Luther Burbank Home and Gardens

“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

Inside the greenhouse I found this lovely door.

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.”
–Luther Burbank

I took myself on a walking tour and found the following treasures.

prickly pear


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,
Kathryn xoxo

26 Responses to “Luther Burbank Home and Gardens”

  1. Hi~~ Paradise stretches to the north, through western Oregon. I feel very blessed to live here. What a beautiful day for a garden tour. Delightful. (Methinks the osmanthus might be ajuga. ?)

  2. Hi, Grace! Glad you enjoyed the garden tour. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will look up the osmanthus. Oh, whoops. I must have read the wrong sign! It does look like ajuga. I’ll call the garden tomorrow to verify and correct here. Thank you! Kathryn xoxo

  3. Hi Kathryn. What a lovely post. I had heard of Luther Burbank, so I really enjoyed the trip round his grounds – they’re gorgeous! I could seriously covert that greenhouse! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Kathryn~
    I too have never been there, even w/ living so close. That bench & its story has intrigued me enough to draw me in for a visit.
    Kathryn, I am curious about your connection to Angeles Arrien. I discovered you thru blogsearching Angeles. And was led to a comment that was made. I am in my 3rd year studying w/ her. It is amazing!
    Anyway, I just wanted to share that piece w/ you….
    Thank you for sharing your garden tour w/ us.

  5. I enjoyed the tour – wonderful post!

  6. Oh, I lust for that greenhouse! I’ve read a lot about Luther Burbank, but have never had the chance to visit his home and gardens. Thanks for the virtual tour!!!

  7. Hi, Liz, I bet we’d all love to have a greenhouse like that in our back yards! Isn’t it gorgeous? And i loved imagining all the genius that took place in that building! There’s a safe inside (!!) that used to be in his office,and apparently he kept SEEDS inside! I also heard that when his workers left the property their pant cuffs and pockets were thoroughly checked for any wayward seeds. ๐Ÿ™‚ Kathryn xoxo

  8. Hi, Cyndee, I recommend it. Isn’t it so the truth that the adventures under our noses we are sometimes less apt to take? I guess we figure we always can one day… ๐Ÿ™‚ As for Angeles, I studied with her in grad school at CIIS. I took every class I could with her. She is my all-time favorite teacher. Isn’t she fabulous? I also was the publicist for The Tarot Handbook many years ago. I’m so pleased to hear you are in her annual class. Bravo. We should have lunch. I miss Sausalito and have been thinking of a nostalgia post. Kathryn xoxo

  9. Good morning, Phillip! I’m glad you enjoyed the garden tour! Kathryn xoxo

  10. Our Friend Ben, I am so pleased you know of Luther Burbank and could appreciate the post with that knowledge! I myself am now motivated to read his biography. Maybe a follow up book review is in the works! Kathryn xoxo

  11. How Beautiful, mom! I’m inclined to agree with Cyndee that the bench warrants
    further investigation. Just Lovely!

    Love you,

  12. Kathryn, you continue to pull me towards spring. Here in Ohio where it is snowing yet again (3 inches in Cleveland this morning and flurries here in central Ohio) I dream of flowers so far along. The old Ohio rule is “three snows after the forsythia blooms” and this year it was late, just going out, does not bode well for our fruit crop. We are in our third week of daffodils (thousands in bloom in the yard now, mostly the early and mid ones) and the big Easter Egg Hyacinths are up and out. I force them and then plant the bulbs out and in a few years, about half come back. I always think I should just plant bunches but never do. New raised beds planted the last couple of years with peonies and old roses for my Dad are probably too far along. It was two years ago that we got a big freeze in mid-April and lost half the fruit crop in Ohio. Warnings are out today, especially around Lake Erie. I know that there is some reason why I am glad I live in Ohio and not in California, but your wonderful posts always make me forget. Earthquakes, it’s earthquakes that keep me here. All our best for a Happy Easter. Love, Julie and family

  13. Good morning, darling daughter! Glad you enjoyed the trip! Sometime we will go together. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love, Mom xoxo

  14. Hi, Cousin Julie! Yes, California is seductive, but it does require a tolerance for earthquakes, fires, flooding and mudslides. I’ve been through them all! And survived so far! Your comment zeroes me in on the day the wind was whipping at my black and white houndstooth wool coat, my knees exposed to the freezing cold of Ohio winter where I declared once and for all, “I will NOT go through another winter!” And didn’t. The daffodils sound beautiful, even in the snow. Stay warm and dry. Love, Kathryn xoxo

  15. I live near the city of Burbank and they don’t have anything about him here. Thanks for the post, nice to see your photos.

  16. Laura, hi. “The California city of Burbank is not named for Luther Burbank. Rather it is named for Los Angeles dentist David Burbank”–just found on google. However, ironically, there is apparently a city outside Chicago named Burbank named taken from the name of a school named after Luther Burbank.
    Thanks for the visit. ๐Ÿ™‚ Kathryn xoxo

  17. I visited the Luther Burbank home several years ago and was fascinated – and amazed that this man who hybridized so many plants we know and use today like the Shasta daisy and the Santa Rosa plum is all but forgotten. Thanks for the tour and the reminder of Burbank’s importance to gardeners, farmers, and the food supply.

  18. Welcome, Commonweeder, and thank you for that additional information. Yes, there is much to be learned and acknowledged about the man Luther Burbank and his contribution to our daily lives. Kathryn xoxo

  19. Enjoyed reading this story. What a treasure Luther Burbank was! Thanks for sharing.

  20. Hi, Teresa, Thank you for the visit. I’m glad you are appreciative of what Luther Burbank offered us.
    Kathryn xox

  21. Thank you, dear Kathryn, for this devine guided tour. If for nothing else, I honor Luther Burkank for the Shasta Daisy. Please keep searching … and sharing … the path less traveled . (((Easter hugs)))

  22. Hi Kathryn, thanks for the lovely tour. So many beautiful things that light up your heart.

  23. Hi, Joey! Thanks so much for the warm Easter greetings and the encouragement to keep on keeping on!
    Love, Kathryn xoxo

  24. Welcome, Blossom! It is true. The abundance of what is available to us is staggering when one thinks of it. Thanks for noticing. Kathryn xoxo

  25. thanks for the reminder to get myself up there for a visit this spring!! the roses are coming, the roses are coming!! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  26. Yes, the roses ARE coming, Linda! I can’t wait! Kathryn xoxo

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