“The urge to beauty, and the need for beautiful and gracious and lovely things in life is as vital a need as the urge for bread.”
–Luther Burbank (1849-1926)
While it is true that I lived for several years on four acres of land not far at all from Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, it is also true that I not once had visited prior to yesterday. And lucky me. I had not one but two docents escorting me about and sharing with me the history and secrets of famed horticulturist Luther Burbank’s life in early Sonoma County.
Varuna and Dave, docents at Luther Burbank Home and Gardens
One of those secrets is that the very spot where Varuna and Dave are standing is precisely where Luther Burbank was ultimately buried–in his front yard! (Who would know??) Originally the unmarked site was chosen as it was near a large favored Cedar of Lebanon tree, which Burbank planted in 1893. However in 1989 at last the tree succumbed to time and, not to be lost to history, a section of it was cut and a bench was fashioned which now resides in one corner of the front garden.
Burbank originally hailed from Massachusetts, but made his way to Northern California, where he pronounced that, “I firmly believe, from what I have seen, that this is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned.” I would be inclined to agree. Burbank acquired this wonderful house and later constructed the adjacent charming greenhouse, and it was upon this land that he conducted his many plant-breeding experiments that became known worldwide. A carriage house stands behind the greenhouse which serves as a museum and gift shop for visitors.
Luther Burbank’s home from 1884-1906
Luther Burbank’s prized greenhouse
During the over fifty years Burbank worked as a horticulturist his primary intention was to improve the quality of plants and thus assist with increasing the world’s food supplies. He developed and introduced over 800 new plants including over 200 kinds of fruits, veges, nuts and grains and hundreds of different flowers. Can you imagine his rich life? I barely can if I try. It was there in this four acre garden where all this took place, and famous persons came from around the world to see.
“I shall be content if because of me there shall be better fruits and fairer flowers.”
I took myself on a walking tour and found the following treasures.
lovely old water feature
a flowering Japanese maple!
a lotus shaped sundial…
garden fountain, largely inspired by wife Elizabeth Burbank
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have visited Luther Burbank Home and Gardens. It is another gem in my life in Northern California for which I continue to give daily thanks.
Love and gardening blessings,
Posted on April 6th, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: Field Trips