Events & Programs

exhibitions

The Garden produces, hosts and curates exhibitions that explore the intersections of art and nature - celebrating and revealing connections in our larger community and environment.

All exhibitions are free with general admission. Exhibitions in our Container Garden are open during regular Garden hours, 8 am - 5 pm daily. Art Gallery hours are 10 am - 4 pm. Check out our events page for exhibition-related programs, from receptions, artist talks, festivals and more. We also offer workshops and classes centered around our exhibitions. You can see what's coming up on our classes page.

California Butterfly Pavilion

April 28, 2018

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July 29, 2018

10 am - 3 pm daily

Experience the beauty of California butterflies in all their life stages with the native plants they depend on for survival. Discover a diversity of species and color as you encounter a dazzling array of these remarkable pollinators. Pavilion staff and docents share the wonders of our native butterflies with audiences of all ages.

Want to grow with our butterflies all season long? Get the Season Pass! This special deal, offered exclusively for Garden members of all levels, provides unlimited visits to the California ButterflyPavilion from now until July 29 for all named adults on your membership and up to four of your children or grandchildren. You must have a membership in order to purchase. For more details or to reserve a Season Pass, please contact the Advancement Office at (909) 625-8767 x258 or email advancement@rsabg.org.

Sarita Dougherty: Domestic Flora Familiars

March 11, 2018

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May 15, 2018

Art Gallery

Sarita Dougherty, an acclaimed Los Angeles-based artist, presents new paintings that showcase the vibrancy, spiritual meanings and cultural connections of California native plants. Works created during her artist residency at the Huntington Botanical Gardens, as well as plein-air works made at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, will be on view. Dougherty generates and paints habitats from found plants and cultural ephemera. With an MFA from UCLA, she is currently researching the Bolivian "Mother Earth," Pachamama, in connection with aesthetics, ecology, and education. 

Game of Thorns

November 12, 2017

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August 15, 2018

Container Garden

Game of Thorns, an outdoor exhibition at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, focuses on the art and armaments of botanical warfare. Over millions of years, endless duels between California native plants and their predators have given rise to the incredible thorns we see today. The exhibition features these living fortresses and showcases their weaponry through large-scale macro and microscope photography, gigantic sculptures, immersive exhibits and more. 

When it comes to war, plants don’t retreat. Rooted to the ground like castles of old, plants have evolved an array of armaments to defend against their mortal enemies. This floral arms race has produced a stockpile of protrusions, from spines as sharp as samurai swords to insidious barbs that resemble  whaling harpoons. Perhaps all of us have experienced the unexpected wrath of a plant’s thorns, spines, needles, prickles or barbs. With anatomical names as diverse as the pained noises they can cause, plants have independently evolved these protrusions many times over. Barbed, hooked, serrated and envenomed, microscopic or massive, warningly poised in vivid color or stealthily hidden, the arsenal and qualities of botanical weapons are limitless.

Indeed, the botanical battlefield is a Game of Thorns.