Visiting the Regional Parks Botanic Garden
by Sue Rosenthal on January 01, 2007
In summer, the Sierran section, the garden's largest, is studded with blooming poppies, monkeyflowers, penstemons, and buckwheats.
Photo by S.W. Edwards
The Regional Parks Botanic Garden, in Tilden Regional Park, is a 10-acre landscape of plants native to California. The garden includes ten sections corresponding to ten geographic regions of the state, all woven into a beautiful naturalistic landscape of trees, shrubs, perennials, ferns, grasses, and wildflowers.
Location, Hours, and Contact Information
The Regional Parks Botanic Garden is located at the intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive in Tilden Regional Park (in the hills between Berkeley and Orinda).
Open daily, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25
The Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden web site provides information about classes, tours, lectures, special events, docent training, volunteer opportunities, plant collections and garden layout, seasonal highlights, driving directions, membership in the Friends, and other ways to make donations to the garden.
The East Bay Regional Park District web site for the garden includes basic information about hours and garden layout as well as maps of the garden and its location in Tilden Park.
Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., year-round
Tours start from the Visitor Center near the main garden entrance.
Docent-led tours last about an hour and are suitable for people of all ages. Each tour is unique but all encompass seasonal highlights of the garden.
2007 Winter Lectures (the Wayne Roderick Lecture Series)
10:30 a.m. on Saturdays, November through February, in the Botanic Garden’s Visitor Center. Free to the public. These lectures are very popular, so arrive early to assure you’ll have a seat.
“Exploring the Knoxville wilderness of eastern Napa County”-Dick O—Donnell
“Thirteen lilies (+ more): a loop tour of northern California”-Larry Abers
“Botanical adventures in the channel islands: Dudleya and other rarities”-
Ecology of Pleistocene megafauna and the first Americans”-Steve Edwards
“Mount Diablo”-Steve Edwards
“Geologic highlights and hotspots of the San Francisco Bay Region”-Doris
“California Indian material culture”-Steve Edwards
“John Muir: An inordinate fondness for plants. The study of John Muir—s
herbarium” -Bonnie Gisel and Stephen Joseph
Classes are offered throughout the year by the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden and include lectures, field trips, and hands-on workshops.
Enrollment is limited, so sign up early.
For more information about classes, visit http://www.nativeplants.org/events.html or contact Jo McCondochie at (510)531-8122.
Native Plant Sale
Annual sale: Third Saturday in April, 10 a.m.- p.m., featuring thousands of plants from around the state, many of which are propagated from the garden’s collection and are not available anywhere else.
Other times to buy native plants at the garden: Thursday mornings, May-December, 9-11 a.m., at the potting shed on the west side of the garden (enter the garden from the gate on Anza View Road).
From November through March, South Park Drive is closed to motor vehicles to protect migrating newts. Refer to the additional directions at the end of this section during that time of year.
FROM THE WEST, NORTH, OR SOUTH:
Take Hwy 24 eastbound and go through the far right bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. Immediately after exiting the tunnel, take the Fish Ranch Road exit. Follow the road as it turns to the right, crossing over the freeway. Continue up Fish Ranch Road for 0.7 mile. At the stop sign, turn right on Grizzly Peak Blvd. Continue 1.5 miles on Grizzly Peak Blvd. Turn right on South Park Drive (just past the Steam Train).* Continue 1.5 miles to the end of South Park Drive. Turn left on Wildcat Canyon Road.
The Botanic Garden parking lot is immediately on your left. Restrooms are in the parking lot and the garden entrance is across the street. If the parking lot is full, continue on Wildcat Canyon Road for 0.1 mile to Anza View Road. Turn right on Anza View Road. Park along the lawn side of Anza View Road and enter the garden through the gate on Anza View Road near the redwood trees.
NOTE: DURING THE WINTER WHEN SOUTH PARK DRIVE IS CLOSED
Follow the directions to Grizzly Peak Blvd. and South Park Drive, but continue on Grizzly Peak for an additional 1.6 miles to the stop sign at Golf Course Road. Turn right on Golf Course Road and continue for 1.1 miles to the next stop sign (Shasta Road). Turn right on Shasta Road and continue for 0.25 mile to Wildcat Canyon Road. Merge right onto Wildcat Canyon Road and continue for 0.1 mile to the Botanic Garden parking lot on the right. If the parking lot is full, backtrack on Wildcat Canyon Road for 0.1 mile to Anza View Road. Turn right on Anza View Road. Park along the lawn side of Anza View Road and enter the garden through the gate on Anza View Road near the redwood trees.
Public Transportation to the Garden
AC Transit buses serve the area of Tilden Park near the Botanic Garden. On weekdays, buses stop at Grizzly Peak Blvd. and Shasta Road, about a half-mile walk from the Botanic Garden. On weekends, buses stop at the Brazil Building, about 0.1 mile from the garden. For schedules and additional information, visit www.actransit.org or call (510)817-1717 or 511.
Admission, parking, tours, and the Wayne Roderick Lecture Series are free.
Fees vary for classes; consult the current class schedule for information. Members of the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden receive discounts on all class fees.