Bolsa Chica State Beach Visitor Center Garden Update
By Kim DiPasquale
Native plant gardening at Bolsa Chica State
Visitor Center. Photo by Tom Pfeifer.
Many of you will recall the botanical history of the garden surrounding the Bolsa Chica State Beach Headquarters and Visitor Center. Through the years many dedicated Amigos have donated countless hours of weeding, pruning, planting and cultivating the native plant garden. In 2015 things really took off when Rachael Lloyd started a well organized program to move the restoration of the garden into high gear. She started an Environmental Club which met monthly for wetland education, plant propagation, and maintenance of the garden. Also in 2015, the Amigos received a grant from the California State Parks Foundation. Under Rachael’s direction, the money was used to buy tools, build a tool shed, and to build retaining walls and steps for slope stabilization and for easier access to the native garden. In 2018 Rachael and her husband David, who built the tool shed and who was a very active volunteer, moved out of the area and unfortunately the garden once again became overgrown with invasive weeds and many of the more sensitive plants did not survive.
Rachael Lloyd demonstrates
Photo by Tom Pfeifer.
In April of 2019, I decided to pick up the reins and do my best to see to it that the native garden is restored and maintained. Since that time several volunteer groups and Amigos have assisted in weeding, pruning, and planting including Tom Pfieffer, an enthusiastic science teacher from Segerstrom High School, and a group of about a dozen of his Environmental Science students. The State Beach maintenance department is currently working on repairing the irrigation system which will be invaluable in terms of adequately watering the newly planted specimens until they are established and will be helpful in general for the mature plants when necessary. Our plan for the summer months is to keep the garden weeded, nurture the new plants that were just installed, and to plan for the fall when the bare spots will be filled with new plant material as the fall and winter months are the growing season for native plants. You will notice that several of the plant species will appear dead during the summer months. This is because those plants are drought deciduous and lose their leaves during the summer drought. They will once again show off their beauty next winter and spring. Common examples include Isocomia menziesii (Coastal Goldenbush) and Encelia californica (California Bush Sunflower).
If you are interested in learning more about California native plants and would like to help with this restoration project please contact the Amigos at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Rachael Lloyd will also be available to share her knowledge and expertise.