Just like Los Angeles, Orange County is also a haven for flower lovers. Aside from picturesque beaches, it is also home to a number of beautiful floral sanctuaries that are perfect for quick nature retreats without having to go out of state. Here’s a quick list of some of the most stunning public botanical gardens in OC that we believe deserve a spot in your weekend plans.
Sherman Library and Gardens
Spending a day at Sherman Library and Gardens is like experiencing the world through its exotic species of ornamental plants and vegetation. It boasts of a thriving cactus and succulent garden in the midst of a prominent California pepper tree and an impressive tropical conservatory filled with different varieties of colorful orchid plants, heliconias, and ginger from Asia and the Pacific. It also has its own ravishing rose garden and a fern grotto that features verdant staghorn ferns dating 40 years old, a Japanese garden, and an herb garden teeming with chocolate, mint, and garlic.
After feasting your eyes to all the breathtaking exhibits and gardens, treat yourself to a dreamy al fresco dining experience overlooking the floral garden when you get a sumptuous brunch or a soothing afternoon tea paired with handmade crepe.
UC Irvine Arboretum
Another university-owned botanical garden, the UC Irvine Arboretum was started in the 1970s originally to research on rare plant species from South Africa. Eventually, the 12.5 acres of land served as a shelter to other endangered plant and flower species. It has now also become a treasure trove of native California wildflowers, plants, and trees, including Baja California, the Channel Islands, Maritime Succulent Scrub, and Otay Mesa.
Set on a sprawling 26 acres of land, the Fullerton Arboretum is owned and facilitated by California State University established in early 1972. OC’s largest botanical garden features a diverse collection and boasts of having over 4,000 kinds of plants and flowers. A tour of the Fullerton Arboretum will reveal that it is divided into different sections, depending on the type of species and habitat. Check out their Mediterranean, desert, woodlands, and cultivated collections.
This captivating garden is ideal for quiet walks or meditation in the morning while listening to the chirping of birds. Budding gardeners can also benefit from one of their informative classes in home composting and pruning of rose gardens.
Niguel Botanical Preserve
The Niguel Botanical Preserve was founded in 1984 by local community leaders to inspire future generations about the beauty and importance of horticulture. This piece of gem spans on 18 acres of land and is flourishing with more than 2,000 unique species of plants. It is open 7 days a week all year, from sunrise to sunset. Admission is absolutely free and guided tours can be secured by appointment. Niguel Botanical Preserve features 4 miles of trail ideal for walking and taking your pet out on a sunny day.
Wrigley Botanical Garden
A desert paradise, the Wrigley Botanical Garden is nestled in the lovely Catalina Island. It was the brainchild of William Wrigley’s wife, Ada. The original Desert Plant Collection by Pasadena horticulturalist Albert Conrad was created under her watch. Thanks to the coastal climate of Southern California, they were able to bring in and introduce other plants and flowers from other parts of the globe in 1969. Dubbed as the gateway of Garden to Sky Trail, which is a famous hike that rewards you with picture-perfect views of the ocean when you reach the peak.
Do you know of any more flower gardens in Orange County? Let us know in the comments below!