Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is adding a pollinator garden with native plants near the Nix Nature Center.
The newly planted garden replaces invasive plants that had settled in the area. A group of student volunteers from Stanbridge University worked with park staff for more than a year to protect and nurture the developing garden.
“Park staff is dedicated to protecting these last invaluable remnants of increasingly rare plants and animals,” OC Parks Resource Specialist Laura Cohen said. “We can’t do it alone, and we are grateful to the staff and students of Stanbridge University for their help creating a garden – a native plant garden that serves our pollinators - and all of the plants and animals that depend on them.”
The area around the Nix Nature Center was once used for cattle-grazing, and invasive plant species had overtaken many natives that help support healthy habitat and wildlife. Park staff has worked hard to restore native gardens at the Nix Nature Center since it opened 15 years ago, removing non-native plants, like mustard, that keep native plants from thriving.
Wild tarragon plants started overtaking the area and invading other parts of the park, crowding out other plants. Plant diversity is essential for supporting native animals in the park’s natural coastal foothills, some of the last remaining in California.
The pollinator garden will serve more wildlife and create a more attractive landscape by the nature center. This involved planting and temporarily caring for local flowering plants used by our native pollinators – and enjoyed by park visitors.
Native plants typically take three to five years fully grow and become established. With the help of the 159 students weeding and watering every week, the new plants will have a much better and quicker chance of survival.
Come and observe the gardening progress the next time you visit the Nix Nature Center at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. You can find it in the center of the parking area.
If you are interested in volunteering at OC Parks including Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, visit our volunteer page or register for one of our scheduled Keep It Wild Stewardship events.