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Ventura Botanical Gardens hosts fundraiser amidst Thomas Fire burn area

The Thomas Fire destroyed the 107 acre botanical gardens behind Ventura’s City Hall last December, but that didn’t stop supporters form hosting their annual fundraising brunch.

Former Mayor Rosa Lee Measure welcomed the visitors to a tent amid the burn area on Sunday.

Many of the donors including the board of director’s president Barbara Brown lost her home in the Thomas Fire.

She told the crowd how she watched the fire burn the things she cares about and she showed off a necklace with a piece of pottery found in the ashes of her own home.

The Ventura Botanical Gardens Executive Director Joe Cahill told the crowd that the number of people who visit botanic gardens almost matches the people who attend professional sporting events.

Cahill joked that people are welcome to visit the garden and take-a-knee to plant a seed.

He said it will take years to grow back but he is optimistic.

“We are very lucky because our master plan was developed by the community and it is to represent places from the Mediterranean climate regions of the world and in hindsight that was a great decision because many of those plants have great adaptations to fire and so a large proportion of the plants in the collection re growing back from the ground up. So it may take several years for them to be noticeable again, but the good news is they are surviving and thriving,” said Cahill.

The program also included a video of the work taking place in the gardens that may be viewed on vimeo at,

Supporters are invited to become members of a perennial society by donating annually to the nonprofit.

For more information about donations and naming opportunities on a future welcome center visit

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