Bird Park

Wildscaping Bird Park: CNPS San Diego’s native plant habitat garden initiative


Photo credit: Silke Gathmann

Starting in 2021, the CNPS San Diego Native Garden Committee set out to create a habitat demonstration garden in Bird Park, an area in Balboa Park, one of North America’s most iconic urban parks just minutes from downtown San Diego.

This visionary project was made possible through the collaboration of many: Conception and design was led by the CNPS San Diego’s Native Gardening Committee team members Christine Hoey, Lucy Warren, Debbie O’Leary and Greg Rubin with support from the Forever Balboa Park Adopt-A-Plot program and Balboa Parks & Recreation. The implementation took place in two hands-on educational workshops where dozens of enthusiastic participants led by Leo Hernandez built dry streambeds and DG pathways, placed numerous sitting boulders, and planted hundreds of native plants.

The community response to the garden has been overwhelmingly positive. Our Garden Team continues to maintain the garden and we are always met with compliments and questions about the native plants by visitors.

The Story of Our Bird Park Project in Pictures

Step 1:

We found a perfectly suited plot in Bird Park

Step 2:

We worked hard to get rid of all the weeds

Step 3:

We came up with a beautiful design

Step 4:

We invited a lot of people to help and learn

Step 5:

We built a dry stream bed in just one day

Step 6:

We added pathways and sitting stones

Step 7:

We planted hundreds of native plants – trees, shrubs and perennials

Step 8:

We added a layer of gorilla hair and decomposed granite mulch

Step 9:

We kept weeding and watering until we could enjoy a garden …

… that is teeming with life at its fullest!

The Garden is Open to the Public - Come See for Yourself!

Find directions to Bird Park garden location here.

If you want to help maintain our Bird Park garden, sign up below.

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Dante: “It’s awesome! Look at all the insects! I can’t believe this is the same place I used to learn to ride my bike as a kid.”


Chris: “So nice to see native habitat introduced to the park and follow the progress.”

Chris & son Dante

The Next Phase of the Bird Park Project

In preparation for our exciting Phase II of the Bird Park project, Parks & Recreation is currently installing irrigation. We are planning to have the next construction and planting workshops in early 2024. Sign up below to stay tuned!

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