Designed by Gary Ratway in 1980, the group of irregular island beds in our Perennial Garden provides a pleasing display of an unusually large number of perennials, as well as woody specimens. The beds are mounded to ensure drainage because of the high water table here. From old favorites to rare species, the Perennial Garden is bursting with blooms spring through autumn and is alive with bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Visitors find inspiration for their home gardens in the plant combinations here. Plants are displayed in dramatic sweeps, with striking color combinations and variations in form and texture, in addition to exciting landscaping features such as boulders, sculptures, and pond. Many of the unusual plants are available for purchase in Nursery on the Plaza.
Our mild coastal climate allows herbaceous plants from all over the world to thrive in the Perennial Garden, where plants native to all continents, except Antarctica, are growing side by side. Frequent fog acts as a cooling and humidifying blanket, reducing the intensity of the full sun, while trees shield the perennials from strong ocean winds and form an attractive backdrop. The shrubs and trees— including dwarf conifers, magnolias, and Cryptomeria japonica (relatives of the giant sequoia)—provide beauty and interest to this garden during winter and early spring when perennials are dormant. The grass is a standard park blend of blue fescue and rye grasses which withstands foot and cart traffic. One must walk on the meandering grass paths to fully appreciate the Perennial Garden.
To see more photos of our Perennial Garden, visit the Photo Gallery.