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Cal Poly Pomona

Desert Garden

The high mountain ranges of southern California block the storms from the Pacific, creating the deserts. California contains parts of three deserts, the Great Basin of the north, the Mojave Desert, and the western Sonoran Desert, often called the Colorado Desert after the river that marks its eastern side.

Desert plants and animals are adapted to the dry habitats that result from inconsistent seasonal rainfall. After a wet winter, the deserts will be carpeted by annual wildflowers, some of which may have lived as seeds in the dry soil for decades. The perennial plants conserve water, or send their roots to great depths to find it, or simply shut down during the dry season.

Our garden includes plants from across the deserts of California, along with a few from neighboring Arizona.


View of desert garden with spring wildflowers, cholla cacti, yuccas, and mesquite


Next stop: Garden Stream & Waterfall