By Donna Polizzi
Did you know the little town of Guadalupe, nestled in the western Santa Maria Valley has a native garden? This adorable little patch of California natives will give you a new-found interest in Botany. With its informational message board containing the “Plant of the Month” every month, and plant labels attached to every native, you will find yourself stopping to smell the roses more often…literally! Some of the most interesting facts about these plants is learning the different ways they were utilized by the Chumash Indians 10,000 years ago. Bring a book, or a pencil and sketch pad, a picnic- it’s a wonderful place to learn and just relax. The garden started with efforts from the local museum called the Dunes Center in Guadalupe, to grant local students money towards future educational goals but in return, they were required to improve their community in some way. They decided to convert a vacant lot full of overgrown weeds into the garden you see today. It truly serves as a beautiful open space for the community of Guadalupe and its visitors, as well as a demonstration garden. This garden is truly a representation of community stewardship. All the plants in the garden are either native to our area or other areas within California that are similar in climate. The plants and trees are water and soil tolerant to the Central Coast. Incorporating native plants and trees within your own garden saves precious natural resources, like water, and personal resources like cash, because they require less water and products needed to maintain them. The Guadalupe Native Garden’s purpose is to teach others that natives are the foundation of a natural ecosystem and protect biological diversity. They do a better job of providing food and shelter for native wild animals than introduced plants. The world of plants is a big one and hopefully, after visiting the Guadalupe Native Garden, your peripheral vision will be able to catch a brightly-colored flower more easily.
The Guadalupe Native Plant Garden is always open and is located at the corner of 7th Street and Campodonico Avenue, in the heart of Guadalupe, CA. You can get additional information about the Garden at the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center at 1065 Guadalupe Street or call 805-343-2455. While you’re in Guadalupe you simply must try one of the many delicious restaurants for the most delicious and authentic Mexican food in the state.