gtk-water-conservationShowcasing More Beauty with Less Water.

As the drought in California stubbornly persists, and a real possibility of mandatory water restrictions looms over San Diego County, the lovely Water Conservation Garden emerges as a resource for people to cope with the drought and still delight in the beauty of a verdant front- and backyard. The six-acre botanical garden was created in response to drought conditions in the early 1990’s and offers a range of programs that help San Diegans create beautiful landscapes that conserve our region’s most precious resource-water.

“Visitors to The Water Conservation Garden are pleasantly surprised at the impressive plant palette that is available for creating landscapes that are drought-tolerant. The diverse collection of plants that is on display in our garden helps dispel the myth that water-saving landscapes are bleak, or are limited to rocks, cacti and succulents,” Elizabeth Ramos, The Garden’s marketing director tells Giving Back Magazine.

Statistically, up to 60% of a household’s water consumption is used outdoors, but up to 50% of this amount can be saved when water-wise landscapes are implemented. The Water Conservation Garden showcases nearly 900 different plants that thrive with little water in San Diego’s semi-arid Mediterranean climate. These plants are either native to California or the Southwest or come from countries with a climate similar to that of San Diego- Australia, Chile, and the Cape of South Africa, for example. Not only do they save water (and therefore, money), they come in a striking variety of textures, colors and sizes, are low-maintenance once established and offer a beautiful alternative to thirsty, lawn-only landscapes.

To truly appreciate the appeal of water-saving landscapes, a visit to The Garden is a must, particularly as San Diegans contend with California’s ongoing water shortage. The venue is open daily from 9am-4pm, and admission is by suggested donation. A range of resources is available to the public:

  • Extensive plant collection on display with discounts at partner nurseries for Garden members
  • Monthly gardening workshops; most workshops are free to Garden members
  • Free docent-led tours every Saturday at 10:30am with Spanish language tours by appointment
  • How-to displays on landscape design, mulch, composting and permeable pavement
  • The Dorcas E. Utter Memorial Butterfly Pavilion, showcasing butterflies native to San Diego
  • Personalized landscape design consultations by appointment
  • Informative website with links to money-saving landscape rebates
  • Award-winning Ms. Smarty-Plants™ school tours and assembly programs for children

As California continues to deal with three straight dry winters and record-breaking heat in the first half of 2014, The Water Conservation Garden encourages San Diegans to save water wherever they can, and invites the public to take advantage of its programs that help our community enjoy a lifestyle that includes more beauty with less water.

The Water Conservation Garden is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported in part by member water agencies, garden partnerships and private donations. The Garden is located at 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. W, El Cajon, CA, and will host The Enchanted Garden Gala on October 18. Proceeds from The Enchanted Garden Gala will support The Garden’s education programs and a new children’s garden. For more information, please visit or call (619) 660-0614.