Luther Burbank was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, on March 7, 1849. In California, his birthday is celebrated as Arbor Day and trees are planted in his memory. The famed horticulturist made his home in Santa Rosa for more than 50 years, and it was here that he conducted plant-breeding experiments that brought him world fame.
One of Burbank’s goals was to increase the world’s food supply by manipulating the characteristics of plants. Burbank developed an improved spineless cactus which could provide forage for livestock in desert regions. During his career, Burbank introduced more than 800 new varieties of plants — including over 200 varieties of fruits, many vegetables, nuts and grains, and hundreds of ornamental flowers.
Burbank was a friend of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and both men visited at the Burbank home. It was Burbank’s legacy that inspired Santa Rosa’s annual Rose Parade which celebrates Burbank’s memory and showcases the people and talents of the community.
On Burbank’s death in 1926 he was buried under the Cedar of Lebanon in his front yard. Luther Burbank Home & Gardens is located in downtown Santa Rosa, and has been named as a Registered National, State, City and Horticultural Historic Landmark.