Landscaping Ideas

Browse Landscapes

Get ideas for your yard
Find a Local
Concrete Contractor
See contractor photos & info in
your area on
Search by city/state or postal code
Northern California Landscaping

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Five reasons to visit this seaside garden with majestic views

  • The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens feature an extensive selection of garden areas, including the perennial garden (shown in winter), vegetable section, and succulent garden. (Photo courtesy Genevieve Schmidt)
  • The heather garden features year-round color and interest from Erica, Calluna, and Daboecia varieties. (Photo courtesy Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens)
  • Garden art and statuary is incorporated into nearly every bed, showing beautiful examples of how to use art effectively within planted areas. (Photo courtesy Genevieve Schmidt)
  • Fragrant rhododendrons are just one of the inspiring varieties featured in the rhododendron and camellia areas. (Photo courtesy Genevieve Schmidt)
  • The dahlia garden comes alive in summer with a brilliant display of color. (Photo courtesy Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens)
  • The garden shop has a wide selection of plants from the garden available for sale. (Photo courtesy Genevieve Schmidt)
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

If you’re taking a leisurely trip along the California coast, you won’t want to miss the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. It’s located right along the ocean, so you can walk down one half of the garden and pause at the whale watching house to enjoy the majestic views, before catching the rest of the garden sights.

Coastal gardeners will be delighted to see the number of plants which can be grown successfully in seaside conditions. Of course, even if you don’t live on the coast, the varied sections of the garden will give you design inspiration for creating beautiful vignettes in the shade, in sunny perennial gardens, and even in your vegetable garden. Read on for some of the top reasons to visit.

Heather gardenHeathers are one of the most versatile plants for gardening on the coast, because they’re evergreen, tolerate salt wind with ease, and need little care once established. Even better, after a view visits to the Mendocino Botanical Garden, you’ll notice that no matter what time of year you visit, the heather garden has something in season. Their display beds show how to combine the varied forms and colors of heathers to create year-round garden interest.

Garden art and statuaryThe gardens feature numerous art installations in a range of styles including modern, Asian-inspired, and rustic. There are even a few humorous pieces to wow the kids, like the giant metal spiders in the carnivorous plant section. You’ll find examples of the variety of ways you can incorporate art pieces into the garden, such as nestling them among shrubs, placing them among a stand of groundcovers, or standing them near a water feature to bring a sense of verticality to the area.

Rhododendrons and camelliasA number of unusual rhododendrons and camellias bloom in winter and spring, including variegated, fragrant, upright and weeping varieties. If you have a partly-shaded or forested location, consider planting one of these tough-yet-showy shrubs. Both rhodies and camellias need acid soil with ample quantities of compost or mulch, but are otherwise unfussy once established. The planting combinations in the gardens will inspire you to seek out unusual varieties and prune them in uncommon ways to achieve a personalized look in your own home garden.

DahliasWhat gardener doesn’t love dahlias? Even in the coldest climate, dahlias are an easy bloomer which can be grown in pots and brought indoors each winter. The impressive display gardens will help you narrow down which colors and forms you most enjoy (black pompon? Red cactus-style?), so you’ll be able to select the best varieties to suit your own garden style. Bonus: Every few years the Botanical Garden divides their bounty and offers the results for sale outside the gift shop. Call ahead to get the date of the next sale.

The garden shopLast but not least is the garden shop. Can anyone leave a botanical garden without a long list of “must-have” plants? I sure can’t. Luckily, the garden shop carries an extensive selection of highlights from the garden, including unusual herbs, colorful succulents, ornamental grasses with year-round interest, and of course, shrubs and flowering perennials that will fit into any garden style

While the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden is off the beaten path, the local wineries, specialty nurseries and coastal scenery make the trip a worthwhile destination. It’s even dog-friendly, so you can visit with your favorite canine companion.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Contributing Author:

Genevieve Schmidt, contributing writer for Landscaping Network and owner of North Coast Gardening

Related Reading:

Return to Northern California Landscaping

Free Weekly Newsletter

Love Landscaping Network? Sign up to receive the weekly newsletter from our sister site, Garden Design! You’ll join thousands of design-conscious readers to get gardening inspiration and innovative design solutions for enjoying outdoor spaces.

No Thanks

* Required

We will never sell or distribute your email to any other parties or organizations.