Herbal Escape: Gardens at Cambria Pines Lodge

| April/May 2009

  • CLICK ON THE IMAGE GALLERY FOR MORE BEAUTIFUL IMAGES. The gardens at Cambria Pines Lodge are at their peak from May to July, when perennials, such as foxglove and poppies are in full bloom.
    Rick Wetherbee
  • Hardy geraniums blanket this flower bed.
    Rick Wetherbee
  • A wishing well provides a perch to enjoy the garden.
    Rick Wetherbee
  • A dresser filled with annuals makes a fun planter.
    Rick Wetherbee

You know you are about to enter a special place the moment you set sight on this 26-acre wooded wonderland. Enter the outdoor cafe garden and you are instantly greeted by a full floral experience. Spires of foxgloves erupt from a sea of Iceland poppies, while the scent of lilies and other fragrant flowers fills the air. Colorful mosaic work adorns a series of stone masonry fire pits. But the real focal point of this enchanted scene is a beguiling escallonia, an 80 year-old multi-trunked tree that seems more like a work of art.

Nestled along California’s Central Coast, Cambria Pines Lodge features 5 acres of themed gardens. Most are self-contained within living walls of hedges formed by Monterey cypress, pittosporum or New Zealand tea tree (Leptospermum scoparium). Walking into each garden room is like discovering a secret space.

Around the bend is a literal flower bed, a whimsical floral bedroom featuring a collection of hardy geraniums and ornamental grasses. Bordering the flower bed is an enclave of enchanting birdhouses, each a miniature version of an English cottage.

Walk along one of the many well-defined pathways and you’ll come upon a gated archway that appears straight from the pages of a fairytale. Inside the gate is a myriad of flying fairies, or rather, butterflies. Surrounded by a Monterey cypress hedge, the Butterfly Garden features an abundance of brightly colored nectar flowers, such as asclepias, verbena, scabiosa and yarrow. Arranged in a circular fashion, the fragrant Rose Garden is especially stunning in spring. Three iron arches surrounding a lion’s head fountain are adorned in wisteria, which you can smell long before you notice the plant’s deep lavender blooms.

The Gazebo Garden doubles as a wedding garden partially framed by a coastal sequoia grove. Inside this evergreen shelter is a classic English border garden and stepping stone aisle leading through a lush lawn to a romantic white gazebo. Even more intimate is the White Garden, a traditional Victorian garden filled with the sounds of water from a fountain and the sights of white flowering plants and shrubs that light up the garden with a dreamy glow beneath a moonlit night.

Other highlights include a Succulent Garden, a Mediterranean garden, and a Redwood Walk—a forested glen with a medley of shade plants growing beneath the redwoods. And for more inspiration, a California native plant pathway leads through the woods to the affiliated Cambria Nursery and Florist. The nursery offers gardening demonstrations and workshops throughout the year.
• Cambria Pines Lodge
(800) 445-6868

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