The Sumner Garden of Rhododendrons is located within the Monte Toyon Camp and Conference Center, up Cathedral Drive in Aptos, adjacent to the Forest of Nisene Marks. The garden is only open a couple of times per year to the general public, usually in the spring, or with an appointment. It is truly an Aptos Gem.
The garden was developed by Maurie and Fran Sumner over a period of almost forty years. The Sumners purchased three acres on the border of Monte Toyon Camp in 1959. The garden was surrounded by the camp, and is now a part of it.
Maurie and Fran cut down trees, strung deer fence, and built an observation platform. They planted all of the plants themselves. The garden contains a wide variety of Rhododendrons which Fran and Maurie hybridized or collected. The Rhododendrons come from all over the world, including China, Japan, England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea.
Eight of the hybrids are registered in the World Registry in London.