Mission Statement

We exist to support the cultivation and enjoyment of Native Plants within northwest San Diego County and to provide community education on the benefits of Native Plants.

The Buena Vista Native Plant Club was formed to support a $70,000 grant that was given to the City of Oceanside and the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center. The grant is funded by the Metropolitan Water District, which is promoting lower water use through native and drought tolerant landscaping. The City, Audubon, and  the Fish&Game Department joined forces for an opportunity to showcase natives as the landscape of choice. The site has been divided into 4 main gardens: two were designed and installed by the The Buena Vista Native Plant Club (us!) and two were designed and installed by the City. Overall, it has been a very collaborative effort.

The Buena Vista Native Plant Club is now a recognized resource for north county native plant gardeners. We continue to meet on the 3rd Sunday of the month at the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center, 2202 S. Coast Hwy, Oceanside.












What is a Native Plant Garden?

Our coastal hillsides are covered with plants that some people call weeds, but anyone who takes time to learn about these "weeds" soon finds a vast number of attractive and interesting native species that would make great additions to their gardens.  San Diego Coastal Sage Scrub rivals the rainforest for the diversity of plant and animal life!

The BVAS native plant garden is a small scale demonstration habitat that showcases these native species and increases our understanding of the world as we observe the web of life in action.

Island Mallow

Native plants are those plants that have evolved here, not those introduced by man.  When a plant has been introduced within the past few hundred years, the necessary adaptations haven't had time to occur.  Often native species are lost as the new plant takes over.  Pampas grass is an example of an introduced plant. It does not provide food or shelter and has destroyed native areas.

Isn't it Hard to Maintain?

Native plant gardens are easier to maintain than ornamental gardens once you understand them.  The plants rest during Summer/Fall and grow in Winter. If native plants are watered in the late summer, the dormant season is interrupted and harmful bugs and microbes continue to multiply.  It is best to let the garden dry out for one month during August.  The growing season starts with the rains in October.  Pruning is twice a year in January and August.


Recommended Reading

The California Landscape Garden:
By Mark Fransis and Andreas Reiman

Growing California Native Plants:
By Marjorie Schmidt

Roadside Plants of Southern California:
By Thomas J. Belzer

Southern California Native Plant  for School Gardens:
By Betsy Landis

California's Changing Landscape:
By Barbour et.al.

Need Professional Help?

Click HERE for a list of native plant landscape designers who have volunteered at our native plant tour. Everyone on this list is well known and very capable with native plants.


Additional Reference Sources

For more information, the following links will guide you in the right directions...

California Native Plant Club

San Diego chapter of CNPS

Moosa Creek Nursery

Tree of Life Nursery

California Invasive Plant Council

Las Pilitas Nursery

Natives Provide Color and Variety

Marsh Fleabane

This beautiful native plant sprang up on its own all around the BVAS Nature Center after the invasive non-native species were removed.

For more information on any Native Plant Club events, call the Nature Center and leave a message for Joan Bockman 760-439-2473.


Events Calendar

Interested in Native Plants?

Every Monday morning, the garden crew gathers at the Nature Center to do a little maintenance work around the native plant garden and trails. Interested gardeners are invited to join the group for some casual gardening and friendly chatter
SCHOOL GARDENS—BVAS sponsors school gardens with native plants and volunteers. We are at the school for one hour each week. The kids do the work with our help and we all get to have fun with nature and the garden volunteers. Here’s the schedule: Monday—2 p.m. at South Oceanside Elementary ; Wednesday—9 a.m. at Mission Elementary; and Wednesday—10:15 a.m. at Laurel Elementary. If you would like to help at one of these times please contact us by email: BVNPC@sbcglobal.net. We’ll get right back to you!
PREPARING FOR A RAINY DAY—Now is the time to get ready for the big El Niño rains expected this winter. Digging one or two retention basins around your yard will capture excess water and allow it to gradually soak into the ground. The basins help control runoff and erosion, and extend the time your plants can benefit from the natural goodness of rainwater. Dig a shallow pit to intercept the water flowing from your gutters, and line it with cobble-sized stones. You can direct the water to your basin by digging a shallow channel from your downspout. A couple of larger rocks and a few plants along the edge can help make your retention basin an attractive garden feature.

For more info, e-mail Joan Bockman at BVNPC@sbcglobal.net or call the Buena Vista Nature Center at 760-439-2473.


Illustrated Brochure With Map
California Native Plant Gardens Tour of Downtown Oceanside

Want to check out the premier Oceanside native plant gardens? Click here for a brochure with map that you can print out and take with you. (Adobe Reader is required. Click here for a free download if you don't already have it).

Click below for a list of plants that may be
seen on the tour:

Oceanside Yard Plant List

Scenes From 2008 Tour
All Photos by Steve Lacy

Free Compost
The good stuff!

The El Corazon Compost Facility located at 3210 Oceanside Blvd. offers a variety of natural compost mixes, excellent for use as soil amendments or mulchesin your yard. It’s available free for Oceanside residents, and for a modest fee for others. For more nformation, call: 760-439-9138.


Riparian Habitat

What is in the garden?

The Nature Center garden is made up of 3 zones. The street frontage of the building is intended to show a large scale native landscape that simulates a riparian scene. The entrance to the building is surrounded by a specimen garden that showcases various plants. The back patio area demonstrates a smaller "condo" garden.

Directly adjacent to the lagoon, plants are selected more for compatibility with the lagoon ecosystem. This area is more of a habitat than a garden."

Garden Layout/Description

Additional plants to be found:

Big Mesa Sage Salvia
California Fuschia Zauchneria septentrionalis
Checkers Sidalcea neomexicana
Live Forever Dudleya pulverulenta
Mallow Malacothamnus fasciculatus
Manzanita Arctostphylus densiflora "Harmony"
Matilija Poppy Romneya Coulteri
Sagebrush Artemisia californica "Canyon Grey"
Sagebrush (taller) Artemisia californica


Webmaster: Larry Spann

The contents of this website are copyrighted by BVAS Audubon
All photos are copyrighted by Suzann and Larry Spann, unless otherwise indicated. Please do not use without permission.