Botanic Garden Facilities « Return to Biology Resources

The greenhouse, a controlled growing facility covering approximately 740 square feet, holds plant collections from tropical and arid regions as well as plants grown for student projects, campus greening, and the annual Fall Plant Sale. The greenhouse is equipped with a cooling system, a shade system and an irrigation system, which has all been installed in the last 5 years to renovate the greenhouse. The greenhouse facility allows plants that are not adapted to our California climate to still flourish, under warmer temperatures and higher humidity. Unique specimens including Rock Plants, Carnivorous Plants and Orchids can be viewed and appreciated. For more information and to organize a visit, please contact the Botanic Garden Coordinator at or 510.430.2230.

Lath House
The lath house is an outdoor timber structure which provides shade and cooler temperatures for young seedlings and shade-loving plants. The collection of plants within the lath house changes seasonally, although much of the year, the lath house is the site for most of the seed propagation of California native plants. As young seedlings mature they can be moved out of the lath house, where they can tolerate more solar radiation and higher temperatures, in the nearby outdoor growing areas.

Thematic Garden Beds
The majority of the Mills College Botanic Garden is dedicated to thematic beds which reflect different botanical concepts or natural plant assemblages. The following is a working list of the existing thematic beds within the garden:

  • Oak Woodland Bed—featuring 2 Valley Oaks (Quercus lobata)
  • California Native Plant Collections—featuring plants with different pollination syndromes
  • Convergence Bed—featuring genera which have similar traits although they are evolutionarily distinct, such as Opuntia, Mammilaria and Euphorbia
  • Fern Diversity Bed—featuring a diversity of ferns, native and non-native (Mesozoic Era 245-65mya)
  • Women's Healing Bed—featuring plants that provide physical and emotional healing, as well as specimens that are part of the campus-wide "Healing Plant Tour"
  • Coastal Forest—featuring plants native to northern California's coastal region
  • Native Grassland—featuring Purple Needle Grass (Nassella pulchra), a quintessential native perennial grass, this grassland represents what large areas of California once looked like.
  • Native American Healing Garden—a collection of plants native to North America that are significant species in herbal medicine.

Recently installed thematic beds include:

  • Arctostaphylos Diversity Bed—reflects the morphological and geographic diversity of one of California’s quintessential genera, the Manzanita, which has evolved throughout California’s many
  • Ceanothus Diversity Bed—a collection of plants from another quintessential California genera, the California Lilac.

William Joseph McInnes Memorial Garden

The William Joseph McInnes Memorial Garden, part of the Mills College Botanic Garden, was dedicated in the fall of 1947 in memory of William Joseph McInnes, a horticulturalist and the husband of Blanche Rice McInnes, alumna class 1900. Blanche Rice McInnes was a generous supporter of the Botany Department, contributing to the greenhouse, lath house and funds for grounds maintenance. In acknowledgement of Blanche Rice McInnes' generosity, the Joseph McInnes Memorial Garden was established.