History of the Garden

The idea for the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden was developed in 1992 by a group of concerned local citizens. With professional backgrounds in horticulture, design, landscaping, business, and environmental studies, they partnered with the local school district, the City, VOICE (Volunteers and Organizations Improving the Community's Environment), and Chevron to procure a site and funding. It took ten years of planning and planting to complete the garden, which opened to the public on Earth Day 2001. 
Their idea was to create a demonstration garden of drought-tolerant landscape plants and install it in a free public park for all to visit. The garden they envisioned would promote wildlife and resource conservation by using and teaching Earth-friendly gardening techniques. It would attract wildlife while educating people.
Once the space was chosen, it went through quite a metamorphosis. The extensive lawn and non-flowering shrubs in the original garden were high-maintenance and required pesticides and fertilizers. They also guzzled water.
All vegetation but a few trees were removed in order to make room for climate appropriate plants, and paths that would take visitors on a meandering walk through nature.


All labor was preformed by com- munity volunteers, a practice that continues today.
Shrubs of assorted sizes as well as trees and wildflowers, including many California natives, were installed.
By  opening  day on  Earth Day 2001,  MBBG had earned a certified Wildlife Habitat designation from the National Wildlife Federation.
Insects like Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies are common. So are birds, lizards and a variety of interesting insects. Some are year-round residents and others are just passing through during their annual spring or fall migration. Check the wildlife pages of this website for a listing of critters that can be seen on a regular basis.
Since that Grand Opening so many years ago, the garden and organization have steadily improved thanks to enthusiastic volunteers. In 2020 the new "Butterfly Hut" was officially completed. It's a tool shed with office space, and is specially designed to capture and store rainwater for irrigation. 



IN 2020!


2020 begins a BIG new task: conversion of the entire garden to local California natives. 
After twenty years, we've found that the prettiest, best smelling, easiest to maintain and most drought-tolerant plants in the garden are the local CA natives. Also, with bird and insect numbers declining and native wildland acreage they depend on shrinking, MBBG is focusing on preserving biodiversity by promoting the installation of local CA native plants in home and public landscapes wherever possible. 
Through education, we promote Earth-friendly gardening for the conservation of water, wildlife and the well-being of our community.
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