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Senator James Phelan created the garden in the 1920s to showcase interesting and unusual plants. Over time the surrounding trees grew, creating the shadier condition we see today. In 2009, a group of volunteers began to rehabilitate the garden with a collection of succulents and cacti more suited to the setting. Both cacti and succulents are good choices for gardens adhering to low or no water needs. We hope you enjoy the exotic combination of textures, shapes and colors of the plants, true to the spirit of the original.


The Phelan Cactus Garden has undergone major rehabilitation in the past few years, and Montalvo has these sponsors, donors, and volunteers to thank for their tireless efforts to help maintain our beautiful landscape.

  • Sharon Armstrong, Landscape Designer, BLUEZONE Landscape Design
  • Capitol Wholesale Nursery, plant donations
  • Paul Daniels, Paul Daniels Landscape Design
  • Foothill College, plant donations and greenhouse space
  • Friends of Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County, Donation
  • Donna Guldimann, Donna Guldimann Garden Design
  • Jim Kern, plant donations
  • Kay La Plain, Foothill College, KLP Garden Partnership
  • Mary Ann Scanlon, Gardens by Mary Ann, lead designer
  • Christy Smith, Stanford Arizona Garden, plant donations
  • Jim Wagoner, Foothill College, Environmental Horticulture and Design
  • Peninsula Building Materials, gravel donation
  • Byron Fan, Saratoga High School student
  • Ernesto Sandoval, UC Davis botanical Conservatory - plant donations
  • Laura Needham, Sunlight and Flowers Gardening
  • Susan Steele, Montalvo volunteer
  • Chris Todd, Garden Escapes by Chris Todd