UC Master Gardeners collaborate with city to open Centennial Park Demonstration Garden

PASO ROBLES — UC Master Gardeners, whose mission is to extend research-based knowledge and information on home horticulture, pest management, and sustainable landscape practices to the residents of San Luis Obispo County, is now officially in Paso Robles, welcoming residents to visit their new demonstration garden at the Centennial Park. On Saturday, Aug. 12, the UC Master Gardeners of San Luis Obispo County will host an Open House from 8 to 11 a.m. at 600 Nickerson Drive in Paso Robles. 

The garden project has been two years in the making, beginning in August 2020 when the initial conversations started with the City of Paso Robles and the University of California Regents for the UC Master Gardener Program of San Luis Obispo County to take responsibility for the 3,500-square-foot garden space at the city’s Centennial Park. 

“The City of Paso Robles is thrilled to partner with the Master Gardeners of SLO County to present a beautifully renewed Centennial Park Demonstration Garden for the benefit, enjoyment and education of our community,” said Community Services Director Angelica Fortin. “As we continue to develop this 3,500-square-foot garden space together, we will focus on demonstrating water conservation, providing food to the hungry and inviting community interaction. We believe the garden will become a special place for community members to learn and grow together toward these common goals.”


After a year of planning and planting, the garden space is now ready for viewing and offers a learning landscape and teaching garden to the community at large. With a collection of planted plots that are designed as an educational tool for garden visitors, the UC Master Gardener volunteers have put together eight different garden plots to explore including: Trees; Grapes and Berries; Turf Alternatives; Kitchen Garden; Curb Appeal/Pollinator Garden; Four Seasons Bulb Garden; Compost; California Natives and Wildlife Habitat; and the Succulents/Fire Safety Plot. All plots are models for low-water use gardening.

UC Master Gardener volunteers will be stationed in the garden to discuss the eight different garden plots, which reflect the joint goals of the two organizations for this garden space: developing community green spaces, demonstrating water-wise gardening practices, donating food to local food banks, and providing opportunities for community education.

Soon, workshops will be scheduled at the garden, with topics such as home landscape design, pest identification, and management, pruning, what plants do and don’t grow well locally, as well as other topics, keeping in mind the special climate requirements of North County. Workshop topics at the new garden will also be selected based on survey results collected at the upcoming Open House in August. Input from the community on preferred format and scheduling is encouraged and appreciated.

Future plans for the garden will include monthly open garden days, where UC Master Gardeners will be in the Centennial Park Demonstration Garden to answer questions. 

“We’re so thrilled to engage with the North County and help support their gardening success,” said Maria Murrietta, program coordinator for the UC Master Gardener Program of SLO County. “While we’ve had a strong presence in San Luis Obispo at the Garden of the Seven Sisters Demonstration Garden, this new garden offers a second beautiful place to host UC Master Gardener Program events and engage with home gardeners who have questions or want to learn more about gardening.” 

For more information about the UC Master Gardeners of San Luis Obispo County, call (805) 781-5939 or visit ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo/.

Feature Image: (From left) UC Master Gardeners Jacqueline Adams Shubitowski, Karen Russu and Dan Ulrich are shown hard at work in the Paso Robles Demonstration Garden. Photo by Beth Wray