The idea for a garden came from Mr. Wrigley's wife, Ada. In 1935, she supervised Pasadena horticulturalist Albert Conrad, who planted the original Desert Plant Collection. Santa Catalina Island's temperate marine climate made it possible to showcase plants from every corner of the earth.
In 1969, the Wrigley Memorial Garden Foundation expanded and revitalized the garden's 37.85 acres. Along with the new plantings came a new attitude. In the same way that the Wrigley Memorial uses primarily native building materials, the Garden places a special emphasis on California island endemic plants. (Plants, which grow naturally on one or more of the California islands, but nowhere else in the world.) Many of these plants are extremely rare, and some are on the Endangered Species list.
The Memorial Garden is particularly concerned with the eight Catalina endemics- plants which grow naturally only on Santa Catalina Island. The Wrigley Memorial Garden Foundation maintains a special interest in the preservation of all Catalina endemics, including the rare Catalina Ironwood.
text courtesy Catalina Island Conservancy