The Arboretum & Compost Demonstration Garden

The Arboretum is a water-wise, eco-friendly demonstration garden.  It contains a compost demonstration site, butterfly gardens, Valley native forest, vegetable gardens, and an outdoor classroom. 

This is where Cameron County Master Gardeners both teach and learn.   Located at the corner of Williams Road and Expressway 77 in San Benito (formerly, the Levis plant), the garden is open to the public from 7 am to 7 pm.  Drop by or contact us to schedule a tour for your school or organization.


In 2006, Cameron County was renovating the old Levis building for a county annex.   The Master Gardeners noticed a large piece of raw land on the south side of the  facility and began envisioning a demonstration and teaching garden.  That August, the Cameron County Commissioners Court gave the Master Gardeners use of this land in perpetuity.  

Native Valley Forest

In November 2006, the Master Gardeners planted 29 native and adapted trees.   We want to share varieties that we feel perform well in our area.    This was a place we could showcase some native trees we feel perform well in the home landscape here in the Rio Grande Valley.  We also chose to include a few non-native varieties that are unique to our area.  The chosen varieties include:

  • Anacua, Ehretia anacua
  • Cedar Elm, Ulmus crasifollia
  • Ebony, Pithecellobium ebano
  • Guayacan, Guaiacum agustifolium
  • Honey Mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa
  • Live Oak, Quercus virginiana
  • Texas Huisache, Acacia smallii
  • Texas Mountain Laurel, Sophora secundiflora
  • Texas Persimmons, Diospyros texana
  • Western Soapberry, Sapindus saponaria v. drummondii
  • Wild Olive, Cordia bossifolia

Compost Demonstration Garden

In 2008, we received a grant from the Lower Rio Grande Development Council to build a Compost Demonstration Garden.