Things to Know and Places to Go in Clovis: Discovering the Botanical Gardens

A tunnel painted like a monarch butterfly sits at the entrance of the Children’s Garden. (Photo Steven Sandage, Clovis Roundup)

June 15, 2024 — Just off Clovis Avenue, tucked between Alluvial and Nees, lies a hidden gem next to Dry Creek Park where nature’s artistry flourishes in full splendor.

Welcome to the Clovis Botanical Garden, a tranquil oasis that invites visitors to explore its verdant expanses and celebrate the beauty of the Central Valley’s unique flora.

The Clovis Botanical Garden’s story begins in 1993 when Gordon Russell envisioned a verdant retreat in the heart of Clovis. With determination and community support, his dream blossomed into reality.

Officially opened to the public in April 2004, the garden has since grown, adding diverse plant collections and themed gardens that reflect the region’s Mediterranean climate.

“We rely on our talented volunteers,” says Anne Clemons, the current president of the Clovis Botanical Garden Board. “Without their time and efforts, the garden wouldn’t be what it is today.”

While walking through the garden, Anne spotted a little boy, about two years old, marveling at the colorful blooms. She greeted him with a warm smile. “Do you wanna help?” she asked gently. The boy looked up, eyes wide with curiosity. “Twelve more years and you can volunteer and help us out,” Anne said, her voice filled with hope for the garden’s future.

Wander through the Mediterranean Garden, where plants native to the Mediterranean Sea’s shores flourish, or lose yourself in the mesmerizing patterns of the Cactus Garden. For those seeking an interactive experience, the Sensory Garden offers a tactile journey that engages all the senses, making it an accessible space for visitors of all ages and abilities.

Open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the garden is a sanctuary for both the curious and the contemplative. Admission is free, though donations are heartily welcomed to support this nonprofit haven operated entirely by volunteers.

For a deeper dive into the garden’s wonders, guided tours are available for a modest $5 per person. Scheduled at least two weeks in advance, these tours are led by knowledgeable volunteers eager to share their passion for plants. Whether you’re a school group with inquisitive young minds or a gathering of garden enthusiasts, the Clovis Botanical Garden promises an enriching experience.

Professional photographers will find the garden a picturesque backdrop for their creative pursuits. With a requested donation of $25, photographers can capture the garden’s beauty, provided they stick to the pathways to preserve the delicate plant life.

The Clovis Botanical Garden is more than just a collection of plants; it’s a vibrant community hub. From the Children’s Garden, where kids can learn about the life cycle of plants and their interactions with insects, to the Clovis Community Foundation Pavilion, a popular venue for various events, the garden fosters a sense of community and connection.

The heartbeat of the Clovis Botanical Garden is its volunteers. Opportunities abound for those willing to lend a hand, from garden maintenance to greeting guests in the gift shop. Aspiring docents and event volunteers are always welcome, and there’s a role for everyone, young and old alike.

The garden’s future is as bright as its blooming flowers. The newly installed Ornamental Grass Display is a whimsical addition, a First People’s Ethnobotany area is in the works, and a new Visitor Center designed by Art Dyson is set to enhance the garden experience.

In the Clovis Botanical Garden, every visit is a reminder of the profound beauty and tranquility that nature offers. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener, a curious student, or simply someone in need of a peaceful retreat, the garden welcomes you with open arms and blooming flowers.

Ready to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life? Head to 945 N Clovis Ave, Clovis, CA, and immerse yourself in the serenity of the Clovis Botanical Garden. For more information or to schedule a tour, visit their website or contact them at (559) 298-3091.