Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

Volunteer Extraordinaire – Jerry Thoman

By Claudia Silkey I was happy to have my spirits lifted by our first sunny, rain-free days—preceded by ‘torrential rains!’  I headed out for LBH&G to interview Gardener, Jerry Thoman.  Jerry is being honored as our Volunteer Extraordinaire for April. I arrived at The Carriage House to prepare for our interview.  I had never met Jerry, but I saw a man planting a new rose; I thought that had to be him and It was. (That rose is a climber, called “Joseph’s Coat.” It will head up and over one of our lovely arbors.)  Jerry was born in Stockton; however,...

Kiwi fruit on vine

99 Gallons of Kiwi & Other Fun Facts

We have 123 Volunteers who contributed 15,058 hours at an economic value of $438,037.22 .We gave 31 Children’s Tours to 1033 students and 21 Group Tours to 616 adults. The majority of the student groups were third graders studying local history.We created the Garden Bed Sponsorship program which brought in  $7,970 and provided focused attention for twelve beds including groundcover and new roses for the Rose Garden, mulch and tomato cages for the Dahlia Bed and new plants in the Alstromeria bed, the Sensory Garden and the Calla bed.We hosted several events this year. Melissa Etcheverry, an SSU student, created...

Rose Arbor with 'Fourth of July' Rose

Garden Bed Sponsorships 2018

This time last year we created a new program – Garden Bed Sponsorships – and asked local businesses and individuals if they’d like to sponsor a specific garden bed for the year. We are very grateful to the following businesses and neighbors who took us up on the offer.  With their help, we have: completed the first round of plant replacements in the Rose Garden (plants, like people. eventually grow old) cleaned up and replanted the bed just outside the Tupper St gate (extra thanks to the women from Bank of Marin who contributed “sweat-equity” on this project) mulched and...

Arbor Day 2019

The morning of March 7, Luther Burbank’s birthday/Arbor Day was lovely! Well, the weather could have been sunny, but not a drop of rain fell to dampen the celebration. The new ‘Santa Rosa’ Plum tree sported white blossoms and suited its new home in the former fountain site near the Tupper Street gate. The remarks to the gathering were welcoming and brief, before Rachel Spaeth invited the guests who wished to plant little Shasta daisy plants to grab some gloves and a trowel to randomly plant them to surround the tree. They will spread out and be beautiful. I didn’t...

Multi-Grafted Mania

Multi-Grafted Mania

Meandering around the Gardens in late March and Early April results in finding hidden treasures if you know how to look for them. This is the time when some of the more intriguing experiments on the property show their colors. If you wander by the demonstration bed with the story about the 20,000 prune trees and look closely, you’ll see that some of the almond rootstocks have been multi-grafted. One of these little trees has a peach, a pluot, and an almond all flowering at the same time! Hopefully we’ll get to see some very different fruit forming on each...

Photo of Thomas Edison, Luther Burbank & Henry Ford

Burbank & Famous Friends

Luther Burbank became an internationally known celebrity during his lifetime. Many famous people made the journey to small-town Santa Rosa to visit the plant breeder and view his experiments. The guestbook records visits from the East Coast, Europe, Australia and Mongolia among many others. Read about some of Luther’s most well-known visitors.

Luther Burbank’s Birthday Un-Party

Luther Burbank would be 167 years old this year! Rather than throw him a party, we’re throwing him an un-party! UPDATE: March 8th. Thanks to your generosity, we’ve raised over $1000!  

Rachel's Fruit Salad Tree

’Tis the Season to Graft Your Fruit Trees!

Greetings all! I’m sure most of you are familiar with the story of the 20,000 prune trees Mr. Burbank delivered to Warren Dutton in 1881, earning Burbank the nickname of “The Plant Wizard.” To accomplish this task, Mr. Burbank used a technique known as June Budding, where individual buds of one plant are spliced onto the stem of another plant. They call it “June” budding because often this process is accomplished when the rootstock of the plant is actively growing. This time of year, when plants are dormant, we use a different grafting technique that involves a rootstock and a...

Multi-Grafted Apple Tree

Luther Burbank was an avid grafter. He grafted everything from fruit and nut trees to tomatoes and potatoes. One of the advantages to grafting is to reduce the time until a tree fruits by 2-7 years!!! In most cases, new grafts will fruit in less than two seasons, and in some exceptional cases, fruit will bear on the same season that the graft was made. His most popular contribution to grafting was the 20,000 prune trees where he used the technique of “June Budding” to deliver a seemingly impossible order to a local businessman (Mr. Dutton) within one season, earning...

Stark Bros Burbank Gardens sign

Burbank’s Will & Plant Legacy

A writer is working on a book about Stark Bro’s Nurseries for its 200th anniversary. She seemed to be of the impression that Burbank “willed” his plant creations to Stark. In fact, Burbank’s will left everything to his wife and named her executrix. There was no mention of property or plants at all. We have no documentation that indicates that Burbank chose Stark to carry on his legacy. Some published material has quoted Mrs. Burbank as stating that her husband designated no successor. Initially, U.C. Berkeley and Stanford were interested in acquiring the Burbank property (Sebastopol at a minimum) to...