Santa Cruz / Monterey Coast Gardens

Photo: Jennifer Lynn Boggs

Wednesday, September 14 – Sunday, September 18, 2022

Santa Cruz, Monterey and the Central California Coast are more than great surf, sandy beaches, redwood-covered mountains, and laid-back towns. Join us to discover the horticultural delights of this temperate Mediterranean climate with alluvial soils where you will taste the wealth of organic farms and subsequent farm-to-table culture. Enjoy behind-the-scenes experiences at an impressive array of public and private gardens and nurseries showcasing water-conserving climate-adapted plants.

We have arranged a comprehensive five-day exploration into the Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay public gardens, native plant nurseries, and private garden spaces for you to enjoy and explore with Pacific Horticulture.



Wednesday, September 14th


Arrive at Casa Munras Hotel & Spa, 700 Munras Avenue, Monterey CA 93940

Pre-Tour Activities / Independent Time

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Whale Watching Tours
  • Bicycle on the path along the shore

In the afternoon, we will assemble at the hotel and depart for Asilomar State Beach which stretches one mile and is made up of rocky coves and sandy areas. It is part of the Asilomar Marine Reserve due to its rich ecosystem and biodiversity.

We will enjoy a ranger-guided tour on the boardwalk of the Beach Dune and Grass Restoration Project, followed by a Welcome Dinner at Asilomar Hotel and Conference Center, where you will enjoy wonderful California fresh menus served in the casual, inviting atmosphere of Asilomar’s historic Crocker Dining Hall.


Thursday, September 15th

Photos: Clockwise from left: Andrea Testa-Vought and Al Case CC

We will explore the exquisite Carmel Valley today, including

Drive through charming Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for the fairytale cottages and galleries of its small village center.

Private gardens will be the focus of today.  Pacific Horticulture has insider access to some amazing private gardens, details of which are still being determined but are certain to delight.

We will enjoy a scrumptious gourmet lunch during our day in Carmel Valley, returning to our hotel with time for you to wander Monterey’s Historic District. Or you may decide to spend the evening in Carmel-by-the-Sea which is a quick taxi or 15-minute public bus ride from our hotel.


Friday, September 16th

Photos: Clockwise from top left: Saxon Holt,, Marion Brenner, and Naoto Soto

Today we will explore some of the wonders of Watsonville

Succulent Gardens Nursery, growing over 400 varieties of succulent plants, both popular and rare. The nursery covers over three acres and our drought-tolerant plants are displayed both in greenhouses and outside. We will have a tour focusing on the propagation, breeding, and care of these intriguing plants

Live Earth Farm, established as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in 1995, this farm now includes numerous educational programs and activities built around natural soil-building through composting, crop rotation, cover crops, and mulching, adding organic soil amendments, and following careful tillage practices. We will have a tour and lunch here.

Monterey Bay Nursery, wholesale growers of container woody ornamentals, perennials, seasonal color, greenhouse plants, and succulents. We will tour this facility that’s normally not open to the public

Sierra Azul Nursery, specializing in plants from the five Mediterranean climate zones and focusing on native plants, we will have a mini-lecture by a renowned plants specialist.


Saturday, September 17th

Photos: Clockwise from left: Saxon Holt,, and Sarah Beck

Today, we will be at the northern side of Monterey Bay, in lovely Santa Cruz

Wilder Ranch State Park – The Santa Cruz coastline awaits discovery on Wilder Ranch State Park’s 7,000 acres. From the crest of Ben Lomond Mountain, the landscape rolls down ancient wave-cut terraces through the marshlands of a nature preserve to the seashore.

Lunch at a locally-owned and unique restaurant

Private Garden: Tom Karwin

Tour participants will also be invited to attend a special tour, reception, and dinner event with guests from the Santa Cruz / Monterey region at the UC Santa Cruz Botanical Garden


Sunday, September 18th

Photos: Saxon Holt,

Gabilan Ranch, enjoy a very special day of exploration and learning at the Gabilan Ranch, on 12,000 acres of historic California land just outside of San Juan Bautista, CA. This family-owned working cattle ranch incorporates holistic rangeland management practices in order to preserve and enhance these California grasslands for generations to come.


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 4 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).