Refuge by the Water

Where There is Water, We Find Life

The Arroyo is all about what happens at the water’s edge – one of the most biodiverse and ecologically important boundaries in California. A stroll through the Arroyo invites visitors to consider the life-giving properties of water across native plant habitats.

This Arroyo is home to more water features than any other section in the Garden. When the weather is hot and dry, it is an important refuge for aquatic and riparian plants. During the rainy season, visitors are encouraged to look for natural drainages running through this section, as water flows from the Meadow section above, through the Arroyo before it outlets into Mission Creek. In summer and fall, this is one of the best places in the Garden to listen for a chorus of frogs. Songbirds and other creatures are also drawn to its ponds to bathe and grab a drink of water.

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Create Year-round Appeal

Seasonally flooded streams or washes are a common feature in Southern California. These habitats are filled with water during the rainy months as water washes down from the mountains and foothills. Then, everything dries out in the summer and fall months. These seasonal floods help create habitat for wildflowers, ferns, and other water-loving perennial species. Look for the most blooms in the upper Arroyo during the spring, and further down, where the ponds gather water, you can find something in bloom nearly all year round.

Come Observe

Ceremonial Teahouse

Sitting within the Arroyo section is Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s ceremonial Shin Kan An Teahouse. This special feature highlights how California’s native plants can be used to create a traditional Japanese tea garden. The evergreen foliage and simple, yet sculptural forms of plants like manzanitas (Arctostaphylos sp.) are a perfect analog to Japanese plants.

Our ceremonial teahouse hosts tea observations throughout the year. For more information, visit the Garden calendar for future dates.

More to explore

Wooded Dell

Green Thumbs Can Save Us All

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