Pacifica’s Nature-Art Path and Garden

“Beauty or its lack affects all of us in unseeable ways. It is as necessary to the human spirit as truth. Beauty and its recognition in the arts, gardens and landscapes, nature and the environment will help to bring clarity, trust, gentleness into a world lost to anxiety and uncertainty…” ~
John O’Donahugh

Pacifica would like your help to construct a ¾ mile-long Nature-Art Path and Garden: an outdoor art museum that will benefit the community, as well as artists, in many ways. We would like to build an art-embedded path in a beautiful natural setting along which to walk…but not just “walk!”

It will be a place…

  • to encourage an understanding and appreciation of art, from sculpture and visual art to written art, including poetry, nature and art notes, and quotes from nature writing.
  • to provide another, slightly different place for local artists to show and to sell their work.
  • to introduce some to the wonders of art and offer an encouraging starting point for art classes.

“The artist must come out of the isolation of galleries and museums and provide a concrete consciousness of the present as it really exists…We should begin to develop an art education based on relationships to specific sites. How we see things and places is not a secondary concern, but primary.” ~
Robert Smithson

It will be a place…

  • to learn about nature, gently, enjoyably, and hands-on. Natural objects with magnifiers and explanatory displays will interspersed between the artwork.
  • to provide interesting information about plants and nature.
  • to offer hands-on educational displays.

Look at anything closely, from a drop of water or a butterfly’s wing to a flower or a shell, and you’ll find not only a work of art, but also a miracle of science and engineering. This world is amazing both for its simplicity and for its incredibly beautiful complexity, where all things needed for life are cycled and each infinitely small puzzle piece has a home. The more people, including children, who understand this beauty, the better we all will be.

“…To make local nature a concrete element in daily life. This is a necessary initial step in the re-enchantment of our individual lives…” ~
Thomas Moore


It will be a place…

  • to fill our senses and restore our emotional and spiritual balance, as well as a gathering place for community.
  • to slow down and enjoy both nature’s beauty and art’s beauty.
  • to bring people together. It will be scattered with benches and picnic tables, as well as art.

We all need places where we can slow down, step outside the whirlwind of our lives for a “moment” of stillness. A place where we can renew our reverence for life, our feelings of harmony, gratitude, and compassion. Likewise, we need places to gain support and connectedness with our neighbors and friends. In Europe such walking is a common and much-loved activity.

It will also help…

  • to tie Pacifica Garden together. Currently, most of the activity at Pacifica is separated across our 500 acres. This path and garden will be a way to bring these activities together and make use of the space in between.
  • to encourage visitors and conferences to come enjoy Pacifica.

With a warp and weft of science and art, gardens are inseparably woven into our lives. The landscaping of this path and garden will concentrate on “beauty.” Japanese maples, flowering trees and shrubs, fall colors, and informal beds of flowers will make it a path of interest and color in any season. In addition, off the main trail will be areas for “artists’ plants” (with interpretive material available), including collections (large enough to use) of basket willows, dye plants, plants for weaving, plants for paper making, etc.

In order to make this dream a reality, we will need the support of our friends and neighbors. Learn how you can help Pacifica Garden achieve this dream on our How You Can Help page.

A note to our visitors: Our gardens are still in their infancy at this time. The rocks and trees in our Rock Garden and Western Native Garden are the “bones” of our botanic gardens which will be augmented with time, additional finances, and the completion of Forestfarm Nursery‘s move to Pacifica. In the meantime, we welcome you to enjoy the ambience and wild landscape that Pacifica provides! You can also take advantage of the “Botanical Garden in pots” provided by Forestfarm at Pacifica.

Plants Used by Artists

Among the plans we have for this path and garden are special areas for growing plants used by artists, including the following:

Plants for Basket-Making:

  • Willows (Salix) a variety – warp or weft
  • Dogwoods/osiers (Cornus) a variety – warp or weft
  • Bamboo
  • Alder (Alnus) – warp or weft
  • Hazel (Corylus) – warp
  • Redbud (Cercis) – warp or weft
  • Mockorange (Philadelphus) – warp
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier) – warp
  • Wisteria – weft
  • Vinca – weft
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera) – weft
  • Grasses
  • Cattail (Typha)
  • Sweetshrub (Calycanthus) – weft
  • Grape (Vitis) – warp or weft
  • And many more

Plants for Paper-Making:

  • Milkweed (Asclepias)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • Cattail (Typha)
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia)
  • Bamboo
  • Iris
  • Poplar (Populus)
  • Hornbeam (Carpinus)
  • Mulberry (Morus)
  • Blackberry (Rubus)
  • And many more (some from the veggie garden, like pumpkins, leeks, and eggplants)

Plants for Dyeing:

  • Daphne
  • Alder (Alnus)
  • Goldenrod (Solidago)
  • Heather (Calluna)
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
  • Sagebrush (Artemisia)
  • Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria)
  • Coreopsis
  • Smokebush (Cotinus)
  • Cardinal Plant (Lobelia)
  • Oregon Grape (Mahonia)
  • Sumac (Rhus)
  • Huckleberry (Vaccinium)
  • Grape (Vitis)
  • And many more (some from the veggie garden)

Plants for Weaving and Sculpture:

  • Willows (Salix)
  • Hazel (Corylus)
  • And many more

Plants for Stamping:

  • Maples
  • Ferns
  • Grasses
  • And many more