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Construction - June through August 2003
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S. Mark Taper Foundation
Life Science Botanic Garden
at Pierce College

History of the Garden

     The idea for constructing a Mediterranean garden on the Pierce College campus started in 1999 with the realization that a small area of the lawn near the Life Science building would be an ideal area for a planter demonstrating native plants.  The idea, and the area considered, grew into the entire 2 acre square of lawn, formerly known as "the Quad".  The S. Mark Taper Foundation Life Science Botanic Garden is now open and includes a newly installed Australian plant area, sculpture fountain, shade structures and a wide variety of Mediterranean plants adapted for our local climate.

      Click here for links to our donors and sponsors resources

What is a Mediterranean Garden?

       There are five major Mediterranean areas of the world.  In addition to the Mediterranean basin (Spain, Italy, France and Greece), Australia, South Africa, Chile and California share the climate of hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters.  This means that plants from our climate essentially "shut down" during the summer drought period, and grow only during the winter.  Most plants that people try to grow in Southern California do not come from this climate, and as a result, require large amounts of water in the summer to keep them alive. 

        The Life Science Department had several goals in making this garden: 1) to have an outdoor botanical laboratory, demonstrating the adaptations of these specialized plants to our biology students 2) to decrease water use on campus and to demonstrate these drought tolerant plants to the local community and 3) to beautify the campus and replace a very worn-out lawn.

What's in the Garden?


Coastal sage scrub and chaparral plants, all native to Southern California
Succulents and Cacti
Pond and riparian plants
California Channel Islands endemics
Salvias (28 species or varieties) and other bird-attracting plants
Butterfly plants, providing food for both caterpillar and adult  
          butterfly stages
A wide range of plants from Australian and South Africa, including the huge flowered Proteas and Banksias.

Hardscape Features:
An "Evolution Walk" crosses the garden.  This unique feature of our garden shows the major time periods of life's history, each section with representative fossils of that era.  The walking distance along the path will reflect the actual passage of  time.

Three mission-style shade structures

A Natural Stone Amphitheater that at first seem like an integral part of a natural landscape, but actually serves as an outdoor classroom.

For more information about the garden, contact:
Dr. James Rikel, Life Science Dept. Chair (818) 719-6465

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Copyright © 2006 Pierce College. All rights reserved.
6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills, California 91371
Phone: 818-719-6401. Email: Pierce College.
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