The San Diego Botanic Garden began as "Quail Gardens" in 1971, and the address and local signs reflect that start. In 1993 they lost financial support from Dan Diego County and the non-profit Quail Botanical Gardens Foundation, Inc. was formed to operate the gardens. The current name was instituted in 2009.
Stewards of the environment, new parking lots have permeable surfaces to reduce runoff, solar panels produce electricity, green roofs cool buildings while reducing water runoff, and of course all plastic, paper, and metal is recycled.
They've constructed the botanic garden using water wise gardening methods. Through the use of recycled water, weather sensitive controllers, and low-water sprinklers, they use and display remarkable ways to save valuable resources. Prunings and leaves are shredded and composted and reused naturally in the gardens as mulch.
So often in professional gardens one wanders through, admiring the beauty, while stupefied by the plants. Everything mingles together with no identification of the individual components. That experience is non-existent in San Diego. Everything is exquisitely labeled with an abundance of interesting plant information. On the few occasions I saw a planting with no identifying sign, a quick search revealed information hidden under a branch or limb of a neighboring plant. They're unobtrusive and blend in well.
At this writing the admission price for adults is $12, with a $2 parking fee. I found a 50% off coupon in the magazine "101 Things To Do In San Diego", which can be found in most local tourist centers and visitor bureaus. The $14 total price my wife and I paid was the best expenditure of our vacation.
I don't know when we'll get back to San Diego; our last trip was two years ago. Even with that uncertainty I'm sorely tempted to become a member of the San Diego Botanic Garden. Even though I won't be able to use the benefits, I can help an organization that is doing everything right for the world of plants and gardening.
If you're a gardener, and planning to visit San Diego, check out the San Diego Botanic Garden. If you live in or near San Diego county, consider becoming a member. You be a richer gardener for either choice.
Link to San Diego Botanic Garden