Come enjoy nature...

We often forget that WE ARE NATURE. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.
— Andy Goldsworthy, British Sculptor, Photographer & Environmentalist

History of the garden

This public botanic garden has been built by our community for our community. When the adjacent community park, ‘River View Park’ was developed, a requirement was put in place to set aside 2 ½ acres as habitat for the endangered Western Willow Fly Catcher, a bird known to nest along the nearby Santa Ynez River. 

A non-profit group was formed with the vision of creating a botanic garden on the site that had been used for dumping spoils from the area.  With the support of the City of Buellton, the barren site, was graded and the initial paths were placed. Seventy three native trees were donated and planted by volunteers.  These trees, in little more than a decade, provide shade and shelter for outdoor school students and neighbors and visitors just wanting to pause and reconnect with nature.

The Garden now houses a propagation area, seating and an amphitheater.  While the initial focus was on a development of an educational resource centered on the area’s native plant community, the Garden welcomes early morning walkers, school children, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and community groups who support those on the margins.  This led to the Garden’s new mission statement to provide a unique, accessible and interactive environment, highlighting plants native to the Santa Ynez River watershed.  The Garden will encourage community collaboration, foster new approaches to environmental education, and cultivate an appreciation of the natural world.  As a source of inspiration and information, the Garden will be a venue for arts and crafts, and a peaceful refuge for visitors of all ages.

The Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden Foundation is dedicated to encouraging children to explore, adults to learn, and individuals of all ages to discover the beauty, serenity and joy of our diverse natural environment and its significance in our lives.

Through more than a dozen annual events ranging from Arbor Day celebrations to wreath making, the Garden provides opportunities for the community and visitors to engage with nature and one another.

Garden Map

Explore the Garden...

California Native Grassland 


The Story behind the sculpture,'California'

on display at SYVBG

While on a trip to see the La Purisima Mission in Lompoc, CA, stone artist Lon Etzel watched a reenactment performed by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. One of the tribal members shared an old Chumash myth that has stuck with Lon all his life. A long time ago, California Desert Tortoises burrowed underground to hibernate during winter months. The Indians believe that some of the tortoises waited too long to wake up and were trapped under earth. They continued to grow until the entire land mass of California rode on their backs. As a result, the tortoises grew too large and became cramped in their space, pushing and snapping at one another, causing the earth to tremble, creating an earthquake. Decades after hearing the fascinating tale, Lon was inspired to create a  magnificent stone sculpture, he titled 'California'. The detail and character of the five tortoises, the state of California and the Channel Islands is extraordinary. The statue is on loan at the SYV Botanic Garden for everyone to enjoy.