thought we would provide you all with a fun moth hunting video! Join graduate student Christina Varnava in setting up a light colored sheet with some lights to attract and study moths at night. It is best to do this experiment on a new moon when there is the least amount of moonlight. Be sure to try this experiement in other seasons and you will surely have different species of moths visit your set up. Let us know if you try this and what you find!

For more family friendly activities based on nocturnal knowledge, check our our Things That Go Bump in the Night activity boxes here:

November 10, 2020

Plants in a Changing World: California Diversity, Species Distributions, and Climate Change

The Collections Connection is an online educational resource to guide student participants in building knowledge of California native plants and collections-based science as a means to provide educational opportunities in biodiversity science and inspire students to contemplate careers in disciplines relevant to plant science and natural history collections. These modules are relevant to both undergraduate and high school students. We invite students and educators to utilize these resources in your classrooms and curricula. Plants in a Changing World: California Diversity, Species Distributions, and Climate Change. Through this video students can explore the incredible plant diversity of California, one of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots, and how climate change may threaten our state's native diversity. The accompanying exercise utilizes the Garden's Herbarium specimens and various mapping resources to examine characteristics of several native plants, map their distributions, and through modeling approaches, determine how climate change may influence future distributions and diversity.

October 30, 2020

Amphibian Fun: Origami Tutorial

Join graduate student Christina Varnava for video about amphibians! First, we learn some fun facts about amphibians, including the ones you can find here in the Garden. Then, Christina shows us how to fold two amphibian origami crafts that come in our Things That Go Bump in the Night activity box!

Jump on over to our website and buy your own Things That Go Bump in the Night activity box! It includes the supplies for these origami crafts and SO MUCH MORE!

Bump Boxes:

October 27, 2020

Planting with Natives: Horticulture Class with CalBG Lead Nursery Technician Steven Valdez

This is a recording of the Planting with Natives horticulture class held on Saturday, October 24.

The benefits of planting with natives are vast! Aside from the wonderful aesthetic qualities and pops of vivid color natives bring to your garden, by planting species most suited to this Mediterranean climate, you will conserve water and support our local pollinators and seed dispersers... not to mention being able to enjoy wonderful wildlife viewing!

In preparation for your fall planting, join us Saturday, October 24 from 11 am to 12 pm for our virtual Planting with Natives horticulture class via Zoom. With the guidance of Steven Valdez, Lead Production Technician at CalBG and Master Gardener, learn about some tried and true native plant performers for most garden environments, shade versus full sun selections, how to prepare your site for planting, watering and basic tips for new plants and how to adapt their care as they become established.

Armed with your new native planting knowledge, visit the online Grow Native Nursery - open to the public on November 5th - to make selections for your fall planting.

October 22, 2020

Conservation Stories: A Virtual Lecture featuring Sophia Winitsky

This is a recording of a previous lecture. This fall, join us via Zoom every third Tuesday of the month from 6 pm - 7 pm for an evening of conversation about conservation.

Sophia Winitsky, Ph.D. student at Montana State University

Discussing the Adobe Valley with Director of Conservation Programs, Naomi Fraga

Tuesday, October 20 | 6pm - 7pm

Sophie Winitsky is a botanist from Los Angeles CA. Her interest in conservation stems from a love of biodiversity and California. For her MS, completed at California Botanic Garden, she compiled a floristic inventory of Adobe Valley in Mono County, CA. She is currently a PhD student at Montana State University working on the systematics, biogeography and conservation of the legume genus Marina. She has worked for the California Native Plant Society, the Jepson Herbarium and with the Inyo National Forest.

October 5, 2020

Summer 2020 Artist Residency Talk

This video is from a moderated panel discussion with the five exhibiting artists of our Summer 2020 Artist Residency program.

Our conversation focused on the intersections between art and native plants, and how the artists adapted to new modes of presenting their work that extend beyond the walls of the gallery and other traditional formats.  

Each artist gave a micro presentation focusing on the ideas behind the work they created during the residency, as well as their larger creative practice. The artists further talked about the unique experiences and insights gained from their visits to the Garden.

Artists include: Margaret Gallagher, Hannah Michael Flynn, Miwa Matreyek, Eliza Swann, and John Zappas.

The Artist Talk was held on Tuesday, September 22 from 6 PM - 7 PM. The virtual and onsite exhibitions launched on Friday, August 28th, 2020. The virtual exhibition ends on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 and the onsite exhibition ends Thursday, October 1, 2020.

October 2, 2020

Virtual Tour: Dormancy PSA

Join graduate student Christina Varnava for a fun educational video where we explore dormancy in California native plants!

September 16, 2020

Conservation Stories: A Virtual Lecture featuring Naomi Fraga

This is a recording of a previous lecture. This fall, join us via Zoom every third Tuesday of the month from 6 pm - 7 pm for an evening of conversation about conservation.

Naomi Fraga Ph.D., CalBG Director of Conservation Programs

Discussing the San Bernardino Mountains with CalBG Executive Director, Lucinda McDade

Tuesday, September 15 | 6 pm - 7 pm

Naomi Fraga joined the staff of CalBG in 2001 as an intern in the herbarium. As she gained experience through education and hands-on learning, she became responsible for programmatic leadership and management of the field studies program - early version of today’s conservation program - in 2003. Since 2015 she has served as the Director of Conservation Programs. Naomi earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in Botany from Claremont Graduate University (at California Botanic Garden) and her B.S. in Botany from Cal Poly Pomona. Naomi is passionate about plant conservation and her research focus includes plant systematics, floristics, rare plant biology, and pollination biology. In addition to her role at the Garden, Naomi serves as the Secretary for Southern California Botanists, as chair of the Environment and Public Policy Committee for the American Society for Plant Taxonomy, and as Treasurer for the Amargosa Conservancy. You can learn more about Naomi's research on her website

August 31, 2020

Podcast Episode 9: Diversity in the Plant Sciences

#BlackBotanistsWeek, a campaign first organized in July 2020 to "promote, encourage, create a safe space for, and find more Black people (and BIPOC) who love plants!," sparked a nation-wide dialogue on the vital and ongoing need to make the plant sciences more inclusive, accessible and diverse. Black people (and BIPOC) have faced systemic racism in related professions, in addition to plaguing discrimination that haunts people of color outdoors and in the field - such as the incident that happened to Audubon Board Member Christian Cooper in New York's Central Park.

On this episode of Forever California, we hand the mic to Naomi Fraga, PhD, Director of Conservation Programs at California Botanic Garden, as she stewards a panel discussion on diversity in the plant sciences. Joining Naomi are scientists, activists, professors and community leaders who share their experiences discovering botany and moving the needle forward for inclusion in the field.

Panelists include:

  • Tanisha Williams, PhD: one of the founders of #BlackBotanistsWeek and a Postdoctoral Researcher Bucknell University
  • Ann Sakai, PhD: Professor, University of California, Irvine
  • Muriel Poston, PhD: Professor of Environmental Analysis, Pitzer College
  • Joel Abraham, PhD: Associate Professor, California State University Fullerton

August 31, 2020

Nature Journaling

This is a recording of the Nature Journaling class held on Saturday, August 29. Join us for a moment of observation and reflection through the lens of nature journaling. By using a combination of art, writing, and science, nature journaling helps to form a deeper connection to the natural world around us. Hone your observation skills and free your creativity in this two-hour webinar with the guidance of botanical illustrator Brittany Burgard. In this class, you will learn about the historical context of nature journaling, practice warm up exercises to get you started, and spend time labeling and fine tuning the details of your illustrations. Use these skills on your next walk through the Garden to take a breath, slow down, and discover something new.

July 30, 2020

Freeze Wild

Get ready for an epic and utterly delicious fusion of California native plants and ice cream for our first-ever Freeze Wild event! California Botanic Garden partnered with Bert & Rocky's Cream Company in Claremont to create three unique flavors of ice cream that speak to the true flavors of California. Join CalBG staff David Bryant, Director of Visitor Experience, and Lucinda McDade, Executive Director, as they taste these frozen treats and share the botanical backstories of these wild flavors.

July 16, 2020

Virtual Tour: California Superlatives

Join graduate student Nina House as we explore the state of California all while on site here at California Botanic Garden! She's taking us on a tour of California's Superlatives. From the oldest to the tallest to the biggest native plants, Nina shares some interesting insights about all of them! We couldn't possibly assign one to be the 'Best,' that just wouldn't be fair!

July 11, 2020

Podcast Episode 8: What a Seed Wants, What a Seed Needs

California Botanic Garden is home to the California Seed Bank, the largest collection of seeds that are stored to safeguard the future for native plants. We have banked conservation seed collections of roughly one-third of all species native to California. We endeavor to collect seeds from every species to ensure the survival of our invaluable and absolutely irreplaceable flora. Part of the job of Cheryl Birker, Seed Conservation Program Manager, is to conduct germination trials to test the viability of seeds in storage. To do this, she has to figure out that perfect recipe, the perfect trick, to trigger plants to grow. On this episode, we’ll learn about these germination trials and techniques  - from smoke water to “disturbance” - that Cheryl has implemented to get seeds growing as well as the fundamental purpose and incredible work that goes on at the California Seed Bank at California Botanic Garden.

June 14, 2020

Arrange Wild

This is a recording of our Arrange Wild class, a virtual program where participants learned how to make a flower arrangement with California native plants. We were thrilled to bring a little bit of our blooming garden right to people's homes! In this recording, you can follow along as we go through how to arrange a beautiful arrangement using native flowers grown right here at California Botanic Garden. Linda Prendergast, head of Native Designs, a CalBG volunteer group that grows California native plants for use in exquisite flower arrangements, walks us through how to skillfully arrange a fabulous floral showpiece. As you get to know the aesthetic characteristics of these beautiful flowers, Peter Evans, Director of Horticulture, will bring insight into growing and maintaining these native plants at home.

May 29, 2020

Podcast Episode 7: A Squirrelly Saga

Squirrels are one of the most animated and assured kinds of wildlife visitors will encounter here at California Botanic Garden. These fluffy, scruffy and nutty denizens love our California native plants. There are actually three species that reside here - the western gray squirrel, ground squirrel and eastern fox squirrel. Of the three, the fox squirrel is invasive, a species that was brought to Southern California by human means. Its presence here brings up questions about the future of our western gray squirrels in the garden, as fox squirrels have been displacing and extricating our native tree squirrel here in the LA basin.

On this episode, we talk with squirrel expert and Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences of Cal State LA, Alan Muchlinski. Alan has been researching the impacts of fox squirrels on our native western gray squirrels for decades and has spent the past 11 years studying the populations of these two squirrel species at the Garden. He has discovered some interesting relationships and surprising correlations about our resident squirrels. Tune in to hear more about this epic saga of the most squirrelly nature.

May 16, 2020

Taste Wild

This video is a recording of the Taste Wild virtual event hosted by California Botanic Garden (CalBG). Participants enjoyed a delicious spread of desserts lovingly crafted with native flowers, herbs and other ingredients. The virtual event provided a tasting experience with CalBG staff, As You Like It Events & Catering and Abe Sanchez of the Chia Café Collective (CCC). As You Like It prepared all of the desserts and provided culinary expertise and recommendations. Abe shared the amazing culinary uses, cultural legacies and health benefits of the remarkable species incorporated into each dessert. CCC is a group of local tribal members and collaborators that honors indigenous people and their vast traditional knowledge and spiritual relationship to the land, as well as the nutritional and medicinal bounty of native plants. Naomi Fraga, Director of Conservation Programs at CalBG, provided insight about the ecological context of each plant species.

May 5, 2020

Virtual Tour: Tasty Native Foods

There are remarkable flavors and extensive culinary heritages that surround California native plants. Indigenous people have been stewarding California's flora for thousands of years; the fact we get to enjoy native plant recipes today is a testament to that legacy. Join David Bryant, Director of Visitor Experience, on a tour of some of his favorite edible plants that grow well in a Garden and provide a bounty of herbs and even fruit!

May 1, 2020

Podcast Episode 6: The Butterfly Connection

There are many species of native butterflies in California. These winged gems, symbols of beauty, depend on California native plants for survival. We call this the butterfly connection!

We are unfortunately unable to open our beloved Butterfly Pavilion this year, an exhibit that showcases native butterflies and their favorite host and nectar plants, but we are excited to share the wonders of these remarkable organisms with you virtually. Join us in conversation with Butterfly Pavilion volunteer and Professor Emeritus of Biology of Cal Poly Pomona Steve Bryant and Butterly Specialist, Marion McGinnis, as we discuss native butterfly species and how to attract and raise them! Whether you have a big backyard or a balcony, you can cultivate plants that support and draw in these gorgeous creatures. From the iconic monarchs to dazzling tiger swallowtails, California dogfaces to the masses of painted ladies, California is abounding with butterflies. But these important pollinators could use many more native plants as further habitat is disturbed and developed. Give them a hand (or host or nectar plant) and support our local butterflies!

April 24, 2020

Podcast Episode 5: Hidden Lake Bluecurls

A hidden lake, a sky island, an incredibly rare plant: these may sound like the makings of a fantasy novel, but they are parts of an amazing conservation success story. Hidden Lake bluecurls (Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum) live only along the shoreline of Mt San Jacinto's only lake, one that appears and disappears like a mirage depending upon annual precipitation. This adorable plant — tiny, aromatic and purple-flowered — was once considered so threatened that it was federally listed. Thanks to the remarkable work of California Botanic Garden's Conservation Programs, California State Parks and US Fish and Wildlife Service, this species has been successfully delisted because of important protective measures and field research conducted by these agencies.

In this episode we hear from our Director of Conservation, Naomi Fraga, PhD, about the different conservation programs she oversees at the Garden and the saga of the Hidden Lake bluecurls!

April 24, 2020

Virtual Tour: City Nature Challenge!

Join graduate student Marty Purdy on an adventure through the Garden to learn how to capture effective photos to submit to citizen science platforms like iNaturalist. We are participating in the @CityNatureChallenge, a global biodiversity celebration happening from April 24 - May 3 consisting of two parts. First is a period of sharing observations of nature in and around our neighborhoods followed by a period of identifying the species that were observed.

We hope you join us to learn more about the nature around us! As we stay safe at home and in our neighborhoods this year, we have a chance to better understand the biodiversity in our cities and communities.

April 17, 2020

Podcast Episode 4: Native Plants Next Door

April 11-19 is Native Plant Week! We are celebrating a bit differently during these challenging times by taking a moment each day to appreciate the fabulous native plants that live right next door. On this week's episode, Native Plants Next Door, we're partnering with the fabulous California Native Plant Society to discuss the local plants that live in our communities and the actions we can take to care for these botanical neighbors.

Across California, our communities are associated with distinctive native plants - plants that provide vital resources for the wildlife that depend on and love them. In our neighborhoods, native plants are often right in front of our eyes, right under - or over! - our noses. From the stately coast live oak on the street corner, to a flourish of wildflowers in a roadway median, to the chaparral that brushes up against the backyard. For many of us, our home gardens also contribute native plant neighbors. Whether in small or large patches, these native plants contribute to improve environmental quality for all of us and are intrinsic to what makes California, California.

April 12, 2020

Virtual Tour: Barn Owls!

Join Lisa Pritchard, CalBG's Education Coordinator, as we look for evidence of barn owls in our California fan palm oasis! Sure enough, we'll stumble on an owl pellet and Lisa will walk us through how to dissect the bony treasures within! Will she uncover the skeleton of a vole, shrew or other rodent?

As you walk your neighborhood, see if you can spot evidence of barn owls. If you want to try your own owl pellet dissection, we recommend @Acorn Naturalists as a great source:

April 10, 2020

Podcast Episode 3: Chaparral Ferns in the SoCal Sun

The majority of ferns used in California landscapes are non-native and water-loving; low-water-use alternatives are rarely available. We're working to introduce five native, low-water-use fern species to the nursery trade that are uniquely adapted to California's Mediterranean climate.

Join us in conversation with Ashlee Armstrong, CalBG's Grounds Manager and leader of the Chaparral Fern Project supported by the Saratoga Horticultural Research Endowment. We'll discuss this multi-year project that has taken Ashlee and fellow staff out into the wilds of Southern California to collect these marvelous chaparral ferns and established them in test plots at CalBG. Ashlee will share progress on our horticultural trials aimed at testing the viability of chaparral ferns in the home landscape.

Lucinda McDade, Executive Director, will shed light on the ecology of these chaparral ferns including how they interact (or not) with herbivores.

April 7, 2020

Virtual Tour: Who's Thirsty

Join David Bryant, Director of Visitor Experience, on a rainy day adventure and meet some California native plants that are more thirsty than most! From giant chain ferns to seep monkeyflowers, there are some fabulous plants that appreciate a bigger gulp of water here in our Golden State and in our home gardens. Find out who on this virtual Garden tour!

April 4, 2020

Podcast Episode 2: Native Gardening 10FUN

California native plants are the perfect choice for home gardeners in California! They can be exquisitely beautiful, are often quintessentially water-wise, support a vibrant web of life and speak to an aesthetic unique to California.

In today's episode, we're going to learn some foolproof native plants to consider in your home garden or landscape. In conversation with Peter Evans, Director of Horticulture at California Botanic Garden, we'll discuss some hardy species and cultivars to consider that can handle brown thumbs while looking absolutely beautiful. We'll also ask members of our Horticulture team about what plants they've found to be fairly indestructible and garden-friendly in their experience cultivating California natives.

April 2, 2020

Online Class: Leaf Printing

Join Lisa Pritchard, our Community Education Coordinator, in making this fun, easy, nature-inspired craft that's great for kids and adults alike!

Be sure to send us your photos if you make this craft and we will share them!

March 30, 2020

Virtual Tour: Shady Characters

Let's meet some shady characters at California Botanic Garden! There are some marvelous California native plants to consider for shady gardens, shadier spots in the yard or even in containers on shady balconies and patios! Take a walk with David Bryant and meet these low light beauties!

March 27, 2020

Podcast Episode 1: Lo & Behold

On our very first episode, we are taking flight, well nearly with Lo & Behold. That's his full name, but we tend to call him Lo, or little owl. Lo is a ridiculously cute great horned owlet who has quite an owldessy. He has fallen out of his nest not once, but twice, and to keep things light in these very challenging times, I'm going to fastforward and say he is safe now and cuddled up with mom in a Cadillac of owl's nests. Thanks to the amazing work and intervention of my colleagues at California Botanic Garden, Lo has been routinely rescued and expertly placed back in increasingly fool-proof nests.

March 25, 2020

Virtual Tour: Grow Native Nursery

Grow Native Nursery has reopened for pickup orders! We are excited to make our California native plants available for purchase on our new ecommerce site. All orders will receive a 10% discount; Garden members get 15% off!

March 22, 2020

Virtual Tour: Channel Islands

Join David Bryant, Director of Visitor Experience, and Lucinda McDade, Executive Director, on a fun-filled tour of some rare and remarkable plants from the Channel Islands, growing at California Botanic Garden! These are challenging times and we hope these tours spread a little botanical joy. Please consider supporting us at See you on the next tour

March 21, 2020

Virtual Tour: Sages all Around Us

California is rich with fragrant sages — marvelous plants that are important for native wildlife, beautiful in a Garden and steeped in ethnobotanical history. Join David Bryant on a sage tour through the Garden and discover some of our favorites!

March 20, 2020

Virtual Tour: A Sensory Walk

While the Garden is closed in response to LA County and statewide orders, we will be working to bring our California native plants to you! Follow David Bryant, Director of Visitor Experience, through a sensory trail today and find out about the sights, smells and tastes of some of our fabulous flora.