Rainy Day at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Had I been mindful of the weatherman I would never have ventured out into a rainy day on the coast this week. But Spirit was very clear: you are going to the Botanical Gardens, today. OK, then! Donning gear I headed out to Ft. Bragg. I parked next to this rippled pond and went into a very empty entrance.
A very nice woman named Marian, most likely not expecting anyone on such a gloomy wet day, emerged from a side office to greet me. When I told her I’d come to do a shoot she offered, “Well, you know, the rhodies aren’t quite here yet. Maybe March or April.” I smiled. “I’m sure there’s something here! I saw lots of things blooming out front! I bet there’s enough out there for a post!” Marian was not looking convinced. “Don’t worry,” I reassured her. “It will stop raining, I’m sure.” I gathered my things and headed out into the increasing drizzle. In retrospect what ensued over the next half hour or so really did resemble one of those marvelous giveaways you hear about on tv where someone has half an hour to put all the groceries they want in the shopping cart, for free!
Picture me, near starving for color after a frozen winterscape, knowing the clouds are going to come crashing down on me and my camera, with an ever so brief window in which to catch all the best the gardens had to offer, beginning of February. No time to find out what anything was. Just time enough to capture, capture, capture the beauty of my surroundings, snap, snap, snap. Yes, that! Ohhh, that! Oh, yes, THAT! Beauty. Beauty. Beauty. How’d I do?

Beginning in front, as I’d suggested (I knew it was a treasure mine!).

My mind is going, “What am I looking at? What am I looking at??” I will rely on you to tell me. (No, there was not time to read the little sign! It’s raining!)

I was almost breathless looking at these magnolia buds, anticipating what the whole tree would look like, oh, say, in a month?

Thankfully, this single flower was gracious and kind enough to open prior to my arrival so we could all have a blessed sneak peek! It’s enough to make you swoon, isn’t it?

I look at these impressionistic pinks and say, “Were they moving? Was I?”

Satisfied I’m off to a good start I pass through an entryway into the back area where the ample gardens are in their glory. Here’s a very brief look at what I first saw.

Mind you, these gardens go waaay back and include a cliff house, a small private cemetery, a vegetable garden, a rose garden, a pine forest, a Mediterranean garden, and trail after beautiful inviting trail. (You can bet I will be documenting poco a poco!)

My winter eyes immediately were drawn to this fanciful chair!

And at that very moment the rain stopped! Oh, thank you, Rain Gods, for showing mercy on a humble gardening blogger anxious to share your garden bounty with her readers! Run!

Not quite sure where I am or where I’m going, and never one to use a map, I turn to the left and see this.

I have two simultaneous thoughts. One is remembering Marian saying, “Well, there are some heathers…” so I think these must be the heathers, never seeing in my life anything beyond those poor representations in supermarkets at the wrong time of year, and the other is my mind saying, “There is a sign! Take a picture of the sign! Someone will care!” So I did it for you, whoever you are.

And that’s probably as much naming as you will get out of me on this journey, my dears. But who cares? We have discovered The Heathers! Look at this!

It is only beginning to dawn on me at this moment what I have stepped into, but in the minutes that followed I found myself awash in mystical beauty.


Stepping back, just a bit, here was the most stunning spectacle I found before me. Darlings, when the time comes, you know, that inevitable moment, to cross to the Other Side, may they just bury me among the heathers and let my soul reside in heather glory forever. Amen.

A path emerged and I wended my way back towards the front.

(The heathers are lovely, lively, deep but I have promises to keep.)

Emerging, more glorious images were there to be seen and caught and shared.

the golden bush…

the precious tiny fuschia…

this bench, oh so inviting in summer sun, I’m sure…

the rhodies, hinting of what will be opening in spring, when I return!

Finding this gorgeous water feature I was just about filled up, as you can imagine.

Next time I will be employing one of those wagons to take home some personal treasures for my garden. Today I am fully enriched with all that I was blessed to find. On a rainy (unlikely) day.
Thank you, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. We look forward to our return!

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

40 Responses to “Rainy Day at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens”

  1. Gorgeous post, mom!!!
    Your adventure through the rain was our Blessing, indeed! How Beautiful!
    Thank you for always sharing the Loveliness in such charming ways! :-)

    Love you,
    Antonia
    xoxox

  2. Hi, Antonia! Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it! We so love the coast. Endless beauty! Love, Mom xoxo

  3. What a wonderful way to turn a dreary grey day into something beautiful. The photos of the heathers are particularly spectacular. It’s a shame to think they must often get overlooked as they are blooming when the garden is less visited.

  4. Welcome, Susan! Yes, that would be sad. They probably have their big fans. I had always thought the highlight was to go for the rhodies and azaleas and camellias. But now I’m eager to explore the whole terrain! Kathryn xoxo

  5. Your excitement is so infectious, Kathryn! And how could one NOT be excited in this place?!

    …may they just bury me among the heathers and let my soul reside in heather glory forever.

    I certainly agree — if I could have nothing but those spectacular heathers in my garden, in those glorious mounds of colour, I wouldn’t care if I had another single flower, How beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your outing with us.

  6. Hi, Nancy, Especially in the dead of winter, right?? :) Well, I did it for myself but also for all those readers out there just sick and tired of ice and snow! Glad we went together! Glad you loved it, too. Kathryn xoxo

  7. Kathryn,

    Well you certainly got my attention. I have been there many times. How could I have missed the heather. How beautiful and thank you for sharing. Just shows us we need to get out and enjoy each season. So much to enjoy.

  8. Sigh, Kathryn, that was what I needed. Sometimes you don’t need names, just beauty.~~Dee

  9. Hi, Marjorie! I’m glad you enjoyed the visit! Kathryn xoxo

  10. Kathryn, I love a rainy day! Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and you ‘beheld’ many gift!s Here’s hoping that when the time comes, I might meet you in the heathers! In the meantime, please join me for dessert … conversation is amazing, and even livelier as the night goes on (wait til you see who is still hangin’ around in my pub)!

  11. Thank you for your delightful comments about MCBG. I am the director, Chris Woods, and I am very pleased that you enjoyed the garden on such a rainy day

  12. Good morning, Dee. (Could not get your comment to clear last night! WP is weird sometimes!) I’m glad you came by and were nurtured by what you found! Kathryn xoxo

  13. Hi, Joey! Good morning! Do tell! I’ll be right over! Kathryn xoxo

  14. Good morning,Chris! I did speak with you on the phone last year and talked about coming up for a shoot! So glad you found your way to my blog and are pleased! I will be back for the rhodies, for sure!! Thank you! Kathryn xoxo

  15. What a beautiful garden I just toured thank to you! Great pictures, and the rain didn’t effect them!

  16. Welcome, Tatyana! Thank you for joining me today! Kathryn xox

  17. WOW!!!! That is one of my fave of all your posts…. What a gorgeous place!! I can only imagine the serenity… and quite perfect on a rainy day. LOVED the heather gardens…
    beauty beauty beauty… thanks for sharing.

  18. Thank you, Pamela! :) Yes, it was very special being there. I’m really looking forward to another jaunt!
    Love, Kathryn xoxo

  19. Thank goodness for frost-free zones… I just love all the color in the middle of winter!

  20. Lovely garden tour! You were right– there’s plenty to see, even in February. I’ve wanted to see fields of heather in bloom ever since Michelle Derviss over at Garden Porn posted about a seaside heather garden she designed. It was gorgeous, and like nothing I’ve seen before. Are heathers fragrant?

  21. The pictures are beautiful! This would be one of my favorite posts as well. There really is beauty in all seasons, thank you for sharing what you found on a rainy day in February.

  22. Ah those heathers make me sigh with joy. The undulating waves, the color the texture, you came as just the right time.

    The entire garden is beautiful.

    Thanks for venturing out, I am so looking forward to seeing more shots of this lovely place.

    Jen

  23. Hi, Raffi! The birdbaths are frozen this morning, but having lived in snow country I do appreciate what you are saying! Glad you enjoyed! Kathryn xoxo

  24. Hi, Lori, you were better informed than I. I don’ t know how I’d never heard! Glad I could help make your wish come true! Kathryn xoxo

  25. Good morning, Susan! It makes you wonder what else might be out there waiting to be discovered, doesn’t it?? Love, Kathryn xooxx

  26. Hi, Jen, Yes, I also can barely wait to return! I will be sure to turn into a lovely post! Thanks for your visit today! Kathryn xoxo

  27. I am so very glad you ventured out into the rain for all of us! What a wonderful array of beauty! I’ve never seen heather that large, and the magnolia blossom is just gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing, Kim

  28. Thanks so much, Kim! Yes, it was stupendous! Kathryn xoxo

  29. Hi Kathryn!
    It has been years since I have been to these Botanical gardens. It was so much fun strolling with you via your blog on a rainy Fort Bragg day!
    Oh yes! The heathers! They do so well in this climate which is such a good thing to remember. Don’t you just love the splash of red?
    The pine tree with the elongated cones is so fascinating!
    You journey made me feel like I was right there with the smell of damp earth and the tang of the sea. I can just hear the dripping pines with the wind making their “pine music”; the distant roar of the sea.
    I just loved your post.
    Best regards,
    Philip

  30. Hi, Philip! Yes, of course. I knew you’d been there. Isn’t it fascinating how we take each other to places of our past?? It’s so wonderful to relive old memories through each other’s posts! :) Yes, the red heather was spectacular. Breathtaking. The whole experience was divine! Thanks for walking it with me this morning.
    Kathryn xoxo

  31. Hi!
    I just had a good bellylaugh at my expense…I thought the “pine cones’ were so amazing, just like corn cobs…
    and I now see they ARE corncobs ! Ha!
    :)
    So much fun.
    :)
    Philip

  32. Philip, Are you SURE?? That’s why I was standing there in the rain thinking,”What am I looking at??” CORN COBS?? You never know. Nature can come up with some weird forms sometimes! (Next question for self: “Is there any reason a pine would create a corn cob looking cone on itself for protective reasons?? Answer: Uh, probably not. But you never know!) :)

  33. Hi!
    Oh! well, maybe it is a cone! I wonder if it an Australian plant? Maybe Chris could fill us in!
    I did have a good laugh, though. My eyes watered so much.What a great way to enjoy the day!
    :)
    Philip

  34. LOL! It will be the first thing I ask Chris when I go back out. For the moment I’m kind of enjoying the Not Knowing! Kinda fun! :)

  35. What a beautiful garden, even on a rainy day! I enjoyed every step you took; I’m glad the weather allowed you to take the photos because they’re awesome. I was right there with you when you talked about the crossing-over part…that’s where I’d like to be, as well:)

  36. Hi, Jan! Welcome! How sweet of you to stop by! I’m so glad you enjoyed the journey and I do have a sense that you did take it with me! Lovely! Kathryn xoxo

  37. We are headed out to the MCBG next week! Early spring is the only season we’ve missed there. You’re pictures were lovely, Kathryn, and incredibly inspiring. I have a brand new lens that I’m itching to try on something other than snow! Thanks so much (as always!) for sharing.

  38. Hi, Radiance! You are going to have the best time! I hope the heathers are still there to greet you! Far more rhodies will be out, I would think. Hopefully the rains have not deterred them. Enjoy!
    Kathryn xoxo

  39. The tour was just fantastic. The Magnolia tree is so beautiful and the heathers – I wanted to do a slanted corner of our lawn (it slopes downward) in heathers when we first moved here. You can plan and have some blooming every month of the year but I never did it. Looks like a beautiful place to visit – wish I was just a bit closer. Linda

  40. Hi, Linda! Welcome! If you have the right environment I highly recommend you go ahead with that instinct and plant heathers. I was not aware you could stagger the blossoming. What a delightful prospect! Thanks for sharing. I’m sure someone will benefit from that tip! (Maybe you!) Kathryn xoxo

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