Postcards from the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

 

During late August we visited the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.  This incredible garden jewel boasts 47 meticulously cared for acres of canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs, conifers, perennials, vegetable gardens and more.

Paths, some paved and others unpaved wind their way through each of the breathtaking gardens. A lovely half mile walk offers the gift of stunning views of the Pacific ocean from the bluffs.

Words can’t do justice to the incredible beauty found here. I’m just going to let my photos speak for me.

Voted 5th best botanical garden in the nation by USA Today, this is the most beautiful garden I’ve had the pleasure to explore in a long time.  I could have spent an entire day here, and honestly, if I lived closer I’d sign up to be a garden volunteer just so I could bask in this splendor on a regular basis.

Kensington Gardens

This week Kensington Palace announced that William and Kate are expecting their third baby; Prince George started school; and the twentieth anniversary of Diana’s death was just a little over a week ago. With all of this news regarding the Royal Family lately I thought I’d revisit my photos from our trip to London just this last spring and share.

The palace has been a Royal residence since the 17th century. Queen Victoria was born here and lived here until 1837. Princess Diana lived at the palace from 1981 – 1997. Currently it is home to Will and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children, George and Charlotte, as well as to Prince Harry.

Parts of the palace were open for touring and we were able to get tickets and go right in to see the King’s State Apartments, the Queen’s State Apartment, and the exhibit of Diana’s dresses.
I considered it quite a treat to view the sunken garden that was designed this year to honor Princess Diana. Isn’t it magnificent?
Throughout Kensington Gardens there are ponds and lakes, walking trails, benches, stately trees, an Italian garden, the serpentine galleries, statues and memorials, and the Princess Diana Playground with a Peter Pan theme (I longed to go in but adults without children with them are not permitted in the gate). I peeked as much as I could though, and found it enchanting. This is the full scale pirate ship which serves as a climbing area for children. There are swings, slides, a sensory trail and more.This is the Albert Memorial. The Diana Memorial Fountain, built in 2004, is a lovely, restful spot where people can sit and put their feet in the water.We were at the park for a good portion of a day and still didn’t see everything there is to see in this magical place. There’s always next time!

As you can well see, the day we visited was cloudy and dark and my photos didn’t come out as well as I would have liked. The first photo, the seventh, and the eighth came right off the internet.

Daffodil Hill

Daffy Down Dilly has come to town in a yellow petticoat and a green gown! ~Nathanial HawthorneDriving on a winding country road, and passing statuesque pines, and hills covered in emerald carpet, I thought to myself that this is exactly how spring is supposed to feel. Fresh, alive, and absolutely bursting with blooms! Yes, the drive to Daffodil Hill in Amador County is almost as pretty as the historical ranch itself.Fields of daffodils, farm animals and peacocks greet visitors upon arrival. Meandering through trails you’ll come across’s the original 1880s barn, old wagon wheels, gold rush mining equipment, and antique farm implements. There is no entrance fee, but donations are accepted and there is a small souvenir shop to purchase something special. Daffodil Hill in Volcano has been owned by the McLaughlin Family since 1887. Ancestors bought it from Pete Denzer, who had planted a few daffodils to remember his home country of Holland. The McLaughlin’s continued to plant daffodils through the years, and now plant several thousand bulbs annually. It is estimated that there are 300,000 daffodils blooming now. What a sight to behold!

The generous McLaughlin Family gives us all an enormous gift by opening up their private ranch each year for a few weeks to let the public traipse around the gardens and trails, picnic under shade trees, and soak up all that spring in the country offers. We are undeniably grateful!The stunning photo above came right off  Daffodil Hill’s Facebook page. They ask that you check the page or call daily to make sure the ranch is open. Rainy weather closes the ranch until the trails dry out. Make a day of your visit by stopping in the nearby little towns of Amador and Sutter Creek. Both are fun to visit and get a bite to eat.

What a lovely place to celebrate the arrival of spring!

Filoli Gardens

Located just 30 miles south of San Francisco in Woodside, and surrounded by a nature preserve, lies the grand estate and sixteen acre gardens called Filoli. The word Filoli was made up by the original owner of the estate, Mr. William Bourn, and it stands for FI-ght for a just cause; LO-ve your fellow man; and LI-ve a good life.

This was my fourth visit to this little bit of heaven and I don’t imagine anyone could ever tire of wandering through the immaculate grounds, taking in all of the boundless beauty and learning of the history of this impressive place. Donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975, the country estate and the gardens are open to the public for exploring, self touring or guided tours. We toured the home, and it quite something to see, but my focus here is the spectacular gardens. Have a look!IMG_0602IMG_0597IMG_0553IMG_0565IMG_0626IMG_0561IMG_0562IMG_0556IMG_0590IMG_0601IMG_0577IMG_0571IMG_0629IMG_0585 (1)IMG_0583IMG_0578IMG_0579IMG_0557IMG_0564IMG_0567To learn about the history of Filoli, upcoming events, and planning a trip, I encourage you to visit Filoli‘s informative website, and then, just as soon as you can, treat yourself to a visit to this exquisite jewel. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

 

High Sierra Iris Garden

IMG_9089Two weeks ago while out doing errands, I pulled into the High Sierra Iris Garden driveway on a whim. My husband and I had been there for a wedding a few years ago but I had not had the opportunity to return since then. Upon parking, I met a lovely woman named Nancy who was out working in the gardens and we got to chatting. She and her family own this little piece of heaven and she lovingly does all of the upkeep. She let me know that the irises were just a couple weeks past their prime but invited me to wander around. Have a look at all of this beauty!IMG_9245IMG_9092IMG_9099IMG_9102From their website I learned that many years ago Nancy’s husband gave her a potted iris for Mother’s Day. Shortly after receiving that gift she began collecting them and then began creating the gorgeous iris gardens. What a remarkable vision she had!

WPA Rock Garden

The Works Progress Administration was a depression era work relief program that was instituted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of his New Deal Agency. WPA employed out of work individuals to work on projects with the goal of  improving cities all over the country.

Built in 1940 by the WPA, this beautiful little one acre jewel box of a garden is nestled in Sacramento’s Land Park, near Fairytale town on one side and the duck pond on the other. Meandering paths wind through colorful garden beds full of shrubs, perennials, succulents and trees. There’s so much to see so take it slowly. You don’t want to miss a thing.IMG_8468IMG_8474IMG_8473IMG_8482IMG_8469IMG_8480IMG_8477IMG_8466 What a treat it was to find this special tree bearing its heart. I had just turned a corner and there it was. Next time you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping for a stroll!IMG_8475
IMG_8888IMG_8888

Capitol Park World Peace Rose Garden

 

IMG_8901“A living reminder that peace begins in the hearts of each one of us – in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions. Daily, each one of us has an opportunity to make our  world a better place.” ~ Sylvia Villalobos

Sylvia Villalobos is the founder of the International World Peace Rose Garden Organization. In downtown Sacramento at Capitol Park, this rose garden was established in 2003. Created as a sanctuary of peace, love, and inspiration for people of all nations, cultures, and religions, it is dedicated to women, children and families.IMG_8887IMG_8888As we enter the garden, walkways lead to a courtyard which has a fountain as its centerpiece. Benches are scattered throughout the garden, and all throughout are inspirational messages of peace created by Sacramento area grade school children. IMG_8890IMG_8889There’s the golden dome of the capitol peeking out behind the trees.IMG_8891Oh, that first mad flower frenzy of blossoms in a rose garden at springtime! Isn’t it exquisite? Here there are approximately 650 varieties featured; each one putting on their finest show!IMG_8892IMG_8895IMG_8896IMG_8868IMG_8867IMG_8601I was absolutely captivated on this day with the beauty of the roses, the heavenly fragrance perfuming the air, and heartfelt messages of peace all around.

May peace be with you.

Old City Cemetery Gardens

For a few weeks I’ve been reading about the new guidelines the city of Sacramento has issued in Old City Cemetery. The recent designation of the gold rush era cemetery has triggered new rules that would require the many historic roses planted there to be removed or drastically cut back. The new guidelines state that to better preserve the stone monuments and head stones the city has ordered arbors, trellises, and decorative arches to be removed and plants be removed from plots. Markers and monuments now need to be visible in all directions. No plants of any type can be draping a headstone and plants can not be planted closer that twelve inches to headstones. A recent news article reported that so far about 200 rosebushes had been severely cut back and 10 bushes removed. Another 75 – 100 bushes likely will need to be relocated.

This cemetery was established in 1849 when Captain John Sutter donated acreage for this purpose, and thousands of early settlers are buried here.  Over the years the cemetery expanded to its nearly 60 acres.  The grounds were landscaped in the Victorian garden style that was popular at that time. For decades the graves and gardens have co-existed, and have been lovingly cared for by volunteers. Many of the antique roses were carried in wagon trains by early pioneers to California. This world famous rose garden features more than 500 varieties of roses. Several of these can only be found in this cemetery garden which contains the largest collection of rare and endangered roses in the United States.

Never having visited this particular cemetery, I wanted to see for myself what all the controversy was about. Won’t you join me as I wander?IMG_8601IMG_8604IMG_8598IMG_8592IMG_8574IMG_8579IMG_8586IMG_8587IMG_8588IMG_8564IMG_8562IMG_8561IMG_8555IMG_8551IMG_8556IMG_8558It really is quite charming and full of character. The roses most certainly enhance the beauty of this cemetery garden that is the final resting place for over 25,000 individuals. I can bet that the garden volunteers are frantically doing their best to propagate and relocate these historical jewels. I wish them much success with that endeavor.

There will be an Open Garden event on April 9th from 9:30 – 2:00. This may be the last time to view the climbing roses as they are now.

Like Kids in a Candy Store

I had the pleasure of galavanting about in a favorite nursery with a very dear gardening friend today. Actually, gardening is only one thing of hundreds that we have in common. We spent a total of five hours together, having wonderful conversations, solving world problems, catching up with each other. Time went by quickly. Prior to today it had been three of four weeks since I’d been in a nursery. Way too long, especially for this time of year when it seems the whole world is bursting with color as it awakens from its winter slumber.

So there we were at Green Acres Nursery conversing and leisurely admiring it all, oohing and ahhing over the colors, the fragrances…well, everything. Here are some of the things that caught our eyes.

Tropical HibiscusIMG_8420Mallow
IMG_8426Summer Gold Japanese MapleIMG_8422Dogwood 
IMG_8417Evergreen Clematis, AvalancheIMG_8418DelphinumIMG_8433Coral BellsIMG_8434 ColumbinesIMG_8435DianthusIMG_8440Thunbergia will always remind me of a favorite nursery my sister and I used to go to when she lived in Huntington Beach. The fences at the charming nursery there were completely covered in this vine!IMG_8441PansyIMG_8442FuchiasIMG_8436IMG_8437PelargoniumIMG_8438I have a fondness for Coleus and plant them each spring in memory of my mother who loved them.IMG_8439Happy Hydrangeas. Mine are nowhere near ready to bloom.
IMG_8444HostasIMG_8445A year ago this rhododendron called Purple Gem caught my eye at a nursery; I bought three of them right then and there. Mine will probably be blooming in another few weeks. I hope they look as good as these!IMG_8447WisteriaIMG_8448It was so hard to resist taking one (or three!) of each home with us, but the two of us shopped with great restraint. I had a few things on my list and left with only those few things, knowing that I need to finish a few projects first before I delve into another. Browsing through nurseries is such a treat anytime, but this time of year especially. My kind of candy store!

Crystal Hermitage Garden

IMG_4085IMG_4146IMG_4134IMG_4127IMG_4135 I’m not one to rush seasons. There’s so much I do love about winter, but spring will be here before we know it, and, if you’re in the area, I don’t want you to miss this display that shouts SPRINGTIME! These photos were taken last April when my husband and I visited this jewel of a garden during their Springtime at Ananda weekends. Ananda Village is a spiritual community and retreat center outside of Nevada City in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. Within the Ananda Village is Crystal Hermitage Gardens, usually a peaceful sanctuary with paths to meander, graceful trees, stunning views, and terraced gardens. During two consecutive weekends in spring, when the gardens reach their peak of glory, Ananda Village hosts an event called Tulip Days. Last year over 6,000 visitors came to behold all of this beauty, hear music, and have a picnic lunch or tea and scones in Crystal Hermitage Gardens. It’s not a large garden, but every inch is planted with approximately 15,000 Dutch tulip bulbs annually. The weekend dates this year will be April 2-3, and April 9-10. Cost is $5. and children 12 and younger are free.

IMG_4119IMG_4101IMG_4094IMG_4138Last year was when we discovered this special place. It was a highlight of springtime for us, and we plan to make it back each year. Might you be there too?

“A garden is evidence of faith. It links us with all the misty figures of the past who also planted and were nourished by the fruits of their planting.” ~ Gladys Taber