Victorian Gardens

When the thermometer inches towards 100 degrees and my garden is looking sad and wilted, I dream of the lush, green gardens of Ferndale.

Every summer we spend a weekend in the remarkably well-preserved Victorian village on the Northern California coast.

Ferndale yards epitomize the old house garden – you know, the kind of garden your grandma had. Think big bushy hydrangeas, dahlias the size of your head, climbing roses, shaped shrubs and tucked away patios with tiny tables and chairs – formal English garden meets whimsical cottage garden, if you will. Of course, Ferndale is better known for its old houses, dairy cows and some of the movies filmed here than it is for its landscaping, but I’ll get to that another day.

When we get there, we always park under these guys, the gumdrop trees.

Plants of all kinds thrive in the town’s temperate coastal air.

One of the bed-and-breakfasts, the Gingerbread Mansion, is known for its Victorian gardens, full of fuschia, fountains and hummingbirds.

But my favorite garden in town is a lot more informal. It’s the farm garden at Fern Cottage, built in 1886 by the pioneering Russ family and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Never mind the hose in this photo. It’s a working farm – see the wooden chicken coop in the back?

My thumb isn’t green enough to recreate these landscapes in the climate at home, but that’s just an excuse to keep coming back.



Filed under garden, historic houses, old houses, travel, Victorian

5 responses to “Victorian Gardens

  1. The heatwave we are experiencing here on the east coast makes the west coast look awfully appealing! I am watching my garden gasp, choke and faint as we hit 100 degrees here in the DC metro area. Good luck to all of you gardeners out there . . .

  2. Oh my goodness, I WISH my hydrangeas looked like those in Ferndale!

    Wonderful travelogue — thanks for taking me out of 100-degree New Jersey for a little while, to beautiful northern California. Our grass has gone dormant, but we’re valiantly keeping the tomatoes and flowers going; thank goodness for hoses and sprinklers!

    And … air conditioning.
    Best wishes, Cass

  3. Oh my goodness, that pink flower! Those hydrangeas!

  4. I officially have put Ferndale on my list of places I must vacation.

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