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Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 47 acres of botanical bliss fronting the Pacific Ocean

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Dahlia Garden

Typical bloom time: June through October – Peak in August and September

Dahlias were one of the first flowers that Gardens' founder Ernest Schoefer planted. At the time they were located in what is now the Perennial Garden. In the early 1980s, they were eventually moved to their current location on the South trail just past the Vegetable Garden.

The Dahlia Garden is one of the most favored locations at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. The Gardens' collection of dahlias consists of more than 625 individual plants representing 150 varieties. The riotous blooms of mid- to late-summer provide an exquisite palette for artists and a glorious backdrop for weddings

Dahlias are a tuberous, shrubby plant and are used both as a display garden at MCBG, and around the perimeter of the Vegetable Garden, because they are deer resistant.

Dahlias are named for the Swedish botanist Andreas Dahl and are members of the plant family Asteraceae. They were first discovered in Mexico and are endemic to Central and South America. The Aztec Herbal Manuscript indicates that the dahlia plant was used in the treatment of urinary disorders and epilepsy. In 1789, the genus Dahlia was first introduced to Europe at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Madrid. Nine years later, this genus was introduced to the Kew Gardens. Dahlias come in a range of forms and colors and with proper care, can be an easy addition to temperate gardens.

Dahlia Delirium, a video by Jules and Effin Older

In Praise of Dahlias by former MCBG Horticulturist, Mario Abreu

To see more photos of our dramatic Dahlias, visit the Photo Gallery.


2023 Dahlia Garden Project

The Dahlia Garden is getting some much-needed repairs and enhancements this season. Although it looks big, there are no major changes happening. We are making several minor enhancements to the space to improve traffic flow, aesthetics, and plant health. The end product will be a return to the stunning, awe-inspiring intimacy that the MCBG Dahlia Garden is known for.

Here is a little Q & A about the 2023 Dahlia Garden Project:

What is going on in the Dahlia Garden? The stage is getting some repairs due to rot. It will be rebuilt soon with very few changes to its original form. We are also making some adjustments to the dahlia beds and the landscape surrounding the garden that will enhance the visitor experience without changing the feel of the garden.

Why did you take out the cherry tree? Because the tree was not in optimal health and it’s roots inhibited our ability to plant dahlias in that section of the garden.

Will the repairs be finished in time for the bloom season? Yes! The dahlias will be the beautiful as ever during bloom season (July-October) and the stage will be fully repaired by then. 

Where did all the dahlias go? We dug up and divided many of the dahlias this winter. They were stored in sawdust in the propagation house over the winter and will be planted out again in spring. Dahlias do fine in the ground over the winter in this region but digging them every year is not an uncommon practice. In some regions it is a necessary practice to protect the bulbs from freezing weather.

Will this affect the wedding that I am going to? The Dahlia Garden will be fully available for weddings this year, next year, and forever after.