Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is a unique natural treasure located at 18220 North Highway 1, just two miles south of Fort Bragg and seven miles north of Mendocino. Our mission is to engage and enrich lives by displaying and conserving plants in harmony with our Northern California coastal ecosystems. This magnificent 47-acre site is one of the few public gardens located directly on the ocean’s shore. The unique environment on the Mendocino Coast makes the Gardens a wonder year-round; each changing season brings new flora and fauna. We welcome visitors and our local community to experience the rugged beauty of the Mendocino Coast mixed with the peaceful tranquility of our garden by the sea. For more information, visit www.gardenbythesea.org.
Summer Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (March–October)
Winter Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (November–February)
The Garden Store and Nursery on the Plaza are open year-round; Rhody’s Garden Café is open April–September. (No admission fee to visit the Store, Nursery, or Café.)
Admission: $15.00 General (15 and older); $12.00 Seniors (65 and older); $8.00 Juniors (aged 6 to 14); Children aged 5 and under are free; $10.00 MCRPD Resident (Gualala to Westport); $12.00/person Groups of 12 or more people; Members are free; $10.00 Member’s Guests; Free to American Horticulture Society Reciprocal Admissions Program Members.
Overview of the Gardens 2017:
MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS
A slice of heaven on the Pacific Ocean
The crashing surf and misty sea air of the North Coast provide the perfect backdrop for the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. The 47-acre garden by the sea hosts an astonishing array of natural beauty with manicured gardens, fern-ringed ponds, hidden pocket gardens, coastal pine forests, and wildflower-strewn bluffs at ocean’s edge. Here, roughly 15,000 California Gray Whales cruise the shores, ospreys circle above one of the richest marine environments in the world, and spectacular flowering terrain spans from the Pacific to the historic Shoreline Highway.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens was founded in 1961 by retired nurseryman Ernest Schoefer and his wife, Betty. Ernest’s keen eye spotted the ample supply of water augmented by the mild coastal climate and quality soil essential to acid-loving plants like Rhododendrons. Since its grand opening more than 55 years ago, the Gardens has grown to include several nationally recognized collections.
No matter the season, there is something for everyone at this beautiful North Coast attraction. Spring brings a riot of color with stunning rhododendrons and magnolias. The Perennial Garden reaches its peak bloom over the summer and the dahlia collection explodes with color in the fall. A winter stroll offers a profusion of bulbs, camellias, and mushrooms. The regional treasure also serves as a haven for more than 160 species of birds and a harbor for rare and endangered plants. Visitors enjoy dramatic blooms, small town charm, local art, and shopping. A seasonal cafe offers made-from-scratch meals with ingredients picked straight from the organic Vegetable Garden.
The Gardens is home to a number of annual (or as we like to call them, perennial) events such as California’s largest Rhododendron Show (with more than 700 entries), The 40th Annual John Druecker Memorial Rhododendron Show, held April 22 and 23. Once a year Retro Sunday gives visitors a taste of the good ol’ days with $1 entrance fee, and $1 single-scoop ice cream. Set amidst the spectacular background of the summer floral displays at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, the 25th Art in the Gardens will be held Saturday, August 5. Festival of Lights has become the main attraction for a coastal holiday getaway. Each year this event transforms Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens into a winter wonderland of luminescent displays. The Gardens also offers year-round educational opportunities providing hands-on training from expert instructors and Gardens’ staff.
The unique environment on the North Coast makes the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens a wonder year-round; each changing season brings new flora and fauna. Experience the rugged beauty of the Mendocino Coast mixed with peaceful tranquility at this garden by the sea.
Photo Credit: Roxanne Golnar