72425 Via Vail
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

Desert Canyon Habitat


The Desert Canyon Habitat

The essence of the Sacred Grounds vision is to provide native habitat for our pollinators, lizards, birds and other critters by creating demonstration native gardens that also engage and educate people to promote conservation.

Our long-term plans call for creating possibly five native habitat gardens, and we began with the Desert Canyon Habitat in October 2023. Located between the picnic area by the labyrinth, the retention pond, and the parking lot the habitat is about 7,500 sq. ft. in size. To provide the feel of a desert canyon, we brought in 35 tons of boulders of various sizes. Native plantings include ironwood to provide partial shade, desert lavender and other bushes and shrubs and some annuals.

Take a tour!  Desert Canyon Habitat Tour, January 7, 2024


Dedication January 7, 10 AM 

The public Dedication of the Desert Canyon Habitat occured on January 7, 2024, featuring several guest speakers including Dr. Cameron Barrows of UCR Center for Conservation Biology, Lisha Astorga of Desert Strawhouse, and Rev Barbara Fast, retired UUA minister.

After the Dedication, an Exhibitor Fair included The Living Desert, the Friends of Desert Mountains, the California Native Plant Society, Desert Strawhouse, the UCR Palm Desert Center, Chuckwalla National Monument, Oswit Land Trust, and Milkweed for Monarchs.



Creating a desert canyon on our natural blow sand grounds was our most challenging garden, involving grading, bringing in substantial rock, and creating partial shade.

We found a construction site that needed a place to dump boulders and were able to get 25 tons by just paying for delivery. To that we added another 10 tons of smaller rocks. We purchased over one hundred plants as part of the UCR Garden Day, working with the California Native Plant Society, the Living Desert and Desert Strawhouse.

Many hundreds of volunteer hours installed irrigation, planted the bushes and trees, moved rocks, added signage and so much more.


Native Species

Species representative of Coachella Valley Desert Canyons, specifically the lower reaches of the Santa Rosas, provide the natural habitat needed for native pollinators, birds, lizards and small mammals.

As the ironwood trees grow, they will provide partial shade for the garden, ample nesting and perching sites for birds, and seeds for animals. Our native Costa’s Hummingbirds love the new Chuparosa, and native pollinators will thrive with the Desert Lavender, and lizards enjoy the Mallow flower petals.

By creating the terrain and planting native species, the rest of the ecological community can find habitat. Just weeks after installing the garden two new species of lizards moved in, the Whiptail Lizard and the Desert Collared Lizard.