It’s little surprise that Sherman Gardens is regularly ranked as the top attraction in the pretty California town of Corona Del Mar. This hidden gem covers over two acres of land packed with flora and fauna from around the globe.
Far more than your average botanical garden, the site is also home to one of the most comprehensive collections of books about the history of the Pacific Southwest.
Originally a nursery, the Sherman Library, and Gardens was established in 1955. Over the decades, an immense number of plant species were brought to the property. The mild coastal climate allows for a wide variety of trees, shrubs, flowers, and succulents to thrive.
Everything from exotic orchids to a California pepper tree is on display. Desert cactus, herbs, and of course, a fantastic and super-fragrant Rose Garden are lovingly nurtured by the gardeners on staff.
Wide brick walkways link the gardens, conservatories, patios, and fountains making everything easily accessible for even elderly or disabled guests. The Fern Grotto houses staghorn fern specimens that are over 40 years old.
The Japanese Garden is an oasis of peace and quiet, and the perfect place for a few moments of quiet contemplation. Bo trees are considered sacred by those of the Buddhist and Hindu faiths. It seems appropriate that one has taken root alongside the other Asian flowers and trees in the garden.
Be sure and spend a few minutes in the heat and humidity of the Tropical Conservatory. Surround yourself with the unique heliconias, gingers, and other exotic imports. Impossibly, everything seems to somehow be perpetually in bloom. A pond stocked with koi always delights the kids; the massive carp are obviously kept very well fed!
Garlic lovers may be surprised to learn that their favorite stinky seasoning comes in several strange varieties. Check out the Sherman Herb Garden to see the society, chocolate, and orange-mint garlic plants. The Herb Garden is not just for show. Café Jardin, the onsite restaurant, makes use of the fresh herbs in the chef’s “coastal garden” cuisine.
Indeed, the handmade crepes, fresh baked pastries, and other goodies make a stop at the gardens worthwhile, even for those with no interest in botany. The setting is spectacular; the café has been set up in the center of the gardens, allowing diners to enjoy their meals al fresco.
Rain is a rarity in this corner of California, but there is a covered area to move to should the skies open up. Spring and Summer sees a Sunday Brunch service that’s not to be missed.
Sherman Gardens frequently hosts weddings, anniversary parties, and other get-togethers. Indoor and outdoor spaces are available for private ceremonies and celebrations. The Tea Garden Patio features a wisteria-covered arbor perfect for photos.
The Central Patio Room is outfitted with a brick fireplace, cathedral ceilings, vintage wooden beams, and French doors that open onto a spacious terrace.
A structure that was once a home now houses a library dedicated to preserving Pacific Southwest history. The Sherman Library acquires all manner of print material, and features changing displays and exhibits.
As this is a research library and not a circulating library, no books may leave the premises. Nevertheless, students of all ages and disciplines are welcomed at the library to collect information.
Special events open to the public are frequently organized at Sherman Gardens. Botanical scavenger hunts and one-of-a-kind meals have been held, with each course being served up in a different part of the garden. There is a gift shop at the gardens where visitors can purchase seeds and other souvenirs. Free parking is available on site.
Sherman Library and Gardens 2647 East Coast Hwy, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625 (949) 673-2261