Gardens in the Village

 The Village of Mendocino is perched on headlands above the Pacific on the Northern California coast. Many of the early founders who established the town in the 1850's were from Maine and thus the eastern seaboard architectural influence is evident . Unique in our part of the nation, we westerners brave the serpentine  roads and flock out to immerse ourselves in New England charm.  And if that alone is not enough to attract visitors, its' location on the most spectacular segment of our coast ensures the tourist trade is robust year round.

 Small pocket gardens are seen on every street, and this frost free maritime climate favors almost anything that doesn't need much heat ; forget about Bougainvillea, peppers and tomatoes. The average high temp here is 65 degrees, and I always bring winter garb no matter what month of the year I visit. Your lettuce won't bolt !  Grab your Dramamine for the drive out and come along on a stroll through the village.

 This cottage is representative in style-a little overgrown, a gardener with a relaxed attitude and the absence of mow-blow guys to turn the garden into a sea of bon-bons.

 More exuberance in a side-yard

   One of several real estate firms in town...notice their commercial landscaping lacks Stella d' Oro , Phormiums with flat-tops, and meatball Coleonema.

  Another cottage-you'll note a couple clipped shrubs , and clipped shrubs can be ok if they add to the design. I think in this instance the shapes are nice contrasted with the exuberance of the rose arch and the Cistus on the right.

I missed peak Echium season by a few weeks, but this view is totally Mendo, bloomed out or not.

 The mow-blow guys in my town would be all over this. It's great to see what commercial and civic plants can look like when the power equipment is put aside.

Village businesses buy in to cheerful if sometimes unruly plant displays and this is part of the character of the town.Some are tidier than others...

At the landmark Mendocino Hotel, the Crocosmia seems to have staked it's claim. Frankly, I felt a little disturbed at what has happened to this garden in the last few years. 'Garden Suites' are charming rooms placed along pathways in what has become a somewhat poorly maintained garden. I wish I could say give me 250 bucks and a room for 2 nights and I'll come out once a month and fix this.Maybe most of the guests don't recognize a garden in decline. I have photos going back several years, and I do.Perhaps they don't feel that expense of getting a real garden manager in there will result in more revenue, and I suppose they could be right. But I was saddened by the lost potential. Think what Skylar and Allen could do with this place !

On the other hand this garden at Trillium , a cafe and small (3 room) lodging establishment, is one of the best maintained gardens in the village.

As you continue walking small colorful gardens come into view, and though some are blowsy , this is in fact part of the charm of a tiny village on a wild remote coast.

 This is one of my favorite private home front gardens, though it is over it's early summer peak.

 This B&B frames the gate with a pair of Leptospermums.

I'm really looking forward to following the progress on this private garden.The little orange blobs are heaths of some sort (Erica or Calluna) which grow spectacularly well out here and look to be newly planted. And what a lovely little  meadow garden with the low profile demanded when in close proximity to the ocean . The headlands and sea is just beyond the fence line , thus there is little protection from wind and salt spray.

 I take a photo of this every time . Some day I'll have perfect light !


  1. Oh my, oh my WONDERFUL! Fantastic post Kathy. I will come out for a visit soon.

    1. I'm ready to serve as tour guide Deanne !

  2. I am so itching to head north I can't stand it. Average high 65? I'm in! I think I could be happy in a former windmill, or whatever those tower structures are.

    1. Water towers Denise ! And some windmills to power them.

  3. I so enjoyed the time we spent here a few years ago. Too bad the hotel gardens are in decline. Maybe it would be a good retirement job for you .

    1. Since I won't be able to retire til I'm about 80 it would have to be supervisory!

  4. What a wonderful place to live - or visit, but I'd rather live there if given a choice! Having recently watched a bit too much HGTV, I've developed a fixation of getting a tiny vacation house someplace with just the right summer temperatures and this looks like the ticket. Now, if I could only convince my husband of the brilliance of this plan...As to the Mendocino Hotel, I think you should definitely submit your proposal of garden support in exchange for free lodging to hotel management!

    1. You need to be able to tolerate cold, peeling paint and a large population of ageing hippies Kris.I could happily spend two or three months a year out there if I had the funds. As it is I settle for a two or three times a year road trip visit.

  5. Oh the Echium!!! And yes, you should definitely propose your services in exchange for lodging. What have you got to lose?


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