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  • Writer's pictureJulia Watson

California Gardens to Visit

rose garden
San Jose Municipal Rose Garden

It’s August, and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to lay low and stay cool. It’s time for minimal maintenance, not big projects that take us out in the noonday sun. It’s often a month for travel and seeing new things, so in that spirit I’m listing a few gardens you might want to visit.

San Jose Municipal Rose Garden

I live close to the SJMRG, so I visit several times a year. I like to go in August so I can see which roses hold up in our summer heat. I take names and refer back to them when I’m in the market for a new rose.

SF Conservatory of Flowers

You can see the building from a distance – sparkling white, set in a wide sloping lawn, very Victorian in appearance. Inside you can wander through the different chambers, kept at different temperatures to suit various orchids, ferns and tropical plants. Check out theire website here.

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden

A hidden gem with a wide variety of plantings. There’s a redwood dell with paths leading down to site for small gatherings, or weddings I suppose. There are also dry gardens with drought tolerant plants, and a greenhouse of novel plants. More info here - it's definitely worth a visit!


Filoli is a very refined garden, built by a very wealthy man. It’s not how most of us can garden, but beautiful just the same. Spring is best, when all the tulips are blooming. Tour the house while you’re there – it’s not how you and I live, but interesting to see.


I wrote a post about it here - f you’re in California you should definitely visit. Click here for their website.

Getty Center Garden

Of course the Getty Museum is a world-class art museum, but did you know that there’s a garden there too? It’s a mind-boggling wonder of design. The overall form of the garden is beautiful, and there are many unique plants. I first say Allium ‘Schubertii’ there and then I rushed out to buy the bulbs and raise some for myself. More info here.

Huntington Gardens

I haven’t visited this one (yet) but I hope to go this winter, when the camellias are in bloom. More info here.

That’s only a short list, but it includes some of my personal favorites. As I branch out and find others, I’ll post updates to give you ideas for garden getaways

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