New rock garden opens in Tilden Regional Parks Botanic Garden

The new 2,000-square-foot Crevice Garden. Credit: EBRPD

A new rock garden inspired by natural rock outcrops in the high eastern Sierras and crevice gardens in Colorado opened Saturday in Tilden Regional Parks Botanic Garden.

The Crevice Garden, measuring just 50 feet by 40 feet, is the newest addition to the 82-year-old, 10-acre botanic garden, which prides itself on maintaining an extensive collection of rare, threatened and endangered California native plants. The new rock garden highlights native alpine plants from the high Sierra Nevada region of California.

EBRPD broke ground on the $70,000 Crevice Garden project in May 2020, with the bulk of construction happening in 2021. Funding came from EBRPD, the Regional Parks Foundation, and Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden.

Perhaps as a testament to the amount of thought that went into rock and plant placement, Michael Uhler, the gardener who manages the Sierran section, spent a year on “fine detail work finishing the outside vertical edges of the crevices,” said EBRPD spokesperson Jen Vanya.

A ribbon-cutting for the new Crevice Garden in the Tilden botanic garden was held Saturday, Aug. 20. Credit: EBRPD

In 2020, the botanic garden received its first national award — the Francis Cabot Award from the North American Rock Garden Society — for its collection of public rock gardens and plants.

“Our state is a vast region of many floral areas, such as seacoast bluffs and coastal mountains, interior valleys, arid foothills, alpine zones, and three kinds of desert,” EBRPD Board Member Elizabeth Echols, whose ward implies Tilden Regional Park, said during a Saturday evening ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Like a walk through California, the Botanic Garden highlights California’s native plants in geographic sections that represent the state’s diverse flora.”

The Tilden Regional Parks Botanic Garden is looking to train more docents. Call 510-544-3169 for more details.

The botanic garden is divided into 10 sections, each drawing inspiration (and vegetation) from a different part of California. Examples include Southern California, Shasta-Klamath, Redwood, and Sea Bluff. The new rock garden is in the Sierran section.

Visit the botanic garden in August, and you’ll likely catch the late penstemons and evening primroses in bloom. Come September, the hibiscuses and California fuchsias will usually be at their best. And according to EBRPD, “no month is devoid of plants of some attraction or other.”

Admission to the botanic garden is free. Docent-led tours, which start at the visitor center, are offered on Saturday at 2 pm and Sunday at 11 am and 2 pm