Featuring plants associated with watercourses throughout California, the Arroyo is situated in an oak-shaded drainage along a seasonal stream. Large drifts of California wild rose (Rosa californica) and Douglas iris (Iris douglasiana) fill the open banks while masses of gooseberries, currants (Ribes species) and Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) are found in shadier spots.

Special features of the Arroyo include the "dripping rock" display, which contains herbaceous plants that require constant moisture, and the Heuchera display, a collection of over 30 species and cultivars.

The Arroyo also is home to many mature conifers, such as the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), Port Orford-cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana), Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa), and western red-cedar (Thuja plicata).

The Discovery Garden

In the Arroyo Section, is a special garden designed for visitors of all ages, but especially for elementary and middle school students. Our goal is to interest visitors in the spectacular biodiversity and complex interactions of California’s natural ecosystems. The Discovery Garden is designed to introduce several main educational topics, and many sub-themes, which have special fascination for children. You will find information here about California’s oak woodlands as well as the importance of freshwater habitats, while exploring the creek, stream and pond, and observing the oaks, redwoods, and chaparral nodes. The pollination garden offers the opportunity to witness bees and hummingbirds darting from flower to flower. Discovery Garden tours are included in our Docent-led Nature Walks for school classroom field trips.image of children in the Discovery Gardenimage of woodpecker granery in the Discovery Garden


For information about the location of a display within the Garden please see the map below.

image of arroyo section visitor map

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden fosters the conservation of California's native plants through
our gardens, research and education, and serves as a role model of sustainable practices.