In part 1 of my 3-part series on the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (MCBG) I showed you the entrance plantings and the nursery. Part 2 was dedicated to the Perennial Garden. Part 3 covers the Heath and Heather Collection as well the Succulent/Mediterranean Garden.
I must admit that I’ve never paid that much attention to heaths and heathers as a group, but the variety displayed in the MCBG’s Heath and Heather Collection was astounding. The mounds formed by individual plants combine into gently undulating hills of different colors and textures. I found the overall effect to be both mesmerizing and meditative.
Paperbark maple (Acer Griseum) surrounded by heathers
Paperbark maple (Acer Griseum)
Heaths and heathers grow so well on the Mendocino Coast because of the mild maritime climate as well as the sandy and acidic soil. Another place I’ve seen them thrive is the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum where the climate is quite similar albeit a bit warmer.
Most heaths and heathers are in the genera Erica, Cassiope, Daboecia, and Calluna. They are found in acidic, low-fertility habitats all over the world, but the majority of heathers of horticultural interest come from South Africa.
Calluna vulgaris ‘Sister Anne’
Calluna vulgaris is the dominant plant in heathlands in Europe
Erica verticillata, at 4-5 ft. one of the tallest heathers and now extinct in the wild. According to San Marcos Growers, this plant at the MCBG is notable for having reached 6 ft.
Not a heather, but another beautiful South African native: Leucadendron ‘Red Gem’
Nerene bowdenii, a bulb from South Africa
While the MCBG doesn’t have an Australian garden per se, a few select Australian shrubs are growing adjacent to the Heath and Heather Collection and the Succulent/Mediterranean Garden.
Grevillea lanigera ‘Coastal Gem’
Grevillea ‘Long John’
Grevillea ‘Long John’
The Succulent Garden is small but quite exquisite in its own right. The coastal climate (lack of heat, winter rains, many foggy days throughout the year) limits what kinds of succulents can be grown here, but I was still amazed by the variety. In addition, I liked how the succulents were surrounded by trees and shrubs, much like they might be in somebody’s private garden.
LEFT: NOID aeonium RIGHT: Aeonium undulatum
LEFT: Weberbauerocereus winterianus (say that three times fast!) RIGHT: Aeonium undulatum
Aloe pluridens (foreground)
LEFT: Echeveria agavoides var. multifida RIGHT: Agave mitis (formerly known as Agave celsii)
Echeveria agavoides var. multifida
LEFT: Agave americana ‘Variegata’ and Aloe polyphylla
RIGHT: Agave americana and Agave americana ‘Striata’
Agave americana ‘Striata’
The weirdest looking Aloe plicatilis I’ve ever seen. Instead of forming upright plants, these specimens are creeping along the ground.
“Little Lizzy” by Eileen Fitz-Faulkner, and Agave parryi var. truncata
Dyckia hybrid and Echeveria elegans
× Gasteraloe ‘Royal Highness’
Unlabeled Sempervivum in a sea of sedum
Could this stunning aloe be nothing more than a water-stressed Aloe maculata?
I wonder how this aloe ended up growing right out of a clump of Agave parryi var. truncata?
Agave parryi var. truncata growing next to an expanse of Dymondia margaretae. I’m a big fan of Dymondia margaretae and am considering it as a possible lawn replacement for our backyard.
I hope you enjoyed this visit to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. If you’re planning a trip to Mendocino this weekend, the MCBG is having their fall plant sale right now (ending Sunday, September 28).
- Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, part 3 [this post]