Nipomo Native Garden Loop is a wonderful little park in Santa Maria Valley maintained for the public by a local nonprofit group. Birding, walking, trail running, and nature trips are its primary use, and dogs are allowed as well. This 12-acre botanical garden hosts hundreds of plants, a small network of excellent trails for all skill levels, a Children's Garden, and benches all throughout the park for wildlife viewing. It is a wonderful learning arena for adults and children alike.
Nipomo Native Garden was founded in 1993 by local residents looking for a place of relaxation and recreational enjoyment. The garden started with live oak, toyon, manzanitas, coffeeberry, and other similar trees and plants native to the Nipomo-Guadalupe Dunes. In 2003, an additional grant from the Unocal Oil Spill Settlement provided funding for expansion and further infrastructure to the area. The garden continues to grow and improve as the years go on, and it is a very special place for the residents of Nipomo. In 2013, the garden was honored with the CNPS annual Community Award for its commitment to community enrichment and preservation of native California flora.
If you live in the area or happen to be around on the first Saturday of the month and want to help, grab your hat, gardening gloves, and shovel, and meet some of the community members in the parking lot in the morning. From 9 a.m. to noon every first Saturday of the month, work is done on or around the garden to continue to improve and maintain its beauty. Looking for another way to contribute? A yearly plant sale is held as a fundraiser for the garden the first Sunday of October in the Nipomo Native Garden parking lot. This is an excellent opportunity to fund this beautiful park and bring home some beauty as well!
Within the park there is a small amphitheater near the parking lot side of the garden. It is covered and is a great place for field trips and other learning opportunities. Throughout the park there are three kiosks (Manzanita Kiosk, Toyon Kiosk, and Sycamore Kiosk) that provide informational spaces for anyone to learn about the plants and trees nearby. At the north side of the park (between Osage Road and Pomeroy Road) is the mature oak woodland forest featuring the woodland trail. In the middle of the garden is small network of well-maintained trails that wind around various kiosks, the Children's Garden, and a small wetlands area for local birds. Lastly, at the southernmost side of the park (between Camino Cabollo Road and Pomeroy Road) is the only horse trail through the park, and it is an excellent area for an evening ride. You can enter the horse trail from either the interesection of Osage and Camino Caballo or from Pomeray Road on the east side.
Nipomo Native Garden Loop may be small, but it is jam-packed with native plants and trees, and it is an ideal environment for several local wildflife species as well. Whether you're a resident of the Santa Maria area or just a passing through, this lovely botanical garden is a must see.