Lanny discussing plants along the trail, July 2019. Photo: Jill Forman

Arroyo Hondo Preserve Herb Walk & Native Plant Sale

September 7, 2019 @ 10:30 am – 3:30 pm
Street parking for carpool
23 S Hope Ave
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
$30 for adults, $25 for seniors 62-and-up, and $15 for students 13-17. Kids 5-12 can come along for free, one per adult, pending request and approval.
Lanny Kaufer


Hollister Meadow at Arroyo Hondo Preserve. Photo: James Wapotich.

This place is amazing! The lushness of the landscape and the sheer diversity of plants and plant communities at the Preserve are exceptional. So we’re going back one more time this year, hoping to find a few pears still hanging on the 200-year-old(!) “Padre Pear” tree.

The “Padre Pear” tree, planted in 1820 and still bearing fruit! Photo: Robin Kent

In the creekside riparian habitat we’ll see a wide array of Southern California native trees, including White Alder, California Bay, Blue Elderberry, Bigleaf Maple, and Coast Live Oak. Under their canopy we’ll look for more shade-loving natives like Giant Horsetail, Gooseberry, Hummingbird Sage, Maidenhair Fern and Giant Chain Fern.

In the sunnier sage scrub and chaparral areas, native Toyon, Black Sage, Coastal Sagebrush and Greenbark Ceanothus are thriving. The Preserve is also home to California Newts, California Tree Frogs, Gray Foxes, numerous birds and other wildlife.

We’ll start with a carpool from 23 S. Hope Avenue in Santa Barbara.  At 10 a.m. we’ll drive from there about 30 minutes up the coast to Arroyo Hondo Preserve.  A little earlier, at 9 a.m., those of us in Ojai who want to carpool from there to Santa Barbara will meet at Maricopa Plaza (1207 Maricopa Highway, Ojai). Another carpool may be organized from Ventura to Santa Barbara, if needed. Carpools are optional, of course. Those who choose to drive directly to Arroyo Hondo will receive detailed directions in a confirmation email.

California Newt in the pond on Arroyo Hondo Creek
Rondia in a Giant Chain Fern grotto

After some easy walking, identifying plants, and stopping for a lunch break, we’ll head for the pond to see if any newts spent the summer there. We’ll regroup at 3:30 at the parking lot for a direct-from-the-grower, native plant sale hosted by Santa Barbara Natives (SBN), a beautiful native plant nursery founded by Arroyo Hondo Preserve manager John Warner. SBN carries an inventory of about 100 of the most popular local California native plants, normally available only to commercial growers. John will bring a selection, including some we will see on our walk. Fall is the time to prepare for planting natives. People who register in advance will have the opportunity to request specific plants. I’ll have my curated mobile bookstore open, too.

The cost for the day is $30 for adults, $25 for seniors 62-and-up, and $15 for students 13-17. Kids 5-12 can come along for free, one per adult, pending request and approval. The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County also requests a suggested $5 donation at the site to cover stewardship of the land. There is no pre-payment required to register. Once you are registered you will receive an email during the week prior to the walk with more information and directions to Arroyo Hondo. No dogs or smoking, please.

Participants will receive an email afterwards with notes and a complete list of all plants and animals observed.


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