In 1964 the twenty five acres that now comprises Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen, CA was then a fire ravaged piece of the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains with almost everything burnt to the ground. Rather quickly as nature would have it, knobcone pine seedlings and shoots of charred madrones found their way through the ash covered rocky soil to gradually create a nearly impenetrable thicket of these native trees.
Jane Davenport Jensen bought forty acres of this stretch of land in 1968 and planted vineyards on twenty acres of the valley floor and nineteen years later in 1987 she began to create a garden on the remaining twenty acres of steep hillsides above the vineyards. The land had the remains of several abandoned quarries that eventually became the foundation for a group of ponds and waterfalls and inspired the gardens name Quarryhill.
A nursery was established, and in 1990 Jane began funding fifteen expeditions to Asia over the following ten years for the purpose of gathering seed and seedlings to be planted at Quarryhill. She worked passionately at this project until her death in 2000.
The main focus of the garden is to maintain rare and endangered species from China and Japan. Currently, Quarryhill has the largest collections of Asian plants in North America and Europe. Large numbers of maples, dogwoods, oaks, magnolias, lilies and roses are also represented.
Quarryhill is presently a world -renowned botanical institution that provides other botanical gardens, researchers, conservationists, students and the public living examples of beautiful and endangered temperate plants from East Asia.
The garden continues to provide me with inspiration for my paintings as the example in the image, and is one of my favorite places to visit in all seasons.