The new Native Habitat exhibit at the Water Conservation Garden is an example of ecological landscape design, a design approach that attempts to replicate critical aspects of local ecosystems. Natural associations of local native plants, called plant communities, will form the basic framework of the exhibit. Three plant communities will be represented, each with its own unique set of plants, habitat structure, microclimate characteristics, and potential plant/animal interactions: types of cover, food sources, nesting areas, etc. The close association of these plant communities will also form an ecotone, a transitional space between biotic communities with highly productive habitat value. A runoff retention basin will capture surface runoff during rains and support riparian (streamside) plants chosen to tolerate this seasonal inundation as well as summer drought. Coastal sage scrub herbaceous perennials will form the core of the habitat, and will appear as a diverse mass of 4’ tall flowers in the spring and summer buzzing with life. The perimeter of the exhibit will be planted as an Oak Woodland, a mixed tree community with an associated group of understory plants that tolerate conditions of dry shade and support many bird species.
Because the Dorcas E. Utter Memorial Butterfly Pavilion sits at the center of the new habitat, special attention is given to the support of local butterfly species. 90% of the keystone species in the habitat are larval host plants, plants that feed the caterpillar phase of native butterflies. This kind of comprehensive plant/animal support can only be provided by an ecologically oriented design. Generalized habitat gardening approaches that use a global palette of plants and address habitat structure broadly will only attract generalist animals already comfortable with human developed spaces. The threatened Monarch butterfly gets special pride-of-place, supported by the addition 5 species of native milkweeds to the habitat, each placed within the plant community that best supports them.
Garden Members at The Wild Grape level ($100) and above are invited to attend our Stargazing Party with local astronomer George Varga to celebrate the 46th Anniversary of the Apollo Landing on the Moon. Moon pies, swiss cheese and other out-of-this world refreshments will be served.
The San Diego Concert Band presents "An Evening of Music in The Garden" in The Garden's outdoor amphitheater. The evening's program depicts our American heritage through music that includes light classics, historical themes, and modern compositions for concert band. The award-winning band is based in La Mesa and has been playing formal programs and summer concerts in San Diego County and Southern California for over 25 years.
Tickets: Adults $15; Student/Military/Senior (55+)/Garden Members: $12; Children (5 and under) free. Concert-goers are welcome to bring a picnic dinner. Alcoholic beverages not permitted. Tickets on sale mid-June in The Garden Gift Shop or online at www.sandiegoconcertband.com.