Thursday, January 4, 2018

In the Rear View Mirror--Road Trip to the Coast

 In October I took a few days off and traveled out to Mendocino. This is a place I find to be very restorative and full of horticultural interest; the latter being a contributing factor to the former. Because it's been a particularly crappy year at the office, the anticipation of this trip kept my spirits from descending into an abyss of gloom. I think all of us who garden are seekers of tranquility, and being in a garden--especially one where you really can't work--is deeply satisfying. As is my usual procedure I drove directly from home to Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, an intensely scenic 3 hour drive. Since this trip took place at the tail end of the Tubbs fire, escaping the  smoke that was still hovering over our valleys was an extra bonus. The euphoria that always accompanies my drive to the coast was dampened somewhat by the burn areas I traveled though; many familiar and loved   scenes were gone, replaced with charred ground and blackened trees. Nevertheless, the moment when I turned off highway 101 to 128 which runs west through Anderson Valley to  the sea put my mind in that happy vacation place.

 I've blogged about this garden multiple times and have included links to those posts below.

 In the entry patio there was still plenty of color-this is a frost free climate and gardens can be enjoyed year round.

 The perennial borders wrap around a large lawn--out here on the coast where temps in the 70's are considered  a heat wave, lawns benefit from fog and rain. I doubt they have to irrigate much.

Conifers thrive here too, and this bed combines mosses, Sedums , Santolina and dwarf conifers. You can do things in this climate that would be unthinkable where I live.

 If you don't mind being cold most of the year it's a great place to garden

The Astelias are particularly fine in this garden. This one might be 'Silver Shadow'

 Another interesting combination pair moss with this Euphorbia myrsinites.

 Love the Banksias. I failed to get the name of this one--but those leaves !

 The fabulous Crotalaria agatifolia.

Knifophia multiflora

There was some modest fall color, very nice combined with still blooming shrubs. This area features Anigozanthos, Leucodendrons and Grevilleas

The Heather Garden was not at it's peak but is still one of my favorite spots in this garden with it's undulating mounds of Erica and Calluna along the path the connects the perennial border with the woodland garden.

Hydrangeas grow well here but there aren't a lot of them in the garden. I loved this burnished fall vignette.

The Gunneras also live happily in this mild maritime climate .

MCBG is known for it's Dahlia garden . In October some of the plants are waning but there were still a few flowers looking good even though the plants looked pretty weary. 

 This was the view from the little cottage I stayed in --I suggested to the proprietor that the Pampas Grass needed to be cut down to afford a better view for the guests. Pampas is an escaped invasive in coastal Mendocino County , but my hostess claimed that this cultivar was sterile. Her gardens were quite well done and she knew something about her plants -still I was skeptical about the Pampas.

 And a view of our beautiful coast

A few previous posts on this great garden.