Montalvo Arts Center is remarkable in no small part because of its rich tapestry of formal and informal gardens. Miles of hiking trails that meander through the restful forests adjoining the gardens give visitors additional opportunities to connect with nature’s majesty.
The gardens are home to many species and varieties of plants both native and exotic. A centerpiece is the formal Italianate Garden which features towering Cypress trees, fragrant citrus, and hundreds of white roses. Other highlights include the Phelan Cactus Garden which showcases colorful and fanciful plant forms; the Blue Garden featuring plantings of "blue" succulents, palms, and shrubs; and the stately Great Lawn, home to gorgeous trees and countless picnickers on summer days.
The grounds are also a stunning setting for works of outdoor art. As part of Montalvo’s Art on the Grounds program, sculpture, installation, and sound art—both historic and by contemporary artists—are on view for the public’s enjoyment year-round.
As a member-supported non-profit organization, Montalvo relies on its volunteers and donations to sustain the legacy of Senator Phelan and complete work on projects such as the rehabilitation of the Italianate Garden. Donations to our gardens are a great way to give back to the community and are welcome in any form. If you want to spend some time volunteering to work on the garden, donate a tree, or make a much-needed tax-deductible cash contribution, please contact Volunteer Resources at 408-961-5828.