Regional Attraction Review: MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS (Fort Bragg, CA)

by Tony Frankel on August 24, 2014

in Theater-Regional

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GARDEN OF DELIGHTS

Ocean bluffs at MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS in Fort Bragg, CAI wondered what the best weather would be to experience the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. It turns out that the micro-climates in Fort Bragg were quick to change on my recent visit, proving that heavy mist, cloudy skies, and bright, hot sunshine are all appropriate. This 47-acre attraction is surrounded by natural beauty and state parks, but it’s well worth a stop even if you have been out hiking or strolling along the headlands elsewhere.

Obviously, the educational factor is astounding. There are no signs indicating flora on a hike, and I was fascinated to discover the many different types of Rhododendron which thrive in this region (the flowers are best in late winter/early spring). As for color, I was surprised at the vivid displays, from the superbly stunning Dahlia Garden (best in August) to the artist’s palette of perennials in the, you guessed it, Perennial Garden.

Heathers at MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS in Fort Bragg, CA

Some may balk at the $14 admission price, so I would give yourself two to three hours minimum, as you should get lost wandering among the wild and magical trails (such as Pine Forest, Fern Canyon, and Shore Pine) which lead to the expansive coastal bluffs. As it got mistier, the Cliff House proved to be a wonderfully relaxing respite. If you only spend an hour in the Gardens, you may not feel as though you got your money’s worth.

Perrenial Garden at MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS in Fort Bragg, CA

And don’t neglect the Vegetable Garden and Orchard. The food grown here is donated to local food banks, and the quilt-like display is informative and beautiful (if you get hungry, there is a café serving dessert and other treats). Also in the quilt department is the Heaths and Heather Garden, which leads to the Mae E. Lauer Display House, the home for a truly exquisite display of Begonia and Fuchsia. And even if you don’t buy any of the reasonably priced plants in the Nursery Store, the selection is worth a look-see (fair warning: I said I wasn’t buying anything, but the plants were so glorious that I had to pick one up for my friend).

Dahlia Garden at MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS in Fort Bragg, CAphotos courtesy of MCBG

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
18220 North Highway One
Fort Bragg, CA
for info, call (707) 964-4352
or visit www.GardenByTheSea.org

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