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Street Life


To a garden and plant lover, nothing’s quite as pretty as Mendocino County in the morning. Fog rolls in, sun comes out and a landscape of flowers, trees, ocean and blue sky is revealed. The headlands and bluffs draped in wild flowers with a backdrop of the wild blue Pacific is majestic and spiritual.

It was these views, the small towns, mountains and valleys and, perhaps above all, the Mediterranean climate that attracted a multitude of plant fiends of all sorts including breeders, collectors, nurserymen, and people who just wanted a practically year-round garden, to congregate here. These people created a botanical garden.

The Mendocino Coast Range drew and inspired vintners to terrace the gently rounded hillsides, usually covered in grass and dotted with grand, spreading oaks that were themselves festooned in moss and lichens. Many wineries have tall, skinny Italian cypress along their drives reminiscent of wineries in Italy.

To enjoy gardens galore, take a trip down the coast from Fort Bragg through Caspar to the peninsular town of Mendocino.

Spanish lavender Lavandula stoechas
African iris Dietes vegeta (D. iridioides)
Yellow Sand Verbena Abronia latifolia
Watsonia Watsonia borbonica hybrid
Canary Island Date Palm Phoenix canariensis
Ice plant Drosanthemum hispidum
Gold Coin Asteriscus maritima
Cineraria Pericallis x hybrida
**Thanks to Joe Seals for identifying CA plants

Check out these other Mendocino County, California stories in this special issue. It is dedicated to the region that inspired the birth of DIG IT! Magazine 11 years ago.

Making a Botanical Garden

Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden

Digging Dog Nursery

True Myrtle, guest post by Kathryn Hall
**Photos by Mary Jasch

More Hard Core articles

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published August 08, 2014

Photos to enlarge

Headlands and bluffs of Mendocino County, California covered with ice plant

The perennial yellow sand verbena, Abronia latifolia, is native to California. It grows here on a Fort Bragg beach.

A patch of ice plant, Drosanthemum hispidum, grows in dappled shade outside Fort Bragg Cycles, motorcycle shop in Fort Bragg, CA

Roses grow wild at an abandoned house on the Coast Highway, Fort Bragg, CA.

Island plantings of African iris, Dietes vegeta (D. iridioides), and Spanish lavender, Lavandula stoechas, in a Safeway supermarket parking lot, Fort Bragg, CA

New Zealand flax, Phormium sp., grows in a strip mall planting, Fort Bragg

Roses in a narrow sidewalk/foundation garden in front of a Fort Bragg restaurant.

Mendocino Coast Hospital parking lot planting of watsonia Watsonia borbonica and New Zealand Tea-tree, Leptospermum sp., Fort Bragg, CA

Canary Island date palm, Phoenix canariensis, looking happy in Mendocino Coast Hospital parking lot, Fort Bragg

A business welcomes you with Centranthus ruber in the town of Mendocino

Colorful garden on the street Mendocino, CA, with camellia, centranthus and salvia

Mendocino Hotel

Private residence with deep gardens

Simply elegant plantings of Euphorbia wulfenii in a retail courtyard, town of Mendocino

House on the headlands with phormium, Mendocino, CA

An old rose at an old homestead, Caspar, CA

Garden on the one and only main drag through Caspar, CA, with leptospermum and calla lilies

Garden spilling into the road, Caspar, CA

Iris and feral kniphofia signal the long uphill to Brewery Gulch Inn, Mendocino

A garden grows around an old water tower, now a sign for Brewery Gulch Inn, Mendocino

A wild and crazy garden in the midst of Mendocino, CA, with Shasta daisies, Gold Coin, Asteriscus maritima, and Cineraria Pericallis x hybrida

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