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Private Lives: the American Domestic Landscape

April 12, 2012 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Golden Gate Club: San Francisco, CA



Post-seminar information:
To share the Private Lives seminar’s wealth of information more broadly, we are attaching (below) the final program for the day.

Further materials will be added as available.


Seminar program and notes



A seminar (Thursday, April 12) and study tour (Friday, April 13) on the history and design of personal gardens and their agricultural roots, for all garden enthusiasts and professionals

Seminar (click for details)

Thursday, April 12, 2012
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Golden Gate Club, The Presidio, San Francisco



Garden study tour (click for details)
Friday, April 13, 2012
8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Live-In Gardens in the North Bay, travel by bus



Gardens are said to reflect the spirit of a nation, the tenor of its time.

One of the strengths of American gardening these days is a willingness to experiment...
While the breaking of this new ground has been exhilarating, we need to remain mindful of the lessons and inspirations provided by treasures of the past.

- Francis H. Cabot, founder of the Garden Conservancy

Private Lives
is produced with support from the Garden Conservancy’s George W. Rowe Education Fund and cosponsored by Pacific Horticulture, Timber Press, Flora Grubb Gardens, and the Northern California Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects





Seminar topics include:

American Eden Thomas Jefferson's MonticelloAgricultural Estates in CaliforniaSmall Lot Home Gardens Integrated Urban Landscapes


This seminar brings together a panel of historians, horticulturists, garden designers, and landscape architects to discuss the origin and evolution of the American personal garden from the eighteenth-century large-scale plantation to today’s small-scale private yard. It will also explore new thinking on the design of gardens, agricultural estates, and urban and suburban landscapes that include agriculture.


Seminar program

Click on links below (underlined in green) to jump to speaker bios and abstracts.

American Eden: Gardens, Nature, and National Identity

Sustaining Estate Gardens: from Ancient Rome to Contemporary California

Wade Graham, landscape historian/garden designer, Los Angeles


Thomas Jefferson, Gardener

Peter J. Hatch, director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, Charlottesville, VA


Gardening at Home: small lot gardens

Christopher Grampp, landscape architect/department chair and instructor in landscape design, Merritt College, Oakland


The Front Yard Revolution

Ivette Soler, garden writer and designer, Los Angeles



The Observatory Garden at Stone Edge Farm: refuge within a working farm

Andrea Cochran, FASLA, landscape architect, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, San Francisco


The Artisans at Stone Edge Farm: field-to-table explorations

Colby Eierman, horticulturist, Stone Edge Farm, Sonoma


Agriculture and Conservation in the Designed Landscape

Thomas Woltz, FASLA, landscape architect, owner, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Charlottesville, VA


Community Design and the Integral Farm

Joe Runco, landscape architect, managing principal in SWA’s Sausalito office


Discussion Moderator

Lorene Edwards Forkner, new editor of Pacific Horticulture, Seattle



Garden Conservancy members $135 (seminar only)

Pacific Horticulture subscribers $145

General admission $155

Call 415.441.4300 for student price


Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) members qualify for 5.5 CEU units for the seminar and 2.5 CEU units for the tour.


Update, Monday afternoon, April 9

Both the seminar on Thursday, April 12, and the tour on Friday, April 13, are


C O M P L E T E L Y   S O L D   O U T .


We regret that we are not able to accept further additions to the waiting list.


Seminar fee includes morning refreshments and buffet lunch.

Garden study tour fee includes travel by bus, morning and afternoon refreshments and buffet lunch. Seating is limited for the tour.


Seminar logistics

Thursday, April 12

9 a.m. 5 p.m.

The Golden Gate Club

135 Fisher Loop

The Presidio, San Francisco


Doors open for registration check-in at 8:30 a.m.

Talks begin promptly at 9 a.m.


Click here for directions.


Garden study tour logistics

Friday, April 13

8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Live-In Gardens in the North Bay (Sonoma and Marin), travel by bus. Tour description.

Bus will depart from the Presidio and make a second stop to pick up participants in Marin County.

Seating is limited. Priority will be given to registrants who wish to attend both the seminar and the tour.


For more information

Please call the Garden Conservancy in San Francisco at 415.441.4300



wade-grahamWade Graham  landscape historian/garden designer, Los Angeles
American Eden: Gardens, Nature, and National Identity

Sustaining Estate Gardens: from Ancient Rome to Contemporary California


American Eden: Gardens, Nature, and National Identity

Wade Graham will explore what four hundred years of garden making in America reveal about our values, politics, and dreams, and how our evolving relationship with nature in our gardens forms a unique window onto the continuing process of fashioning a national identity. Gardens to be discussed include Monticello, Central Park, R.M. Schinder and Richard Neutra's houses, Thomas Church's Donnell garden, Martha Stewart's Turkey Hill, and the High Line in New York City.

Sustaining Estate Gardens: from Ancient Rome to Contemporary California

Designers of large estate gardens have attempted to integrate agriculture and high aesthetics since classical Roman times. Renaissance gardens built on those forms and aspirations, providing templates for our own more modern, and occasionally more modest, examples. Gardens discussed include Hadrian’s Villa, Versailles, Mount Vernon, the White House, and several twenty-first-century California estates.


Bio: Wade Graham is a landscape designer, historian, and writer based in Los Angeles. He is the author of a social history of gardens in America, American Eden: From Monticello to Central Park to our Back Yards, What Our Gardens Tell Us About Who We Are and has written on the environment, landscape, urbanism, and the arts for the New Yorker, Harper’s, Los Angeles Times, Outside, and other publications. He holds a Ph.D. in American history and teaches urban and environmental policy at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. Since 1999, he has been a trustee of Glen Canyon Institute, a Colorado River restoration group based in Salt Lake City, Utah. He worked in the office of Nancy Goslee Power, Santa Monica, before establishing his own studio.


About his book: American Eden: From Monticello to Central Park to Our Backyards, What Our Gardens Tell Us About Who We Are by Wade Graham (HarperCollins, 2011). This social history of gardens in America is an expansive and penetrating exploration of how our evolving relationship with our gardens and landscapes has reflected our national identity over the course of time.

peterhatch_photo_by_robertllewellyn_web167x175Peter J. Hatch, director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Charlottesville, VA
Thomas Jefferson, Gardener


Abstract: Peter’s talk will explore the themes that defined Jefferson’s enthusiasm for the “powers of the earth.” Monticello was an experimental garden laboratory, an Ellis Island of new and unusual plants, where Jefferson documented the planting of 330 varieties of vegetables and 170 kinds of fruit. Declaring that “the greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture,” Jefferson himself was a seed missionary as he exchanged the latest horticultural novelties with the most renowned plantsmen of the day. Plants were not just a vehicle for social change, but a means of relating to friends, family, and political allies. The union of gardening and sociability is expressed throughout Jefferson’s correspondence. Jefferson also promoted native species as a means of refuting European theories about the inferiority of the natural products of the New World, and considered “the art of designing grounds by fancy” as among the seven fine arts. The lecture will highlight the genius of Jefferson’s revolutionary garden, Monticello’s 1,000-foot-long vegetable terrace, and the personal garden after his retirement from public life.


Bio: Peter Hatch, director of gardens and grounds, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, has been responsible for the maintenance, interpretation, and restoration of the 2,400-acre landscape at Monticello since 1977. His restoration projects have included the eight-acre Vegetable and Fruit Garden and the Grove, an ornamental forest of eighteen acres. In 1987 Peter initiated the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, a unique nursery to preserve historic and Jefferson-related garden plants. He was project manager for the Thomas Jefferson Parkway, a $7 million federally and privately funded highway project to create a park along the entrance corridor to Monticello, and for Saunders Bridge, a stone-arch bridge that now serves as the new entrance to Monticello. He has served as an informal consultant and source of plants for Michelle Obama’s White House Kitchen Garden, which has a discrete section honoring the garden legacy of Thomas Jefferson.


Books by Peter Hatch: He is the author of The Gardens of Monticello and the editor of Thomas Jefferson's Flower Garden at Monticello (University Press of Virginia). His scholarly study of early American pomology, The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson and the Origins of American Horticulture, was published by the University of Virginia Press in 1999. Peter’s new book on the Monticello vegetable garden of Jefferson’s retirement years, A Rich Spot of EarthThomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden, will be published by Yale University Press this spring.


For a short preview, listen to a short five-minute video clip by Peter Hatch on Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden.


chris grampp_web150x177Christopher Grampp, landscape architect/department chair and instructor in landscape design, Merritt College, Oakland
Gardening at Home: small lot gardens


Abstract: Several historical events over the past 150 years help explain the emergence of the American home garden. One was the country’s change from an agricultural to an industrial economy, fostering the emergence of an urban middle-class and the spread of single-family homes and yards. Another was the development of municipal services—running water, sewage systems, trash collection—utilities that had previously occupied plenty of space in back yards. A third was the rapid growth of suburbia following World War Two, which moved millions of Americans to spacious homes with grounds ripe for development as pleasure gardens and outdoor family rooms.


Bio: Chris Grampp is a registered landscape architect in California, where he has practiced since 1984. He has taught landscape architectural design at Diablo Valley College, the University of California, Berkeley, and since 1986 in the Department of Landscape Horticulture at Merritt College in Oakland, California, where he is currently department chair. His writings about the social and cultural meanings of residential gardens have appeared in Landscape magazine and in The Meanings of Gardens. He is the author of From Yard to Garden: The Domestication of America’s Home Grounds (The Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, 2008).


About his book: In From Yard to Garden, "Christopher Grampp ably walks us through that most ubiquitous but overlooked of spaces in the American landscape—the middle-class yard. From the muddy lots of the Industrial Revolution, strewn with privies, ash barrels, and hanging laundry, to the outdoor rooms of sunny California, where sanctuary from digital-age stresses trumps horticultural pursuits, this fascinating study reveals the evolving relationship between homeowner and home grounds. Grampp takes a long hard look at the American yard, and what he sees is us." - Book jacket quote from Logan Ward, author of See You in a Hundred Years: Four Seasons in Forgotten America.

ivettesoler_web150x204Ivette Soler, garden writer and designer, Los Angeles

The Front Yard Revolution


Abstract: The growing of food has taken the garden world by storm—again. Not since the 1970's have we seen such an interest in growing edibles. The difference now is in how the average homeowner is thinking about integrating vegetables, fruits, and herbs into home gardens. We have become a design-obsessed society and it is no longer enough to plant out crops in little rows or tiny plots. We want our edible gardens to be just as beautifully designed as any outdoor space that focuses on ornamental plantings, and these multi-functioning gardens need to be sustainable and fit into our busy lifestyles as well. Ivette Soler, the author of The Edible Front Yard, shows us how to focus on the ornamental aspects of food crops, how to select the appropriate hardscape to support an edible garden, and how to use non-edible plants as a backbone to help carry these special gardens through the seasons. Learn how to make your urban farm look fabulous!

Bio: Ivette Soler is a garden designer and writer living in Los Angeles, California. Her plant design work for Elysian Landscapes and her own personal garden have appeared in magazines, such as Metropolitan Home, Sunset, and House & Garden, as well as in several books. Ivette’s garden writing has also been featured in Garden Design, Cottage Living, and Budget Living, and she was the resident gardening expert on NBC’s Bonnie Hunt Show. Her popular gardening blog, The Germinatrix, originated in 2006 as part of Domino magazine; since 2009, Ivette’s blog has been thriving independently. Ivette is the author of The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden (Timber Press, 2011), which Publisher's Weekly described as "an enticing introduction to growing food beautifully."


About her book: In The Edible Front Yard, Ivette tells us how to put the fruits of our labors front and center! With plentiful sun, open space, and an audience of appreciative passersby, the front yard has all the ingredients for a beautiful, well-designed, and bountiful garden.



acochran_headshot-web216x281Andrea Cochran, FASLA, landscape Architect, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, San Francisco

The Observatory Garden at Stone Edge Farm: refuge within a working farm


Abstract: Stone Edge Farm represents the owners’ interests in agriculture, science, and art. Originally developed as a weekend retreat, the property has grown to a 14.5-acre working farm that supplies local restaurants with organic produce and crafts, artisanal wines and olive oil.


Owners Leslie and Mac McQuown worked with landscape designer Roger Warner and local artisans to realize their vision for the landscape. In 2001, seeking to create a refuge from the bustling working farm, the couple purchased an additional 3.5-acre parcel. The owners hired Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, known for its minimal design aesthetic, to create a retreat for pursuing quieter interests such as star gazing and meditation. The resulting landscape articulates the couple’s passion for art, while integrating the Sonoma County native landscape and California's history of technological innovation.


Andrea's work at Stone Edge Farm was featured in the March 2012 issue of Garden Design magazine.


An editorial comment: In visiting Stone Edge Farm recently, I was struck by the concept of scale. This beautiful property sits on the flats in the middle of a beautiful valley and is surrounded by framed and articulated views of the inner coastal mountains. The genius in Andrea’s design is how she has captured the distant views, pulled them into the gardens and tricked you in to believing you are in an enormous space. I loved the surprise.  - Betsy Flack, Garden Conservancy program coordinator 


Bio: Andrea Cochran has been practicing landscape architecture in the San Francisco Bay area for over twenty-five years. She is a member of the Garden Conservancy’s West Coast Council. Andrea graduated from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and worked on the East Coast and in Europe before moving to California in 1981. After working in collaborative partnerships for over ten years, she established Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture in 1998. In 2007, Andrea was inducted as a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. She has been a finalist in Landscape Architecture for the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards in 2006, 2009, and 2010. Her work has earned numerous awards, most recently an ASLA Honor Award in General Design for the Nueva School. A monograph of her work was published by Princeton Architectural Press in May 2009. Andrea Cochran is the landscape architect and designer for the Observatory Garden and other sculptural gardens at Stone Edge Farm in Sonoma. In 2009 Andrea Cochran won an American Society of landscape Architecture Professional Design Award in residential design for her project at Stone Edge Farm.


colblyeierman_web168x163Colby Eierman, horticulturist, Stone Edge Farm, Sonoma
The Artisans at Stone Edge Farm: field-to-table explorations

Abstract: Stone Edge Farm is a diverse and modern estate on seventeen acres just west of the town of Sonoma. Known for its stunning architecture and landscape design, the farm grows a tapestry of certified organic crops including wine grapes (for its own label Cabernet Sauvignon), olives, honey, vegetables, and fruits (for sale to local restaurants and use on site). Stone Edge Farm is passionate about creating a landscape that reflects the owners’ love of wine and food and the understanding that wine and food are two components of the same ecosystem. Through many collaborations, the property has evolved and grown over the past fifteen years into a unique and productive landscape married to its broader social and biological community.


Bio: Colby Eierman is a horticulturist at Stone Edge Farm, Sonoma and author of Fruit Trees in Small Spaces: Abundant Harvests from Your Own Backyard (Timber Press, 2012). His firm, Eierman Consulting & Design, is located in Napa Valley and specializes in sustainable food production. It plans and executes projects from large master plans to home-scale edible landscapes. His work has been featured on television and in print, including in the San Francisco Chronicle, National Geographic Traveler, and Organic Gardening magazine. Colby holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in ecological horticulture from UC Santa Cruz. He has served as director of sustainable agriculture for Benziger Family Winery in Sonoma and as director of gardens for COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts in Napa. Colby has years of experience working with restaurants, wineries, and individuals to create landscapes that are both beautiful and productive (including the Tasting Room Garden at Medlock Ames in Healdsburg).



thomaswoltz_web150x170 Thomas Woltz, FASLA, landscape architect, owner, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Charlottesville, VA;
designer for Medlock Ames Tasting Room Garden and Medlock Ames Vineyard and Gardens, Healdsburg

Agriculture and Conservation in the Designed Landscape 


Abstract: In the work of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the private garden and, at the larger scale, the private estate, have become rich experimental ground for developing best management practices for wildlife conservation in the midst of productive agricultural landscapes. Projects like the Medlock Ames Tasting Room in the Alexander Valley and the Stewardship Master Plan for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s Monticello use rigorous design strategies to communicate publicly the values of the organization and its owners or founders. Landscape architecture serves as the mediator between conservation biology, horticulture, and farming. Examples will range from small raised garden beds in urban settings to large scale private farms demonstrating improved biodiversity and land health as the common thread.


Bio: Thomas Woltz is a principal and co-owner of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW), a 30-person design practice with offices in New York City and Charlottesville, VA. He holds masters degrees in Architecture and Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia where he taught part-time for 14 years. NBW has designed a broad array of public and private projects including parks, botanic gardens and zoos, academic and corporate campuses, and town planning. Thomas recently developed the Conservation Agriculture Studio around a family of projects that employ the sensibilities of contemporary landscape architecture to integrate sustainable agriculture with best management practices for conservation of wildlife and natural resources.


NBW leads the design team for the tasting room garden, the vineyard, and other gardens at Medlock Ames Vineyard, Healdsburg. They are also working with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation to develop a regional master plan for farm and agricultural preservation.


Firm philosophy: The work of NBW expresses the firm’s values of ecological stewardship through both narrative and constructed places. These constructions (wetlands, gardens, habitats for threatened animals, stormwater management systems, and agricultural infrastructure) perform critical ecological functions in a designed landscape that reveals the process of construction rather than masking it through naturalization. Both the construction and the narrative seek to connect people to the places they live as a way to inspire greater stewardship.


joe-runco-bio-photo_web150x185Joe Runco, landscape architect, managing principal in SWA’s Sausalito office

Community Design and the Integral Farm


Abstract: Challenging conventional practices of farmland preservation and suburban development, Joe’s talk will explore current efforts to design holistic, walkable communities that integrate agriculture with mixed-use development. In this approach, often referred to as “agricultural urbanism,” food-producing landscapes are carefully fitted into the community open space system—preserving productivity, increasing land value, and encouraging residents to become stakeholders in the success of the community’s agriculture.

Around the world, preserving both natural resources and productive agricultural lands is a growing concern in the face of expanding urban regions. Even far-sighted planning approaches tend to identify, then conserve, agricultural lands in isolation from development. In many cases, there is a middle ground that can integrate farms and gardens with the very communities that rely on their productivity. Additionally, changes in amenity/open space preferences by homebuyers have shifted substantially in the last several decades, preferring natural open space, hiking trails, gardens, and farms to golf courses, manicured parks, and developed facilities. These preferences translate into raised property values for homes and businesses with views and connection to productive landscapes. There are challenges, of course, including nuisance issues, trespass, and an often very different aesthetic associated with normal seasonal changes and activities of agricultural practices. The benefits, however, are many: food security, connection to our land and food, beautiful landscapes, and community as garden.

Bio: Joe Runco has been a managing principal in SWA Group’s Sausalito office since 2000. A landscape architect and community planner since 1978, Joe directs large-scale community planning and designs projects that balance development desires with existing natural systems. These projects focus on the interface between urban development and open lands, emphasizing the integration and protection of agricultural and natural systems into projects—a key factor, in the long-term sustainability of communities. His recent projects include planning for Angwin Ecovillage, a sustainable community in Napa County, California, that will create a compact, mixed use village incorporating solar and geothermal energy, water reclamation, local food production and transit and affordable housing opportunities while revitalizing the 100-year old Pacific Union College; Mountain House New Town in the San Joaquin Valley, a mixed use community of 46,000 people with all services, amenities, and jobs ultimately provided within the project; and the Stockton Preserve, a high density new community with sustainable designs that integrate local food production, reduced and reclaimed water use, wetlands creation, multi-modal transit options and careful balancing of jobs and housing.


Joe earned a Master of Landscape Architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design in 1981, and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Oregon State University in 1978. 



loreneedwardsforkner224_web252x312Lorene Edwards Forkner, new editor of Pacific Horticulture, Seattle
Afternoon Discussion Moderator


Lorene Edwards Forkner in the new editor of Pacific Horticulture, a quarterly publication dedicated to exploring the art and science of West Coast horticulture, as well as an author, speaker, and avid gardener/cook who revels in the broad scope of gardening life in the Pacific Northwest affords.  Lorene is the author of Handmade Garden Projects, Step-by-Step Instructions for Creative Garden Features, Containers, Lighting & More, (Timber Press, 2011) and co-author of three previous titles including Hortus Miscellaneous, A Gardener’s Hodgepodge of Information & Instruction, with Linda Plato (Sasquatch Books, 2007). Lorene blogs about gardens and the stories behind them at




March 21 update: We are still accepting online registrations for the April 12 seminar, but the April 13 tour is now SOLD OUT.


Live-In Gardens: horticultural gems in the North Bay

Trust us that this will be a very full and very special day. You will travel comfortably by bus and we promise to feed you well. Seating is limited and priority will be given to seminar registrants. We will depart from the Presidio at 8 a.m. and make one or two stops to pick up other passengers en route to our first garden in Sonoma Valley.


After our visit to Stone Edge Farm, we will visit several other significant historic and current gardens that relate to topics discussed at Thursday’s Private Lives seminar and return to the Presidio by 6:30 p.m. The fee includes morning and afternoon refreshments, buffet lunch, and the bus.

stone-edge-1After a full hour drive, our first destination is Stone Edge Farm, a small private winery nestled against the foothills of Sonoma Mountain on the western edge of Sonoma Valley. Stone Edge is dedicated to creating wine from holistically farmed, organic vineyards that encourage biodiversity and natural balance. Pairing wine with seasonal foods is the heart of their field-to-table explorations. The farm produces a select quantity of olive oil and heirloom vegetables, all sustainably grown and cultivated for flavor. Culinary director John McReynolds, horticulturist Colby Eierman, and landscape architect Sarah Keizer from Andrea Cochran’s office will guide us through the property’s varied gardens.


While countless artisans have contributed to the beauty of Stone Edge Farm, the owners’ overarching aesthetic vision has informed the property's architecture and sculptural landscape, with its outdoor rooms, inviting courtyards, and art. Not unlike Thomas Jefferson, the owners have had a lifelong willingness to experiment and to bring together craftspeople and innovators in all their business endeavours, knowing that a shared vision yields the most interesting and successful results. Andrea Cochran, one of our speakers at Thursday’s seminar, is the landscape architect and designer for the Observatory Garden and other sculptural gardens at Stone Edge Farm.


At the end of our visit and as an aperitif before lunch, we will do a little “pairing” with wine and you will have an opportunity to purchase Stone Edge Farm cabernets and delicious olive oil.


plumstone_water_tower_web288x384Plumstone House and Garden, Sonoma

We will then drive about fifteen minutes to Plumstone House and Garden, a historic property to the east of Sonoma, where we are invited to ramble about the property at our leisure and to eat our picnic lunch. The house and barns of this1850s farm will make you feel as if you are visiting your favorite grandmother’s where you had the run of the place.


The original property was a 60-acre land grant from General Vallejo to William Stephen Shaw, who painted portraits of the General and members of his family. (He also painted portraits of the Big Four—Stanford, Crocker, Huntington, and Hopkins). Plumstone has had seven owners over 162 years. The nineteenth-century house is constructed of cement seeded with an aggregate of pink rock and other stones of all sizes. Age has exposed the aggregate, especially on the outer walls of the fascinating old water tower. The barn, caretaker cottage and garages were added in 1948.


April bloom in this rustic family garden includes peony, lilac, dogwood, euphorbia, wisteria, and, if it has been warm enough, philadelphus and clematis. Its seventh owners have inherited wonderful trees and shrubs, including a delightful quince hedge. Since 1976, the garden has grown according to the whims of Mrs. Mundell, with the invaluable help of gardener David Shepherd. Everybody loves being in this garden, which our gardening hostess says “no doubt shows the absence of any architect or designer and struggles along with a minimum of maintenance.” She welcomes us to enjoy a relaxing time over lunch.


tanner-garden1_web288x216Another 20 minute drive will take us to the Tanner Garden: an acre in town, Napa!

Sabrina and Freeland Tanner, owners of Proscape Landscape Design in Napa, have been designing and building private estate and winery gardens since 1995. Their personal garden is a private one-acre botanical garden, containing over 700 varieties of plants that luxuriate in Northern California’s climate. The property contains several buildings including their house at the rear of the garden and a garden cottage close to the street. The rest of this urban acre is crammed full of plants and wonderful, distracting artistic stuff, and has been featured in national and regional garden magazines, as well as book publications from 1996 to 2011


The garden's arbors, gazebo, lily pond, organic fruit orchard, and vegetable and cut-flower gardens aptly illustrate an artistic design that emphasizes year-round interest using plant foliage color and texture, as well as plant structure and form. Freeland Tanner has incorporated his own custom-built birdhouses, obelisks, and whimsical garden art pieces as part of the whole visual and tangible experience.


In 2005, Freeland renovated his modest childhood home, now called Blue Jay Cottage, to resemble an Arts and Crafts bungalow complete with its distinctive wood trim and cedar shake siding. Sabrina’s vision of the interior has created an inviting and calming retreat with many botanical artistic surprises. Blue Jay Cottage’s garden is a mixed planting border surrounding a raised stone vegetable garden, with axial views from the front door and entry porch to an arbor with a place to sit and relax.


The Tanner garden was featured in Fine Gardening magazine in February 2011.


Back in the bus for an hour snooze as we retreat down the road from Napa to Marin County and our final destination—a historic garden that has been wondrously loved and cared for by several generations of its family for over one hundred years. This lovely garden is a unique example of private conservation of an important cultural landscape, and a fitting conclusion to two days of exploring the American Domestic Landscape.


6:30 p.m. – Back to the Presidio. Be careful not to plan any hot dates before 8 p.m.!


For information on registering for the tour, click here.





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Northern California Chapter