Buena Creek Gardens is so much more than a plant nursery. You don’t just stop in to purchase a new plant or garden accessory – when you visit Buena Creek Gardens, you’re transported to a beautiful world where butterflies drift by on the breeze and time seems to stop. You’re greeted by talking parrots and the friendly faces of the Garden’s owners, Steve and Shari.
The Garden has been specializing in unique and uncommon plants for over twenty years here in San Marcos. The property boasts a variety of different gardens such as the Bird and Butterfly Garden, which is full of plants that attract birds and butterflies for their food or flower nectar and shrubs and trees for nesting in a safe environment, the Mediterranean Garden, Palm Canyon, and Chaparral Garden. Dogs are welcome on a leash. The Gardens also have chickens, cats, parrots, macaws, a goose, a duck, and dairy goats. Gunner the dog hangs out in the office.
Picnicking is always welcome at the Gardens. It’s a great place to stop by just to hang out, read a book, relax and enjoy some coffee, hot tea, or their famous sweet iced tea and cookies located in the garden room. Many artists of oil painting and water color bring their classes to the gardens to paint and draw. Photographers can also use the Gardens to do photo shoots. Some bring their own props, but many don’t because there’s already quite an array of garden art around.
They have regular plant sales, featuring special plants at discounted prices, pottery and garden art, and even guest gardening speakers and guest musicians. Monthly garden tours are generally held on the third Saturday of the month at 10 am. The Gardens also hold classes on drought tolerant gardening, low-water features, bubbling urns, succulent gardens, and how to make your own special hypertufa planter. The next music concert is March 21st with details coming on their Facebook page soon. A native plants talk special guest is also coming soon, and planned yoga sessions are in the works. If you’re looking for a beautiful outdoor environment to practice your yoga, like their Facebook page to stay updated on upcoming dates and times.
Bus tours come through every year, as well as field trips from local schools and Montessori schools. The children are given a tour and discussion with age-appropriate information on plant production, local wildlife, insects, farm animals, pets, and the relationships between plants, animals, insects, people and our world.
Much of what is sold is propagated from the mother stock that’s displayed throughout the Gardens. They have 2,000 varieties of plants. Everything from herbs like mint and oregano, to vegetables like peppers and squash, perennials like lavender, trees and shrubs, Jasmine vines, bulbs and tubers, as well as many native plants and succulents, just to name a few. Landscape and hardscape services are also available.
The Buena Creek Gardens property goes back one hundred and nineteen years. The property was homesteaded in 1896, and shortly after the California pepper tree that captivates visitors shortly after entering the Garden was planted. The garden shop, affectionately referred to as “El Shakito,” was once a pony barn and in the 1960s was a residence and pottery barn for an art teacher at nearby Palomar College. In 1970, Bob Brooks bought the 4-acre property, and with his partner Ray Chesnik, they began clearing the land for an iris farm. This is when most of the largest trees in the gardens were planted. Cordon Bleu Farms specialized in bearded irises in the 1970s and hybrid Daylilies in the 1980s.
In 1988, Steve Brigham, whom the current owners bought the Garden from in 2008, was hired to help manage “The Farm” and its mail-order business. During the next eight years, he developed the retail rare plant nursery, which had its named changed from Cordon Bleu Farms to Buena Creek Gardens. Bob Brooks retired in 1996 and sold the business and property to Steve Brigham. Since then, field plantings have been replaced by new display gardens and nursery areas.
Since Steve and Shari Matteson bought the garden in 2008, they’ve repaired the old buildings by installing all new wood where needed and new flooring. They also added an event venue in 2011 where they hold weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, company holiday parties or meetings, as well as memorials of long-time customers who have requested to have their memorials held in the Gardens. Shari says that she and Steve forever wanted exactly this place because they’ve always loved gardening and sharing their plants with friends and family. They love sharing their unique place with customers and growing rare and beautiful plants.
For more information about scheduling an event or any of their upcoming events, like them on Facebook or visit their website at http://www.buenacreekgardens.com. They are located at 418 Buena Creek Road San Marcos, CA 92069.
Their hours in fall and winter are Wednesday thru Saturday 9AM to 4PM and Sunday 11AM to 4PM. Spring and summer hours are Tuesday thru Saturday 9AM to 4PM and Sunday 11AM to 4PM. Before and after hours appointments can also be made.