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Buena Creek Botanic Gardens

418 Buena Creek Rd, San Marcos, CA 92069

(760) 744-2810

Message Business

  • Thursday - Sunday 10am to 4pm
  • Mon - Wed: CLOSED


Named for two ancient Oak trees that sheltered a meeting place for Native Americans, the Twin Oaks region of North San Diego County has long been a center for human activity.

The Buena Creek Gardens site was homesteaded in 1896 by Rudolf Aumann, who perhaps planted our iconic California Pepper Tree that welcomes visitors to our nursery. Our small nursery office, which is now known as “El Shackito,” was once a pony barn, and later a residence for an art teacher at nearby Palomar College. In 1970, Bob Brooks bought the 4-acre property, and with his partner Ray Chesnik began clearing the land for an iris farm. Cordon Bleu Farms specialized in bearded iris in the 1970s and hybrid daylilies in the 1980s. Most of the largest trees in the gardens were planted during this period.   In 1988, Steve Brigham was hired to help manage “The Farm” and its mail- order business. During the next 8 years, Steve developed the retail rare plant nursery, which was named Buena Creek Gardens. Bob Brooks retired in 1996 and sold the business and property to Steve. Since then, field plantings have been replaced by new display gardens and nursery areas.

Steve and Shari Matteson purchased the property and business in 2008 when Steven and Donna Brigham retired and moved to Washington state.

More than a garden, and more than a nursery, Buena Creek Gardens is above all a beautiful, happy and peaceful place to visit. Here, the natural world takes center stage and welcomes the visitor with open arms. We are not a “big business”, but we offer a truly beautiful, happy and peaceful place to visit and to be inspired by plants and nature.
For more than 20 years, our 4-acre retail nursery and display gardens in North San Diego County has propagated and grown most of the plants we sell in our singular location. We grow Southern California’s largest selection of new and uncommon flowering perennials, shrubs, daylilies and vines… and Drought- Tolerant plants are a specialty! Over 5,000 outstanding varieties of flowering plants make this a horticultural Mecca for plant enthusiasts from all over the world.

We are proud of our horticultural contributions, and have introduced many excellent garden plants into the nursery trade. Our special cultivars of low-maintenance and drought-tolerant plants are sure to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden.

Whether you’re here to explore the nursery or just to wander through our gardens and commune with the wildlife, sharing our knowledge as plant growers is as important as sharing the beauty of the plants and flowers we grow. We’re here to answer your questions and make your visit an enjoyable one!