Recently, on a warm April day, my wife and I ventured to the eastern edges of the Fallbrook community to take in a botanical garden we had become aware of through a brochure. Not knowing what to expect, we were more than pleasantly surprised to find a quaint, historic, former farm which had been converted over the years into a multi-use facility. Known as Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens and Nursery, named after the creek running through the property, it now offers gardens to walk through, a nursery selling a variety of botanicals, a café, a historic barn, carriage house, a plantation styled home, farmhouse gift shop and a step back to the early 1900’s.
Photos by Carolyn Robertson
Myrtle Creek is open 9-5 daily and includes free admission and parking. It is currently situated on 30 acres in what is known as Fallbrook’s Myrtle Creek Valley. The property has huge oak trees throughout the grounds and an extensive variety of flowers, shrubs and trees scattered around the gardens and nursery. Along with this fountains, statues, wooden bridges can be seen as guests wander around. Horticulture specialists are available to answer any questions you may have about the gardens and nursery. The gardens are located at 2940 Reche Road in Fallbrook. Go north on Highway 15 to the Highway 76 turn off, left to Highway 395, left to Reche Road, left for about 1 ½ miles to Myrtle Creek. Look for the sign on the right.
The main feature on the property is what is known as the Fallbrook Barn, a large red livestock barn built in 1895, using old style wood planking. The red color comes from combining linseed oil with rust from old farm equipment. A small petting farm greets visitors as they approach the barn. The Farmhouse Gift Shop is an old farm house built in 1899, and was the center of the livestock homestead. In the gift shop there is a Ben Franklin wood burning stove, an array of antique furniture pieces used to display a wide range of gift items and a hand dug dry storage cellar with walls of vintage wine bottles. As you approach the gift shop you will pass by the Wild Bird Sanctuary and the Butterfly Gardens. Not far from this is the Carriage House with a native granite stone foundation.
One of the destinations for many of the visitors to Myrtle Creek is Café Bloom. This small café is open from 11 – 4 each day and features fresh organic farm to table soups, wraps, salads and sandwiches with a variety of drinks to choose from including fresh lemonade. We shared a turkey sandwich on a pretzel bun, served in a picnic basket with an apple. The café is easily spotted as a large water wheel turns as you approach the entrance. The day was warm but large fans cooled the café. There was an outdoor patio with umbrella tables that overlooked the pond by the water wheel. One of the special menu items of the café is Myrtle Berry Pie – a combination of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. The water for the water wheel, pond and servicing the gardens comes from hand dug water wells over 130 feet deep.
Just past the café is a large home called the Sherman House. This house is crafted after an 1804, Atlanta, Georgia, Southern style Plantation house complete with a Southern style porch around the 1st story. The house has 3 red clay brick wood burning fire places and redwood ship lap siding. The home was under renovation when we visited, but will open for tours in the next few months. The Sherman family are the current owners and are descendants of General William Tecumseh Sherman, a Union General during the Civil War.
There are many different options available for visitors to Myrtle Creek. Most wander and take in the 30 acre property on their own. Some sign up for the Farm Tours, available by appointment by calling 760-728-5340. Some take the variety of seminars available ranging from how to create a butterfly garden to designing a miniature fairy garden, or making a holiday wreath or making succulent gardens and the list goes on. There are fees for these seminars.
I recommend visitors first go to the Myrtle Creek web site and go through the many options, activities and special events available, www.discovermyrtlecreek.com . One interesting part of the web site are the recipes and gardening tips that can be found. I had never heard of Myrtle Creek before I saw the brochure. It was a pleasant surprise and a place we will visit again.