Rhododendrons at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

May 15, 2016
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Rhododendrons at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

A springtime visit to Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg, California

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is located along California’s scenic Pacific Coast Highway, State Route 1 at Fort Bragg. The Gardens was founded in 1961 by retired nurseryman Ernest Schoefer and his wife Betty. The Grand Opening occurred in 1966. Today the Gardens belong to Mendocino Coast Recreation and Park District. The Gardens is known for its tender species Rhododendrons. Native to the cloud forests of Southeast Asia and the Himalayas, they thrive in the foggy, coastal climate of the northern California coast.

More than 1,000 rhododendrons can be seen at the Gardens. Not all bloom at once. There are early, mid and late season bloomers. March and April are typically the time to see rhododendrons in bloom. I visited in mid-April and was amazed to see so many different kinds and colours of rhododendrons.

Rhododendrons at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden

The Gardens has more than rhododendrons. Other collections include begonias, fuschia, camellias, heath and heather, heritage roses, magnolias and succulents. The dahlia garden didn’t look like much when I visited, but I imagine it would be quite splendid at the end of summer. There is even a vegetable garden.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden Perennial Garden

Perennial Garden

Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden Desert Garden

Desert Garden

Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden

Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden

Natural areas of the garden harbour rare and endangered plants. A walk through pines leads to a bluff of coastal prairies and views of the Pacific Ocean. The Gardens has become a haven for bird-watchers.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden

Mendocino Coast Gardens is open every day except the Saturday after Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Main trails are wheelchair accessible to the ocean. There is a café on site. You can purchase food to take into the garden or bring your own picnic lunch. Well-mannered dogs on leashes are allowed.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

PIN ITMendocino Coast Botanical Garden in Fort Bragg, California - rhododendrons bloom in spring time

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  • Reply
    jacquiegum
    May 15, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Rhododendrons have long been a favorite of mine. Maybe because I’ve not lived anywhere that was suitable for their growth:) Looks like Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is the place to be dazzled by them! Wonderful pictures!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 17, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Jacquie, they don’t grow where I live either and I amazed to see how many varieties and colours there were.

  • Reply
    Anita and Richard @ No Particular Place To Go
    May 16, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Glorious! I love places like these where the gardens become the art displays. The Mendocino Gardens look like a lovely place to stroll and linger. Anita

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 17, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Anita, we didn’t have time to linger long in Mendocino Gardens but it would have been a lovely spot to stay for a while with a book or picnic lunch.

  • Reply
    Jeri Walker (@JeriWB)
    May 16, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    I first discovered rhododendrons (or at least became aware of what they were actually called) when living in North Carolina. Some of the best pictures I’ve ever taken were up in a mountain stream when thousand of blossoms were floating on the water and wafting in the air. It was magical. I also went to the Roan Mountain Rhododendron festival with my cousin in Tennessee. Seeing all those blooms over the hillsides was quite the sight.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 17, 2016 at 9:00 am

      Jeri, the blossoms on the water does sound magical. As does the blooms over a hillside.

  • Reply
    Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com
    May 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Donna, I’ve been to Mendocino before, but not the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg. It’s on my short list of places to get to, especially since its so close by. Looks like a tranquil place and the rhododendrons are stunning.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 18, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Susan, it is tranquil. They are known for their rhododendrons but there are a lot of other plants there as well and it would be interesting to see what is in bloom at other times of the year.

  • Reply
    Sabrina Quairoli
    May 17, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I love rhododendrons. They are so beautiful. My backyard is narrow and I just can’t fit them in my backyard. That’s one reason why I go to botanical gardens in different cities. =) Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 18, 2016 at 8:38 am

      Sabrina, I love to visit botanical gardens too and see the plants I love but cannot grow because of space or climate.

  • Reply
    Ken Dowell
    May 17, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Some beautiful color. I especially like the pink ones in the top of page image. But if I were to find myself there, you would probably find me hanging around the desert garden. Have always been fascinated by desert plant life.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 18, 2016 at 8:40 am

      Ken, I’m fascinated by desert plant life too. Possibly because the plants can be quite different and their beauty is found in unexpected places, growing under tough conditions.

  • Reply
    Catarina Alexon
    May 18, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Nice pictures. Love rhodondendrons and grew up surrounded by them. Not only in our gardens but in public places as well.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 18, 2016 at 8:41 am

      Catarina, you were lucky to have such beauty around you.

  • Reply
    lenie5860
    May 18, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Donna, I am so envious of these gardens – wish I could grow rhododendrons here, they are a most beautiful plant. I went to the Royal Botanical Gardens with my son and his family and had a marvelous time in similar type beauty. If I had to do it all over again I think I would squeeze a landscaping course into my schedule. What you can do with plants is fascinating.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 18, 2016 at 8:42 am

      Lenie, I wanted to take a landscaping course too but it never quite worked out. I no longer much to landscape so it’s unlikely I’ll take one now.

  • Reply
    Phoenicia
    May 18, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Such beautiful flowers. The gardens are simply breathtaking.

    I feel a holiday coming on!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 20, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Thanks Phoenicia.

  • Reply
    heraldmarty
    May 19, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    This is just beautiful Donna and I made a note of it because I’m planning a visit to my niece in CA and this looks like a great addition to the itinerary. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 20, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Marquita, I hope you enjoy the Gardens if you get a chance to visit. You will have to let me know what is in bloom at the time of year you’re there.

  • Reply
    Ruth
    May 19, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Oh my! What a beautiful place! I haven’t been to Mendocino yet (or places north of San Francisco). It is one of those places that have escaped my plans for a long time. I hope I can visit soon.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 20, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Ruth, the area around Mendocino and Fort Bragg is beautiful. The Pacific Coast Highway is a stunning drive.

  • Reply
    kathymarris
    May 19, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Incredibly beautiful! I will have to visit here.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 20, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Kathy, it is worth a visit when you’re in the area.

  • Reply
    budgettraveltalk
    May 20, 2016 at 1:02 am

    A lovely array of blooms and so close to the ocean cliffs as well. Great for a walk after checking out the rhododendrons.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 20, 2016 at 8:39 am

      It is a lovely walk along the ocean cliffs. Also a nice spot to just stop and sit for a while.

  • Reply
    Jason B
    May 20, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    The gardens look wonderful.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 22, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Jason.

  • Reply
    Brooke of Passport Couture
    May 20, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Although all of the gardens in this botanical garden are beautiful, it’s the rhododendrons that steal the show! Thanks for all of the wonderful and inviting springtime flowers.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 25, 2016 at 8:12 am

      Brooke, the rhododendrons really did steal the show!

  • Reply
    Grey World Nomads
    May 21, 2016 at 8:37 am

    The Rhododendrons are also out in England finally. I’m not sure if there are as much colours as in Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg, California. But they are just beautiful! #TPThursday

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 22, 2016 at 10:19 am

      They’re beautiful in any colour, aren’t there?

  • Reply
    Erica
    May 21, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Mendocino Gardens looks so beautiful. I went to Descano Gardens earlier this year on free museum day and I just loved it. I went during winter when things weren’t in bloom but it was still wonderful. I also love that you can bring dogs. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be up in that direction, but I’ll definitely check it out if I am.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 22, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Erica, it is interesting to visit the same gardens at different times of the year – it’s like visiting different gardens. It’s nice when a garden can still be beautiful in winter.

  • Reply
    InsideJourneys
    May 21, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Wow, these gorgeous rhododendrons are so beautiful. They make me smile!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 22, 2016 at 10:22 am

      They made me smile too.

  • Reply
    ramonamckean
    May 21, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Beautiful. As regards flowers, I think there ought to be a law, especially when they’re pretty. They must be fragrant! Rhodos are too pretty not to smell sweet. Azaleas the same thing, except the orange and yellow ones, at least around here. Their fragrance is spicy sweet.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 22, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Azaleas and rhododendrons are very similar. I’ve read what differentiates them but I’m not sure I could tell them apart without help. The spicy sweet fragrance of the orange and yellow azaleas intrigues me.

  • Reply
    Rosary Natania
    May 21, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    Those rhododendrons are absolutely beautiful! I love visiting botanical gardens to de-stress and get away from the city life once in a while. Thanks for sharing this post!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 22, 2016 at 10:26 am

      Rosary, botanical gardens are good de-stressers for sure. I also like visiting them when I travel when they provide insight into the local plants and eco-systems. Thanks for stopping byd.

  • Reply
    Zaria Papa
    May 24, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Hi Donna,

    The flowers are so beautiful, I totally love your photos! It looks like a perfect garden to walk with your family or with friends. I would personally enjoy such an experience. Thank you for sharing!

    Zaria

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      May 25, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Zaria, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. It is a nice garden to walk through with family or friends.

  • Reply
    Rose Mary Griffith
    May 31, 2016 at 4:16 am

    Lovely! The varied colors of the flowers is one of my favorite things. Our rhododendrons were just beginning to bud before I left on this trip. I hope I haven’t missed the glorious colors.

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