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“Horticulture not Viticulture”

Quarryhill Botanical Garden
Ranked #8 of 29 things to do in Glen Ellen
Attraction details
Walnut Creek, California
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Horticulture not Viticulture”
Reviewed July 26, 2012

Sonoma has a lot more than wine - and this is definitely one of them. Located in the Valley of the Moon, near the home of Jack London, Quarryhill is a quiet and calming site. Located on 22 acres in the Mayacamas foothills, meandering trails take you through lush plantings of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers the average visitor will never see anywhere else - in the world. The reason is the focus on one of the largest collections of wild-source Asian plants in North America.
The vision of Jane Jansen, it was begun 25 years ago in former quarries. There are ponds, paths, views, many surprise vistas, and plants, an abundance plants. A huge number of them are species so rare it's probable that even a visit to Sichuan, China wouldn't provide a look at the specimen. Paths cross through maples strange and wonderful;, unusual dogwoods, Paulownia (renowned in Asia and used in furniture as well as the Tokugawa family crest), a deciduous redwood thought to be extinct and with needles as soft as silk, and other horticultural wonders.
This is a stroll, perfect for a laid-back wandering. Be certain to follow the small paths through areas - finding unexpected bridges, a fieldstone planter for a special peony, or a bench tucked behind the lotus pond.The children might be bored,but it's perfect for a stroll away from the tourist crush and tour buses.
Bonus: during its 25 year anniversary in 2012, admission is free on the 25th of each month!

Visited July 2012
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2 Thank KDrellich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Enterprise, FL
Level Contributor
74 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Secluded, serene, special!”
Reviewed June 21, 2012

We love botanical gardens, particulary in places where we can see things that we can't grow in our climate. As we learned, if you can't grow it in northern California, you probably can't grow it anywhere. Quarryhill sits quietly off the road with lovely trails that wander the hills filled with plants that showcase its mission "to advance the conservation, study, and cultivation of the Flora of Asia". We didn't take a docent tour which is probably a good recommendation to better appreciate the vast layout. How vast? Consider that while we were there a bus tour was also in the garden and I don't think we saw but a handful of others outside the parking lot. The seclusion is possitively Edenesque. Indeed I was tempted to disrobe on the warm and sunny day of our visit. This is a place where one could be completely at home in the nude. I have even recommended to the garden that they feature clothing-optional times; we'll see. On the top of one rise there is large pergola and a rustic stone wall where you can rest a bit before moving on. But you won't feel like rushing even when you realize how much ground there is to cover. Be sure to see the water features and lily pond before you call it a day.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank M102Enterprise_FL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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