Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

You can’t guess how many times I have seen the sign for the Botanical Gardens and driven right past because I was on my way somewhere. 


The brochure states that the gardens are nationally know for their heather collection.  Umm,  what is heather?  As it turns out, they are very beautiful mounding plants covered with pretty flowers!


I knew about the extensive plantings of rhododendrons and that they bloom in the spring (another trip!).  Many are actually small trees with crazy growth forms and bizarre bark that make them interesting even without blooms.



A half mile trail winds through the garden from the entrance to the ocean.  I headed that way first thinking a walk would be nice before spending time in the perennial garden.  A fence with a lovely twig gate protects this section of the garden from the deer.


If you look closely you can see how the gate braces go between the forks in the twigs.  Very clever construction!


Down the trail I tripped over happy serendipity at the Dahlia Garden. OH MY GOSH!!! This was like hitting the peak of the azalea bloom in Louisiana!  I wasn’t disappointed the rhododendrons weren’t blooming anymore.


Dahlias come in every color; many are multi-colored.  And yes, some are as big as a dinner plate.






One last look at the Dahlia Garden….


Continuing my walk out to the ocean I came upon the Cliff House.  It’s tucked into the side of the bluff with Plexiglas panels to  protect visitors from the wind on blustery winter days.



Back from a walk along the ocean bluff I was soon exploring the Vegetable Garden.  It’s designed like a typical garden that might have been found at a local farm on the coast a generation ago.  (This would be different from vegetable gardens here because our squash leaves don’t grow to be 18” across!).

I love sunflowers. 


And wanted to snap a sunflower with a bee on it.  So here you see the amazing pic that my new Canon captured with very little help from me.  Look closely for the veins on the bee’s wings AND the spots on the ladybug! 


Old wood and old buildings always catch my eye.  This might have been a tool shed at the turn of the century.


A wheel with rusty spokes is now ‘yard art’.


The vegetable garden was so pleasant I could have spent the rest of the day there weeding (not that there were any weeds).  On second thought I headed back to the little food kiosk for a heavenly ‘bean and vege tamale’.  Really good!

The view from the patio where I ate my yummy tamale is of the Perennial Garden.



Like the squash plants, elephant ears grow extra big here!


Can you believe there is even more to see?  I was on over load by the time I found the fabulous collection of begonias in the Display House.


The Woodland Garden is so precious I expected to see a fairy hiding among the fuchsias.


I was really disappointed by the time I found the Cactus (succulent) Garden because my battery (in the camera, not me!) was close to dead.  It will be my first stop next time.


I’ll end with this cool garden sculpture….



P.S. Take away lesson for today?  Never drive past a botanical garden!


  1. Put that new fancy camera on "macro" and you can get as close as 2 inches from your subject, as long as you don't zoom. Great shots though, I really enjoyed them.

  2. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing this :) Heidi and I plan to spend some time in that area on our way back up to Washington, I will definitely make sure we spend some time in those beautiful gardens!

    97 RT 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  3. I delete a comment from TuTuBonnie by accident! Here it is....

    "I love the botanical garden in Mendocino, too. One of these days you and Sandi are going to have to spend a few days in Honolulu and do gardens here -- Lyon Arboretum, Foster Gardens, Waimea Valley out on the North Shore, one of the traditional Hawaiian demonstration gardens (principally food crops with demos on how the produce is used) ... lots of good stuff.

    Aren't these new, truly pocket-sized cameras amazing? Am loving mine."

  4. And YES Bonnie, I would LOVE to visit the gardens in Hawaii!

  5. I just love the twig gate -- what incredible repurposing and creativity!

  6. Hi Diana - Sorry but I didn't know how else to reach you. We blogged about your twig gate photo on our garden living website,, earlier this month. Any changes? Just let me know. You can reach me at (or Have a wonderful day! Emmon

  7. Hi Emmon! Wow that was cool! Thanks for sharing my pic!


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