A marguerite daisy, Argyranthemum frutescens, on campus near Manzanita Hall at CSUN in Northridge, Calif., on Feb. 9, 2022. (Taylor Arthur)
A marguerite daisy, Argyranthemum frutescens, on campus near Manzanita Hall at CSUN in Northridge, Calif., on Feb. 9, 2022.

Taylor Arthur

Exploring CSUN’s Botanic Garden

April 22, 2022

The CSUN Botanic Garden sits on a 1.5-acre site that includes one acre for the botanical garden, and 0.5 acres for the nursery, shade house and greenhouse zones.

When the garden was established in 1959, it was exclusively home to plants native to California. Now, the garden has expanded to include a wide range of species and terrain, including around 1,200 species of plants and cultivars. It has everything from butterfly plants to New Zealand plants.

Ricardo Luna, a second-year CSUN student who majors in biology, spends a lot of time in the garden for class activities and in his free time. He says it’s a place where he can feel connected to nature and disconnect from the world.

“Being in the garden is an amazing feeling,” Luna said. “It’s great to just walk through and clear your mind from what is going on in your life.”

Along with being an attraction to view, the garden has its educational purposes too. Students use it as a resource for many projects involving plant biology, plant ecology and photography.

The garden is also home to a wide range of animals including birds, spiders and lizards. Occasionally, animals are brought into classrooms for students to examine.

Botanic Garden manager Brenda Kanno and assistant Ann Dorsey help maintain the garden along with their student assistants. There are currently six student assistants who give a helping hand when they can. Before the pandemic began, locals in the community would often go to the garden and do volunteer work.

Access to the garden is not exclusive to CSUN students and staff. Members of the Northridge community are welcome to see the garden along with neighboring schools.

Due to COVID-19 regulations, the garden tours have been on hold for the general public. Before the start of the pandemic, there were tours set up by the Los Angeles Unified School District for schools to come and visit the garden.

“Teachers from Cantara Street Elementary School would actually walk their students up to the garden,” Kanno said. “That was a little fun learning experience for the little kids.”

The garden offers free classes for those who want to get to know more about gardening called the CSUN-al Gardening series. Registration for the class is required and those who are interested can contact the CSUN Botanic Garden for more information.

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