Pocket Gardens

Nature all around

In spring 2024, pocket gardens around the entire building will feature unique assemblages of plants and interpretive experiences. Meandering paths invite visitors to become immersed in the setting and meet plants up close. Spaces for interpreters and group gatherings offer opportunities for students and those interested in a more interactive experience.

Discovery Trail

Gateway for Garden Explorers. A new trail connecting the fig tree lawn with The Nat’s building will introduce people to our region’s high biodiversity and the benefits of native plants. Signaling the transition from coastal San Diego to the desert, the trail will culminate in a boulder gathering just outside the Museum’s north doors

Boulder Garden

Low Water Wonders. This intersection at the northwest corner of the building will be a beautiful place to land when approaching the Museum. Drought-tolerant plants will inform visitors about water conservation, while large boulders offer informal seating and space for nature-based activities.

Spiny Sidewalk

Showstopping Succulents. Large scale, charismatic plants will populate the east side of the building. Our region’s succulents, cacti, and other plants with unusual growth forms provide a photo-op for Park visitors. Because they are elevated in planters, they provide a safe perch for some of our pricklier native species.

Pollinator Paradise

Birds, Bees, and Biodiversity. Our region is home to a mind-boggling variety of pollinators that rely on native plants. Sun-loving blooms will create a joyous riot in this colorful garden that will feature plants with flowers, fruit, and seed pods. Bees, birds, and bats will love this new pitstop in the Park—and people will, too. This pocket garden is situated in a highly visible location near the iconic fountain.

Container Corner

No Garden Too Small. It’s hard to contain your enthusiasm when you look inside a planter and find a tiny world buzzing with activity. This space illustrates how even the smallest gardens, like those in pots and planters, can support biodiversity—a key ingredient for a healthy planet. Containers featuring changeable displays of our regional flora will activate the southwest corner of the building.

First Peoples’ Garden

Indigenous Innovation. Native plants have been held sacred by Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial. This story will be told on the west and northwest side of the building in collaboration with Indigenous advisors. Tactile and fragrant species will line a meandering pathway, with information that describes the Kumeyaay Peoples’ relationships with and deep expertise of plants. While Kumeyaay plant names and uses will be woven throughout the entire garden, this quadrant will specifically focus on how Kumeyaay People use plants for food, fiber, and medicine.

Wildlife Walkway

Climate Resilient Refuge. Just across the lawn from the historic Moreton Bay fig tree, this lush garden along the Museum’s accessible entrance will feature plants that can adapt to drought and flooding. This corner demonstrates the value of resilient plants as food and shelter for wildlife, especially important in the face of extreme weather events. Garden explorers will be inspired to take action to preserve the climate for wildlife, plants, and people.

Learn how you can support this free amenity for all Park visitors, or sign up to receive email updates about the garden.