Organization introduction

              Established in 1976, Shelldance Gardens, LLC is an orchid nursery operated by partners Michael Rothenberg and Nancy Davis. Shelldance Gardens, LLC is a botanical environment open to the public and devoted exclusively to growing orchids, bromeliads and neotropical plants. Shelldance occupies historic greenhouses built in 1949 by Herb Hager for the cultivation of orchids.

Mission & Purpose

              “To discover and share knowledge about the floriculture of orchids, bromeliads and home gardening in order to preserve and enrich life. We are committed to the propagation, growing and preservation of rare and at-risk, cool growing orchids. We provide further leadership in protecting the environment and being active on important community concerns.”

Leading by example, we accomplish our mission through research, education, and advocacy.

Program Profile

The orchid family (Orchidaceae) demonstrates one of the most specialized lines of flowering plant evolution; eight percent of all flowering plants are orchids, making them the largest family of angiosperms, (a plant that has flowers and produces seed) Orchids have a complex life cycle, a symbiotic mycorrhizal association (at germination) and exotic pollination mechanisms; therefore, orchids have a great deal to offer in the study of interactions between plants, fungi, and the animal kingdom. Orchids are also extraordinarily sensitive to environmental changes, a subject of increasing global interest.

The conditions found in high elevation cloud forests are difficult to recreate. The West Coast of Californian is one of the rare US locations to offer the unique climate that neotropical plants and orchids require. The proximity of Shelldance Gardens to the Pacific Ocean produces near-ideal growing conditions for the culture and propagation of cool-growing orchids and bromeliads.

Today, the greenhouses of Shelldance Gardens, LLC serve as growing areas and as a repository for collections of rare, Neotropical, cool-growing orchids many of which are threatened with extinction through loss of habitat. Academics, botanical gardens, conservatories, photographers and international orchid researchers appreciate our commitment to provide the resource of a knowledge base for the culture and propagation of these orchids and regularly visit the greenhouses to participate in our growing programs.

The preservation of the heritage and legacy that Herb Hager founded at this site in 1949 and which Shelldance Gardens, LLC continues is a world resource and a local treasure.

Shelldance Gardens

2000 Hwy 1
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 355-4845
Website: www.shelldance.com
Facebook: Shelldance Orchid Gardens

Contact person; Nancy Davis/co-owner
Owners: Michael Rothenberg & Nancy Davis

Google Map


  • Our greenhouse facilities are located within 2 miles of the Pacific Ocean allowing us to take advantage of the intrinsic natural "air conditioning" that occurs during summer months as well as the relatively warm temperatures of winter which are optimal to the growing conditions needed by cloud forest orchids and bromeliads.
  • The original design of these greenhouses facilitates the optimal environment required for long-range production success. Workings with these historic greenhouses require a slower pace of crop cultivation, which gives unique, hands-on expertise.
  • We continue to make plants available for public gardens throughout the United States such as the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the Denver Botanical Gardens, the New York Botanical Gardens, the Boston Museum, the SF Conservatory and Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia.
  • The owners of Shelldance Gardens have the same keenness and continuing enthusiasm to orchid genera as the founder of this site, Herb Hager. Plants grow at their optimal, unique pace; it takes a lifetime of commitment to accomplish goals. Our dedication is steadfast.

Supporting Material

Orchids & Bromeliads from the collections at Shelldance Gardens have appeared in many publications:

  • Masdevallias, Ron Parsons & Mary Gerritsen, Timber Press, 2005
  • Miniature Orchids, Ron Parsons & Mary Gerritsen, Timber Press, 2013
  • Orchids Magazine, American Orchid Society, (various issues)
  • Orchid Digest Magazine, (various issues)
  • Australian Orchid Review, (various issues)
  • Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia website, Jay Pfahl
  • Orchid photos.org website, Eric Hunt
  • Stephen Johnson Photography Gallery, 2014
  • International Odontoglossum Alliance newsletters
  • International Pleurothallid Alliance website and newsletter
  • Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine, Fall 2013

Shelldance Gardens has been featured in major Bay Area news publications:

  • The San Francisco Chronicle
  • The San Francisco Examiner
  • The San Mateo Times
  • The San Jose Mercury News
  • The San Francisco Magazine
  • Bay Area Backroad
  • The Pacifica Tribune
  • Coastside Currents

“Shelldance Garden, LLC is proud to be a Park Partner with the National Parks Service/Golden Gate Recreation Area and looks forward to continuing the work thus far achieved in our location within the Park Boundaries, and to growing a bright future dedicated to serving the greater good for people and the environment ”.

Nancy Davis, 2022