Without plants, there would be no oxygen and nothing to prevent bunnies from discovering that humans taste delicious. Protect your alluring assets with today's Groupon: for $30, you get a one-year family membership to Quarryhill Botanical Garden (a $60 value) in Glen Ellen.
For nearly 25 years, Quarryhill director Bill McNamara has made regular excursions into Asia's temperate regions to build a collection of untamed flora that blankets 25 acres in the Mayacamas Mountain foothills. Members get free admission to the Quarryhill Botanical Garden, where they can take self-led garden tours year-round and docent-led tours depending on monthly and seasonal availability. Amid panoramic views of Sonoma, traipse past maples, magnolias, dogwoods, lilies, and roses, which provide an easier way to commune with nature than catching an unwilling squirrel so you can whisper to it.
Other member benefits include a subscription to the Quarryhill Quarterly Newsletter and free access to more than 270 gardens in North America through the American Horticultural Society's Reciprocal Admissions Program. Quarryhill members also get discounts on events and workshops and 10% off at a list of participating local nurseries.
Instead of annual plantings and prunings, Quarryhill allows nature to steward its woodland garden with photosynthetic farming and cosmic clippers. Visitors can take in undomesticated greenery along natural paths that wind through woods and meadows, romancing eyes with ethereal scenes and gurgling waterfalls.
- What a hidden gem. Loads of lotuses floating on quiet ponds filled with little fish. Charming cute bridges. Lots of trees from China and Japan. – Lorissa W., Yelp, 8/22/09
- view was gorgeous and the overall place was quiet and very relaxing. Right off Sonoma hwy so you can enjoy a nice glass of wine from one of the wineries afterwards. – Sunita S., Yelp, 5/29/10
Quarryhill Botanical Garden
A fire swept through the Mayacamas Mountains foothills in 1964, creating an environment ripe for the knobcone pines that quickly repopulated the land. Four years later, Jane Davenport Jansen purchased more than 40 acres of the nascent thicket, taming it with vineyards planted on the open valley floor. In 1987, she began cultivating a garden along the rocky, steep hillsides, which were pocked with the remains of abandoned rock quarries. Heavy rains and natural infiltration of waters created a group of ponds, creating a serene natural environment that Jansen soon planted with seedlings, flowers, and plants from seeds collected on more than 25 annual Asian expeditions. Until she passed away in 2000, Jansen funded the growth and cultivation of the 25-acre garden, which is now one of the largest collections of scientifically documented, wild-source Asian plants on the continent. Visitors can view the rare plants and vast selection of Asian greenery blossoming from the Glen Ellen countryside as they meander through the gardens during self-led tours.