When we moved to Laguna over a year ago, we had heard of a small botanical garden in Corona del Mar, called the Sherman Library & Gardens located right on the Pacific Coast Highway. It was said to be a hidden gem and also great for children to visit.
And since I am always looking for ways to immerse my kiddos in nature (and love unique gardens), we rallied the troops and went.
The Sherman Library & Gardens
Named after M.H. Sherman (the founder of the LA Railway system), the Sherman Gardens - as it is known - is a horticultural garden, meaning that it is an ecological space that strives to maintain and balance the building site with the natural environment.
And upon entering, it becomes apparent that the Sherman Gardens succeeded in doing just that with much knowledge, skill, technology, and dedication.
The immaculately maintained grounds are divided into various planting zones that feature native and imported plants - from roses, shade plants, and succulents to real rarities like the Kentia palm (which is endemic to Lord Howe Island in Australia).
Overall there are over 100 species of palms from around the world!
For the kids
Upon arrival, the children were given a package with seeds to plant at home and a scavenger hunt map to encourage them to pay closer attention to what they were about to see: there is tile fountain at the entrance, sculptures throughout, and an ocean of vibrant flowers, and rare plants.
The children's highlight was the greenhouse conservatory, which features many rare tropical plants (and some carnivorous plants), a waterfall, a Koi pond, and several large turtles.
We saw the most impressive display of Dahlias (what a sight of brilliant colors) and fell in love with the elegant white garden with a sea of Delphiniums, Sweet Sultans, White Gayfeather, and Hydrangea.
There was Lace Perfume Dianthus, Peruvian lilies, and Blue Salvia. We saw white Lady of the Night, Sunpatients, and Bleeding Heart Fuchsia as well as Chocolate Orchids, Dark Stars, and Anthuriums.
A personal favorite was the tea garden with numerous hanging baskets of Fuchsia, Begonia, and other seasonal flowers. We were mesmerized by the cacti display, and discovered a Tazmanian Tree Fern, saw 4ft wide Bromeliads, and even encountered a large pepper tree next to the historical library.
What was most surprising to me was how much our children enjoyed this garden.
They searched and examined, observed, and watched. They squealed with delight upon discovering yet another never-before-seen plant (I mean, look at this Queen Victoria Agave: none of us could believe that this plant is nature's creation).
A library, an art center and so much more
As the name suggests, the garden also houses a library (a historical research library, to be exact) specializing in the history of the Pacific Southwest (including southern California, Arizona, northern Mexico). And it is also home to a collection of California Impressionist art, featuring works by William Wendt, Edgar Payne and more.
There are also regular events taking place at the Sherman Gardens, such as Lunch & Lecture, where every select Friday the Sherman Gardens (in partnership with South Coast Plaza and Cafe Jardin) invites speakers on topics such as environmental and education issues, sustainability and more.
There are also a variety of educational opportunities for children of all ages, such as the lovingly organized peaceful painting workshop (to encourage creativity and mindfulness) or the Monarch Butterfly class (where kids learn how to create gardens to attract the Monarch Butterfly).
Should you ever find yourself in Corona del Mar, please go and visit the Sherman Gardens. It is an hour well spent and a wonderful experience for your senses.
In the end, our visit served as an important reminder of just how significant a role gardens play in our community and that the power lies with planting: the more we plant gardens like these in our local areas, the greater the health and ecological benefits for the community as a whole.
Let's do our part and contribute - in any way possible.
2647 East Coast Hwy
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
Hours of Operation
10:30am – 4pm | Monday thru Friday