San Diego & Southern California Gardens

Photo: Saxon Holt,

October 6 – October 10, 2022

San Diego County’s borders range from the desert to the sea and contain more biodiversity than any other county in North America. Join Pacific Horticulture to explore and learn from gardens that highlight plants that create habitat, dry streambed bioswales, natural areas, water catchment devices, slope gardens, charming water features, bridges, sculptures, and more.

We have assembled and arranged a comprehensive 5-day exploration into San Diego and Southern California’s public, native, and curated garden spaces.



Thursday, October 6, 2022

Photos: Clockwise from left: John Greenlee, Jodi Grundig, and Jenny Huey

Arrive at Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort, overlooking the ocean and steps from the restaurants and shops of charming Carlsbad Village

Wallace Ranch Tropical Fruit, a certified organic fruit farm on over 15 acres of land, specializing in dragon fruit. They also grow avocados, passion fruit, finger limes and more. We will learn about these intriguing crops plus be able to purchase fruit and cuttings.

Green Meadow Growers, a wholesale nursery specializing in ornamental grasses, succulents, and drought tolerant perennials.

Tour at Leichtag Commons, a consortium of environmental and food-based enterprises on a former poinsettia farm. During our visit to this incredible community, we will have a tour of Coastal Roots Farm

Welcome Dinner at Piper, a wonderful new farm-to-table restaurant in Oceanside, CA. 


Friday, October 7, 2022

Photos: Clockwise from left: Caroline Greyshock, Grubb & Nadler, Saxon Holt,

Grubb & Nadler Nurseriesa wholesale nursery, which specializes in growing palms, subtropicals, succulents, cactus, protea-family plants, grasses, cycads, and Australian natives. We will be hosted by their renowned head plantsman during our visit.

Patrick Anderson’s Private Garden in Fallbrook has been featured in numerous magazines and books. We will enjoy a relaxing, customized box lunch in his private garden. 

Oasis Water Efficient Gardens and Nursery, learn how to reduce your water bill while adding a splash of color to your yard with water efficient plants

Waterwise Botanicals, a place to dream, adventure, and learn. This hilltop retail nursery includes display gardens that are rich in wildlife and nature. You are likely to see birds and lizards, along with fish and frogs in the ponds.  They feature drought tolerant selections of succulents, cacti, grasses, roses, and more.


Saturday, October 8, 2022

Photos: Clockwise from left:Al_HikesAZ, Michael Seljos, Clark_CC

Visit and Guided Tour of Balboa Parkever-changing and always amazing.  Where culture, science, and nature collide, Balboa Park is home to more than 16 museums, multiple performing arts venues, lovely gardens, trails, and many other creative and recreational attractions, including the San Diego Zoo. With a variety of cultural institutions among its 1,200 beautiful and lushly planted acres, there is something for everyone.

Today, we will take a train along the coast from Carlsbad Village into downtown San Diego. From the historic Santa Fe Depot, a fleet of taxis will deliver us to the heart of Balboa Park.  You may prefer an early start or a more leisurely morning – a guide will be with both train departures.  Similarly, you may choose to return to the hotel in the early afternoon or linger longer – a guide will be with both train departure groups.

During our day at Balboa Park, we will have two expert-led walking tours. Before lunch, the tour will feature behind-the-scenes experiences and places not open to the general public. After lunch, the tour will feature hidden gardens within the park and we will be guided by Nan Sterman, a well-known horticulture celebrity and host of “A Growing Passion”


Sunday, October 9, 2022

Photos: Clockwise from left: Saxon Holt, and Nathan Rupert

San Diego Zoo Safari Park / Center for Plant Conservation, with a walking tour of the Center for Plant Conservation’s Field Work

We will then stop at a Private Garden about 30-minutes from the Safari Park – box lunches will be provided on the drive.

Next we will have a special tour of the San Diego Botanic Garden. Formerly known as Quail Botanic Gardens, this award-winning wonderland features 29 uniquely-themed gardens, among them a tropical rain forest, a bamboo garden, Australian garden, African garden, Palm Canyon, walled garden and much more. This garden has been named to many Best Gardens lists, including the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling For”


Monday, October 10, 2022 (Columbus Day / Indigenous Peoples’ Day)

Photos: Clockwise from left: Orchid Hunter and Bird Rock Tropicals Nursery

Bird Rock Tropicals, the founder focused on exploring plants in their natural habitat and has introduced into cultivation many plants that had not been available in the market prior to her production. The nursery focuses on producing new and unusual tillandsia species and hybrids.  

Andy’s Orchids, a family-owned nursery specializing in species orchids. They cultivate over 7,000 different varieties and have an inventory of over 750,000 plants. They grow everything from traditional favorites to the rarest exotics. 



Activity level: Expect a moderate amount of walking and occasional use of transit that is not a full-sized coach such as taxi, train or public bus. To enjoy this tour, you should be prepared to walk up to an hour at a time, climb stairs and tolerate periods of standing. Because we are staying at the same hotel throughout the tour, you might decide to have an independent adventure during part of the tour which is completely fine as long as you let our guide know you are remaining behind and not coming with the group. 

Meal Summary: This 5-day adventure includes 2 lunches and 2 dinners.

Tour Agent/Operator: Pacific Horticulture acts only as a representative for the tour participant with respect to communications with the Tour Agent/Operator; Pathfinders

Pathfinders is a tour operator based in the United Kingdom, they arrange group tours throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. Pathfinders is a trading name of S.T International Tourist Agency. Pathfinders is fully bonded through ATOL (0570).