Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, part 3

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.

140912_MCBG_121

Paperbark maple (Acer Griseum) surrounded by heathers

140912_MCBG_115

Paperbark maple (Acer Griseum)

140912_MCBG_125

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.

140912_MCBG_123

140912_MCBG_211

Calluna vulgaris ‘Sister Anne’

140912_MCBG_212

Calluna vulgaris is the dominant plant in heathlands in Europe

140912_MCBG_138

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.

140912_MCBG_141

Not a heather, but another beautiful South African native: Leucadendron ‘Red Gem’

140912_MCBG_157

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.

140912_MCBG_131

Banksia marginata

140912_MCBG_128

Banksia marginata

140912_MCBG_126

Banksia marginata

140912_MCBG_136

Grevillea 'Fanfare'

140912_MCBG_174

Grevillea lanigera ‘Coastal Gem’

140912_MCBG_178

Grevillea ‘Long John’

140912_MCBG_177

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.

140912_MCBG_170

140912_MCBG_191

140912_MCBG_197  140912_MCBG_182

140912_MCBG_160

140912_MCBG_156

140912_MCBG_222

LEFT: NOID aeonium  RIGHT: Aeonium undulatum

140912_MCBG_149

LEFT: Weberbauerocereus winterianus (say that three times fast!)  RIGHT: Aeonium undulatum

140912_MCBG_153

Aloe pluridens (foreground)

140912_MCBG_146

LEFT: Echeveria agavoides var. multifida  RIGHT: Agave mitis (formerly known as Agave celsii)

140912_MCBG_147

Echeveria agavoides var. multifida

140912_MCBG_206

140912_MCBG_180  140912_MCBG_163

LEFT: Agave americana ‘Variegata’ and Aloe polyphylla
RIGHT: Agave americana and Agave americana ‘Striata’

140912_MCBG_221

Agave americana ‘Striata’

140912_MCBG_166

Dyckia brevifolia

140912_MCBG_168

The weirdest looking Aloe plicatilis I’ve ever seen. Instead of forming upright plants, these specimens are creeping along the ground.

140912_MCBG_219

“Little Lizzy” by Eileen Fitz-Faulkner, and Agave parryi var. truncata

140912_MCBG_145

Dyckia hybrid and Echeveria elegans

140912_MCBG_187

× Gasteraloe ‘Royal Highness’

140912_MCBG_190

Unlabeled Sempervivum in a sea of sedum

140912_MCBG_199

Could this stunning aloe be nothing more than a water-stressed Aloe maculata?

140912_MCBG_200

I wonder how this aloe ended up growing right out of a clump of Agave parryi var. truncata?

140912_MCBG_203

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).

RELATED POSTS:

6 comments:

  1. Great photos Gerhard! And so impressed with this garden, it's relatively small but certainly packs a punch and variety!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remember I only visited a part of it. At 47 acres, it's actually fairly large, but I only had time for the "landscaped" portion near the entrance. More than half of the garden is in a more or less natural state.

      Delete
  2. Did you find that secret lookout on the cliff, with a table inside? Maybe I dreamed it! I was surprised at how interesting the heathers were too. All the plants look deleriously happy to be growing in Mendo. And I love the variations in striation in that clump of A. amer. Striata

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise, you weren't dreaming. The secret lookout is real, from what I've heard. I didn't make it there because I ran out of time. On my next visit I'll explore the sections of the garden I missed this time, including the lookout.

      If I were a plant, I'd be delirious living on the Mendocino Coast too :-)

      Delete
  3. Usually I´m not fond of heathers either, but they look beautiful in this garden! I´ve seen big slopes all covered with heather in Spain, where there are many varieties (not as many as in South Africa though). They do look pretty.
    I'm impressed by Erica verticillata...It is stunning.
    And the succulent garden...oh my! it´s beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love being surprised, and this garden definitely surprised me!

      Delete