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University of California
Capitol Corridor

Spring at The Gardens at Heather Farm

During my teenage years, the head lifeguard at the pool that I volunteered at, used to bring a group of us teenagers to picnic and swim at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek each summer.  As such, I have always associated Heather Farm with those memories, not realizing that Heather Farm also included a beautiful 6-acre garden, which I had the pleasure of visiting recently.

Like The Ruth Bancroft Garden that I blogged about recently (also in Walnut Creek, just minutes from The Gardens at Heather Farm), Heather Farm Park and The Gardens at Heather Farm were named after the original ranch located on the very site, and fancifully, the ranch owners' prized race horse, King Heather.  There are 20+ gardens of varying sizes and themes in all, managed completely without the use of pesticides.  To give you an idea as to what you should expect to see and experience, the following is a list of gardens/plots on site: The Ruth Howard Entrance Garden, Native Plant Garden, Diablo Ascent Garden, Tree Grove, Ash Tree Alley, Stroll Garden, Meadow Garden, Heritage Garden, Mother’s Garden, Black Pine Garden, Ward Garden, Cowden Rose Garden, Waterfall Garden, Rockery, Butterfly Garden, Mural Garden, Children’s Garden, Riparian Garden, Water Conservation Garden, Sensory Garden, and the Blue Star Memorial Garden.

Some highlights of The Gardens include the very beautiful and showy Cowden Rose Garden that takes center stage the moment you enter The Gardens (Tip: now is a great time when everything is in bloom!).  Equally beautiful, but more understated, is the shade garden.  There is a section for California native plants, a tree grove, and a small patch which integrates edible plants with ornamentals—always one of my perennial favorites.

With how beautiful and well-maintained The Gardens is, it is hard to believe that the grounds are managed by a volunteer-based nonprofit employing a small part-time staff.  It would seem that an army would be necessary to maintain the site as well as they do.  

Now is a wonderful time to visit as most everything appears to be in bloom. So on one of those warm afternoons where you are at a loss for ideas of what to do, where to go, consider packing a picnic lunch and visiting The Gardens at Heather located at 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek, California.  For more information, see http://gardenshf.org/.   

photos by Betty Homer
photos by Betty Homer

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Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Comments:

1.
Thank you Betty for this wonderful post about GHF. As the Garden Director, I am one of the very few staff that is lucky to have an army of volunteers to help me maintain the gardens, especially in the organic rose garden. I would also like to thank you for recognizing us as a separate entity from the city run Heather Farm Park as most people think we are a city funded organization.

Posted by patrice hanlon on May 19, 2013 at 3:21 PM

2.
When I was a year out of active/Reserve Marines I worked at A nursery I Walnut Creek and met a wonderful man whom introduced me to the Landscaping industry but first as a Gardener and later a designer ... His name was Bob Cowden... if ever there was a wonderful community in Walnut Creek and environs it was the Diablo Valley. My time with Bob was extraordinary... he always laughed and the whole time with him in the nurseries was an education in and of itself! Another American Warrior was Vito Bertoldo! A Medal of Honor USA Soldier in Bastongue (sp?)  
He picked me up from the nursery and we worked together as Landscape Contractors (me later) but all of wha I learned about the garden we’re from those two great friends... any time you would like some of Bob or Vitos wonderful learning for a kid getting into this... call me  
I’m in Colfax,CA but grew up in Walnut Creek and never looked back!

Posted by David Selvy on June 8, 2021 at 7:53 PM

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