The CSUN Botanical Garden is a natural oasis in the middle of the SF Valley

Nestled near the eastern edge of California State University, the Northridge Campus, as the California Towhee gently calls it, lies an often overlooked environmental gem in the heart of the San Fernando Valley – CSUN’s Botanical Garden.

Home to over 1,200 plant species, four greenhouses, a living library, and an outdoor classroom, the garden provides education and natural green space for the campus and community.

“The garden provides a much-needed tranquil space for students, staff and the public,” said Brenda Kanno, Botanical Garden Manager and Educational Support Technician.

Although the greenhouses, which were dedicated in 1959, are not open to the public, Kanno said they provide much-needed space for science program staff and students to conduct research.

“We have four greenhouses, three of which are for our collection and one just for research,” she said. “A lot of our factories end up [biology] lessons for students.

Beyond research in the greenhouses, there is a vast landscape in Kanno and a small staff dedicated to its upkeep.

“We didn’t have any volunteers [to help in the garden] since the start of the pandemic,” Kanno said. “We have suspended accepting volunteers at this time as it is difficult to work closely at this time.”

Trees and shrubs provide shade and trace alluring paths through the landscape, enticing others to see what lies just around the bend. Among the garden’s plants are some of its oldest residents, such as a Ginko Biloba tree that towers in the northeast corner of the space.

There are also a few memorials in the garden. Located in a space near a grove of succulents is a bench that serves as a keepsake for a former student and gardening enthusiast. The second is a rock in honor of a former faculty member.

Kanno can identify almost anything that grows in space. She keeps an eye out for plants that may have planted themselves through migration and those that are needed to maintain the environment.

More information about the CSUN Botanical Garden and opening hours on their page.

College of Science and Mathematics, CSUN Botanic Garden, Department of Biology

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