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Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens offer beauty and education

Blake Humphrey
Staff Writer

Brittnie Van De Car
Staff Writer

The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens in Claremont offers a variety of tours, events and programs – and a beautiful place to escape and commune with nature, right in our back yard.

It is home to an extensive collection of more than 6,000 native plants.

“We offer plants that most people would not even know existed,” Laura Perry, garden volunteer, said.

“We have discovered many plants over the years and have plants with their common and botanical names.”

The Botanic Garden, a private nonprofit research and educational institution devoted to California flora, was created in 1958 by plant collector Susanna Bixby Bryant.

She turned an inherited ranch in Yorba Linda into a place to store her plant collection.

When her son inherited the ranch, he moved the garden to its current Claremont location in 1951.

“Bryant’s goal was to move the garden closer to higher educational institutions,” Director of Visitor Services Eric Garton said.

The 86-acre garden is divided into three distinct areas, the Indian Hill Mesa, the East Alluvial Gardens and the Plant Communities.

Thanks to volunteers like Perry, the garden can give visitors a free tour, which includes information about the different species and each species’ history.

“There is a lot more here than a garden; this place also has ties to the history of the area,” Perry said.

The garden hosts a shop, native plant sales, the Herbarium, a research library, the botany program for Claremont College’s graduate school and the genetics and morphology labs.

There are plans to upgrade and renovate the gardens and add more classrooms and offices for workers and students.

Garden visitors seemed to enjoy themselves as they explored the plant paths.

“I’m going to become a member after my experience today,” said Jeri Roth, who came to the garden with the West End Auxiliary Children’s Fund.

The establishment’s purpose is to educate those interested, research and preserve plant life and provide a beautiful place to visit.

“I really want people to leave with a new appreciation for California’s native flora,” Director of Horticulture Susan Jett said.

The garden is open daily with $6 admission for the general public, and those who frequently visit the site can buy a membership.

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., visit the gardens and experience the beauty of nature.

For more information on classes, programs and sales, call 909-625-8767, ext. 200, or visit rsabg.org.

Blake Humphrey can be reached at blake.humphrey@laverne.edu.

Brittnie Van De Car can be reached at brittnie.vandecar@laverne.edu.

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