The Gardens are an ever-evolving creation. Over the years we have made changes to the plantings and the hardscape. Our goal is to preserve and enhance our presentation of Luther Burbank’s achievements and methods.
Picket Fence Replacement: Spring 2015
The picket fence at the perimeter of the Gardens was put up in the 1950s. After several years of fundraising in the Gift Shop and the Dining with Daisies gala we were ready to work with the City of Santa Rosa to install a new fence.
Beginning January 20th workers from FenceCorpInc carefully removed pieces of the dilapidated old fence at the Tupper Street Entrance to the Garden. Because of the lead content in the paint they had to wear hazmat suits. The new posts went in February 19th, and the final gate was installed April 23rd.
Rose Arbor Replacement & Repair: 2014
Two of the four arbors in the rose garden were replaced in Fall 2014; the other two were repaired and repainted. Our thanks to Mendocino Wood Products for donating the lumber and to Mierzwak Woodworks for donating time and talent. Thanks also to Craig Roth, Ray Johnson and Gardener Volunteers for repairs and repainting. The arbors are a prime photography spot and the new arbors do justice to our roses.
Cactus Bed Conversion: February 2013
For many years we had two cactus patches here in the Gardens. The large circular patch has been here since at least the 1960s and possibly the 1930s. The smaller one near the east fence was set up in the early 1990s to demonstrate how to start new plants from harvested pads. This patch grew with enthusiasm, but when it was fully grown it no longer served its original purpose.
The smaller patch was removed to make room for gladioli. Some of the pads were rooted for plant sales. This bed was one of the last demonstration beds to be reframed.
Arborist Day: June 23, 2012
It didn’t happen on Arbor Day, but Saturday, June 23 was an exciting day for trees at Luther Burbank Home & Gardens. It was lots of fun to watch Arborists Fred Frey, Chad Brey and Benjamin Kent and their crew of Silviero Medrano, Delfino Tafolla and Jose Morales tackle overgrown branches in trees big and small.
When good Arborists do their work as well as these fellows did, you know “something looks a lot better” but you are not sure exactly what — unless you were there to see them strap themselves for safety and scramble up the trunks of the Paradox Walnut, the Copper Beech and other significant greenery to remove dead or overhanging branches and prune for better form.
Rachel Spaeth and various Garden Volunteers helped by keeping onlookers out of the way and raking, raking, raking . . . and then Rachel spread their 25 wheelbarrow-loads of chips under the Copper Beech the following day! Wow.
The accompanying photos will give you some idea of the work the Arborists and crew did — all graciously contributed to LBH&G — in four busy hours. This kind of help from community supporters with talent is what keeps us going in the never-ending maintenance of our historic site, and we greatly appreciate it!
Fruit Tree Restoration Project: 2012
Our Fruit Tree Restoration Project is intended to improve and extend our display of fruit trees developed by Luther Burbank. His first major accomplishment in California was the propagation of 20,000 prune trees, and he spent considerable effort over the years to improve the flavor and yield of many different fruits.
We planted five semi-dwarf fruit trees in the new Orchard: ‘Wickson’ plum, ‘Burbank’ plum, ‘Santa Rosa’ plum, ‘Wenatchee Washington’ apricot and ‘Spring Satin’ plumcot. Luther Burbank developed these plums. The apricot is an example of the fruit trees he used for crossing with plums and the plumcot is a stand-in for his successful crosses.
This Orchard complements the Edible Garden and will remain a highlight of the Garden tour for visitors and school groups.
The Fruit Tree Restoration Project was funded in part by proceeds from Clark Wolf’s Farm Forums, John Lyle’s Chosen Spot pop-up dinners and the Questers.
Demo Bed Replacement: 2009 – 2015
The Demonstration Beds in the Gardens are based on Luther Burbank’s own original beds. In the early 1990s, the Gardens received a major renovation and the current Demo Beds were put in place then. Time and weather have necessitated the replacement of the wooden supports. With generous donations from Mrs. Meriko Watanabe and the Donaldson Charitable Trust, we worked on this project as weather and schedules allow.
In 2015, we finished this project! In addition to replacing all the demo beds, the grants also covered repairs to the common fence along the east side of the property. As a final touch, the donor approved using the remaining funds to remove two planter boxes under the kiwi arbor and replace them with new trellis supports.