About The Garden

About The Garden


The mission of The Water Conservation Garden is to educate and inspire through excellent exhibits and programs that promote water conservation and the sustainable use of related natural resources.

The Water Conservation Garden has nearly six acres of displays that showcase water conservation through a series of beautiful themed gardens, such as a native plant garden, formal garden, compost exhibit and a vegetable garden, as well as how-to displays such as mulch and irrigation exhibits. The Garden also features a native butterfly pavilion that is open spring and summer each year. Please visit our Exhibits page for more information.

The Garden offers many programs and services including:

  • Workshops on Gardening, Sustainability, Art & Wellness. These take place both onsite and online.
  • Adult, youth and community education programs.
  • The Dorcas E. Utter Butterfly Pavilion featuring seasonal butterflies native to Southern California and the host and nectar plants they love
  • School tours by appointment
  • Large group tours by appointment
  • Consultations by appointment in Landscape Design
  • Large events such as festivals and plant sales throughout the year featuring family-friendly activities
  • Hosted events such as fundraisers, wedding and other ceremonies
  • Volunteer run Gift shop with a curated collection of unique, one-of-a-kind items including local art, garden photography, crafts, jewelry, up-cycled items and garden essentials.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA)

 A Garden for All 

As a garden we promote the biodiversity of plants and we recognize diversity of people and perspectives makes our garden and community stronger. The Water Conservation Garden is committed to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) within all aspects of our daily operations, including our exhibits, programs, staff, and board. Leveraging a strong foundation of existing policies and practices, our aspiration is to cultivate an institution that is as diverse as the communities we serve.  

GOAL 1: Identify and adopt a culture and value system that understands, respects, and promotes diversity and inclusion in all aspects of The Garden.  

GOAL 2: Maintain and create opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to participate in Garden programs.  

GOAL 3: Recruit, retain, and recognize a diverse workforce and board at The Garden.  

GOAL 4: Establish equity, diversity, and inclusion best practices that shape and impact the workforce, the workplace, and the community.  

Community Driven

The Water Conservation Garden operates thanks to support from water district dues, memberships, donations, grants, facility rentals, and sales from its plant and gift shop.

In response to a prolonged drought in 1991, the concept of a Xeriscape water conservation garden was born from the East County Water Conservation Committee. By 1995, the Water Conservation Garden Authority gained tax-exempt status (EIN: 33-0639414).

On May 15th, 1999, construction of The Water Conservation Garden concluded, marked by the inaugural volunteer/docent class led by Dorcas Utter. The Garden opened its doors to the public, initiating tours and hosting events in its spacious amphitheater. It was honored with the Orchid Award from SD Orchids and Onions Awards, as well as the President’s Award and Merit Award from the SD Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Since then, The Garden has transformed into an educational hub catering to passionate gardeners. It provides a tranquil setting for leisurely walks, hosts wellness programs, and community events. Moreover, it remains an invaluable resource for those seeking knowledge on water-wise and California-Friendly® gardening practices. In our garden, all are embraced, including our four-legged friends.

Privacy Policy

The Water Conservation Garden (“The Garden”) takes your privacy seriously and cares about how your information is collected, used, stored and shared. The linked PDF describes our privacy policy for transactions conducted in person, via email, postal mail and through our website and third-party applications. By using The Water Conservation Garden website, you consent to the data practices described in this Privacy Policy PDF.


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