The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens was founded in 1961 by Ernest Schoefer, a retired nurseryman, and his wife Betty. They began the task of clearing, planting, and trail-building on the 47-acre property. By 1992, the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Park District bought the entire property with grants from the California State Coastal Conservancy.
Regardless of the time of year, there will be something blooming at the Gardens. Rhododendrons tower overhead as the path winds through an array of indigenous plants. In August and September, the Dahlia Garden is awash with an astounding variety of dahlias of all sizes, shapes, and colors.
The Gardens are a nonprofit organization, supported entirely by admissions, memberships, donations, and a lot of work by volunteers. Featuring indigenous plants, this is a beautiful place for picnics and walks, and they allow dogs on leash, too!
The Gardens host several major fundraisers each year: Art in the Gardens and WineSong. One of the most amazing things to see is the Dahlia Garden in August, when all of the dozens of varieties of dahlias are in bloom. They have created a wonderful side garden ringed with dahlias — you won’t believe how beautiful they can be!
Access: the Gardens are on Highway One a scant mile south of Fort Bragg, and 7 miles north of Mendocino. Located at 18220 N. Highway 1, Fort Bragg, 707-964-4352.
Annual Bloom Schedule
- February, March, April: Camellias, early Rhododendrons, Daffodils, Magnolias, Flowering Plums, Pacific Coast Iris
- May, June, July: peak Rhododendrons, Perennials, Foxgloves, Heritage Roses, Cactus Garden, Lilies, Summer Heathers
- August, September, October: peak Perennials, Dahlias & butterflies, Fuchsias, Heritage Roses, Heathers
- November, December, January: Japanese Maples, late Perennials, Winter Heathers, Mushrooms