The Leaning Pine Arboretum California

More than a collection of trees, the Leaning Pine Arboretum is home to many plants, including woody shrubs, annuals, herbaceous perennials, and geophytes. Plants in the collection are arranged, organized, labeled, and accessioned so the Arboretum is properly called a botanic garden.

20140421_Leaning_Pine_Arboretum_SMALL_014However, the Leaning Pine Arboretum is primarily built for education, namely the education of horticulture students at Cal Poly. The arboretum has evolved over the past four and a half decades, entirely under the care and vision of students, faculty, and staff.

Aloe plicatilis Photo: Kim Snyder
Aloe plicatilis Photo: Kim Snyder

Designed and shaped by multiple generations through separate, distinct teaching activities, garden spaces within the arboretum were slowly established over time. Ultimately, the Leaning Pine Arboretum has become a place of learning for the community, a counterpoint to the rapid pace and stress of education and academia, and an inspired public garden.

A Cal Poly student works among the golden flowers of Jerusalem sage (Phlomis longifolia) and silver Stachys canariensis. Photo: Kim Snyder.
A Cal Poly student works among the golden flowers of Jerusalem sage (Phlomis longifolia) and silver Stachys canariensis. Photo: Kim Snyder.

Plantings at the Leaning Pine Arboretum focus mainly on the five mediterranean climate regions of the world: California, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and the Mediterranean Basin.

The South African garden at Leaning Pine Arboretum. Photo: Mike Bush
The South African garden at Leaning Pine Arboretum. Photo: Mike Bush

But as you walk the gardens you will still find a New Zealand collection, a palm collection, a formal garden, a dwarf and unusual conifer collection, and here and there an out of place plant—all vestiges of the garden’s evolution.

Ceanothus ‘Ernie Bryant’ blooming in the Californian Garden at Leaning Pine Arboretum. Photo: Mike Bush
Ceanothus ‘Ernie Bryant’ blooming in the Californian Garden at Leaning Pine Arboretum. Photo: Mike Bush

However, there is also a sense of flow and cohesiveness among the various planting areas. The blending of many diverse projects and ideas over time is not simply a collection of gardens but is one garden.

Aloe striata, Leucospermum reflexum, and Lampranthus roseus in the South African garden at Leaning Pine Arboretum. Photo: Mike Bush
Aloe striata, Leucospermum reflexum, and Lampranthus roseus in the South African garden at Leaning Pine Arboretum. Photo: Mike Bush

With its own unique sense of place, the Leaning Pine Arboretum is a garden that can be as many things and hold as many meanings as its various user groups, which include students, faculty, families, wildlife lovers, and researchers. source

California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) light up the Entry Garden at Leaning Pine Arboretum in spring. 
Photo: Mike Bush
California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) light up the Entry Garden at Leaning Pine Arboretum in spring. 
Photo: Mike Bush

Leaning Pine Arboretum

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