Listed below are botanic gardens in Southern California that focus on California native plants or similar drought tolerant species.
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara
A 78 acre garden (with over 5 miles of trails) dedicated to native plants. If you can't relax here, you need professional help... They also have regular classes and events, and a retail nursery that is open year-round. Great bookstore, too! Their Fall Sale is the 3rd Saturday in October.
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont
Another lovely native garden to visit (though it can be hot in the summer months). Don't miss the show of Ceanothus in the spring. They also have regular classes and events, plus near-legendary plant sales in the Spring and Fall (first weekend in November). See sidebar for Hotline info.
Conejo Botanic Garden, Thousand Oaks
Native plants, oak trees, water-conserving plants, and specialty areas. Their nursery specialises in California native and drought tolerant plants. During winter plants sales will be held on the 1st Saturday of the month at the CVBG nursery, 10am to 12pm. Other times of the year plants sales are held every first and third Saturday of the month.
UC Riverside Botanic Garden, Riverside
The Gardens covers 40 hilly acres with four miles of scenic trails; more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. Check their calendar for dates of their annual spring and fall plant sales.
SLO Botanic Garden
For those who live in Central California, keep on eye on the San Luis Obispo Botanic Garden. They already have a nice demonstration garden of California native and Mediterranean climate plants, with big plans for a much-expanded garden and visitor's center.