Mount Diablo State Park - Native Plant Garden
Learn, hands-on, about the plants that make Mount Diablo State Park a special place. The Native Plant Garden grows a selection of wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees found throughout the park. Many of the plants in the garden are labeled with both botanical and common names for easy identification. Stop by this little gem before or after a hike for a pleasant and informative stroll.
Photos courtesy of Jenn Roe
About the Garden
The Mount Diablo Native Plant Garden is located next to the Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center at the south end of Mitchell Canyon Road in Clayton, CA. Entrance to the garden is free, but there is a parking fee.
The garden is designed to help visitors learn about the native vegetation of Mount Diablo. Prolonged summer drought, and cool, rainy winters lead to a distinct seasonal variation in the garden’s appearance. Spring brings abundant growth and a large variety of wildflowers. In summer, spring wildflowers begin to fade, while a few late blooming plants flourish. By fall, drought has caused most plants to dry and wither, but ripening fruits, berries, and seeds, as well as the garden's water features, bring many birds to visit. Winter rains mean a renewal of life and growth in the garden, and some early bloomers, such as manzanita and silktassel bushes, start their displays.
The Mount Diablo Native Plant Garden broke ground on Earth Day in 2006, when a group of state park volunteers, led by veteran volunteer and designer Dave Caniglia, laid out the garden that volunteers continue to maintain and improve today.
Roughly one acre in size, garden beds are divided into zones that reflect Mitchell Canyon's plant communities: riparian, chaparral, grassland, and oak woodland. The garden is populated primarily with plants that represent a microcosm of life along Mitchell Canyon. A garden map and a list of plants found in the garden are available to help orient visitors.
Check out What's Blooming Now on Mount Diablo for seasonal flowers that you might see during a visit to the Park. The Wildflower Identification Guide provides photos and information regarding many of Mount Diablo's plants that may not be in the garden.
Plant and seed collection is prohibited within the garden and the Park. There are additional resources to learn more about California Native Plants and where to obtain them.