Mendocino Botanical Gardens
(officially, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens) is one of the most
unusual Northern California attractions. It's not often you'll find
colorful gardens combined with the rugged beauty of the Northern
California coast. But back in 1961 a retired nurseryman, Ernest Schoefer, and his wife decided that the good soil and mild climate made this the perfect spot for a garden. The gardens first opened in 1966.
Located on rocky headlands just south of Fort Bragg, California, these gardens display a varied collection of plants that thrive in the mild climate and moist coastal conditions. Nature trails wind throughout the grounds, taking you through gardens, canyons, pine forest, and out onto the coastal bluffs.
Photo © Ross Stapleton-Gray|istockphoto.com
"Ent Maiden" ceramic sculpture by Roland Woolsey Photo © Larry McCombs | flickr.com
The Mendocino Botanical Gardens features both native and exotic
species on its 47 acres. Most notable are the rhododendrons, which
produce masses of fragrant blooms in the spring. There's also a heather
garden, camellias, roses, perennials, a woodland garden, fern canyons,
and groves of pine and alder. Even the coastal bluffs are rich with
color. And what garden would be complete without the artistic touch? Sculptures can be found throughout the gardens, the result of a partnership with the Arts Council of Mendocino County.
You can also purchase plants and garden-related items from the nursery and store. They specialize in rhododendrons, heathers, and native plants.
Photo © Susan LeBlanc | flickr.om
Entrance to Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens Photo © Larry McCombs | flickr.com
The Botanical Gardens hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including bird and whale-watching walks, concerts, educational workshops and more. The Gardens' main trails are wheelchair accessible, and they even provide electric carts to special needs guests, first come first served.
Bring a picnic to enjoy in one of the picnic areas on the grounds. There's also a snack bar, open seasonally. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are also welcome. There’s an admission fee. Located at 18220 North Highway One in Fort Bragg.
Coastal View at Mendocino Botanical Gardens Photo © Allie Caufield | flickr.com