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Best Botanical Gardens In Orange County

Fullerton Arboretum header 610 botanical garden
(credit: Fullerton Arboretum)

(credit: Fullerton Arboretum)

The coastal climate of Southern California plays a great part in maintaining an abundant variety of flowers and plants all year long. For many horticulturists and avid gardeners, the area is often considered to be a paradise. For locals, there are many places that can help begin a gardening plan of their own or even an day of enjoying the beautiful botanical gardens that are maintained by local organizations. Here are the top locations for botanical gardens in Orange County.

fullerton arboretum
(credit: Fullerton Arboretum)

Fullerton Arboretum
1900 Associated Road
Fullerton, CA 92831
(657) 278-3407

Located on close to 26 acres of land owned by California State University in Fullerton is the the gardens of the Fullerton Arboretum. Open daily from 8am to 4:30pm, there are seasonal extended hours for the month of June to 8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The history and the creation of the arboretum dates back to the early 70s when faculty members and students of Orange State College (now California State University, Fullerton) along with the help of doctors David Walkington and Eugene Jones began the creation of the arboretum. It was in the earlier part of 1972 that the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum was formed and with the formation of the non-profit organization, a license was raised and the future to develop the arboretum was brought into reality. The location now has collections of plant beds, museum exhibits, tours, gardens and databases for those interested in knowing more about the collections over the years. Special events are also held every year that range from the Green Scene in April, to the Haunted Garden in October and the Victorian Christmas for the holidays. Tours are available with reservations for those interested and available to book online or over the phone.

sherman garden
(credit: Sherman Gardens)

Sherman Library and Gardens
2647 E. Coast 5
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
(949) 673-2261

This 2.2-acre land in Corona Del Mar is considered a horticultural retreat to many. The gardens, patios and conservatories are just part of what this location has to offer. One can also enjoy the museum of living plants in the immaculate setup that is the Sherman Library & Gardens. That span of the collection of plans come from a wide range around the globe. They include exotic vegetation to plants from desert regions. The tranquil environment is a nice setting for those who are interesting in horticulture. The area also has a Cafe Jardin, a restaurant located in full view of the central flowers of the gardens.

UCI Arboretum
(credit: Donna D./Yelp)

UCI Arboretum
University of California, Irvine
Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92660
(949) 824-5833

In the late 1960s, the UCI Arboretum was created as a plant growing facility for the purpose of research and teaching. It is the school of Biological Sciences that administers the arboretum and is currently on a 12.5-acre botanical garden. It features plants from the local community and has an extensive collection of South African species. The location is the only site on campus where "common garden" experiments are allowed to be conducted. There are special collections of plants that range from Baja California, the California Channel Islands, Mojave Desert, Oak woodland and Aloe gardens. There is a strong emphasis on the plant communities located in the Irvine area.

Related: OC's Best Nurseries For Spring Gardening

(credit: Hortense Miller Garden)

Friends Hortense Miller Garden
22511 Allview Terrace
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 497-0716

Laguna Beach is home to the 2.5-acre garden in Boat Canyon that has a range of flowers from Southern California coastal zones. During the spring, the entrance has a beautiful sight of lilac blooms of Japanese Wisteria. This location offers training and direction for locals who plan on starting their own gardens. Tours are also given from Tuesday to Saturday and can take anywhere from two to three hours. Hortense Miller passed in 2008 just before his 100th birthday and guests are able to get a tour of the interior of his home, which displays a large array of his artwork.

Niguel Botanical Preserve
(credit: Mary M./Yelp)

Niguel Botanical Preserve
29751 Crown Valley Parkway
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
(949) 425-5100

More than 18 acres in the Crown Valley Community Park of Laguna Niguel is dedicated to the display of plants in the botanical garden at the Niguel Preserve. Local community leaders began the adventure in 1984 by beginning the non-profit corporation to educate the locals of the horticulture for generations to come. What is fascinating about this preserve is that its plant collections are loosely organized by region like Australia, Africa, South America, Mediterranean and California and Mexico.

Related: Orange County's Best Landscapers

Elle Toussi is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. Her work can be found on

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