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Experimental Farm to Botanical Garden

Submitted by on June 12, 2015 – 8:34 amNo Comment

california_sebastopol_burbank-farmVisitors to the Luther Burbank Experiment Farm, 7777 Bodega Avenue, Sebastopol, California (western Sonoma County), can more easily identify its various plants, thanks to new engraved signs that list the common and scientific names for each.

This brings the farm into the same category as the University of California Berkeley and San Francisco botanical gardens.

Although Burbank made his home in Santa Rosa, California, he developed and grew thousands of new hybrids, cross breeds, and selections on his 15-acre Gold Ridge Farm in Sebastopol from 1885 until 1926.

Restored by the efforts of volunteers, the city of Sebastopol, and the Western Sonoma County Historical Society, three acres of the original farm are now the Luther Burbank Experiment Farm, dedicated to preserving, studying, and promoting Burbank’s work.

Burbank introduced more than 800 new varieties of fruit and nut trees, flowers, vegetables, ornamental shrubs, and grains, including the Shasta daisy and the common baking potato.

Previously, plants on the restored farm were marked with aluminum numbers on wooden posts, and visitors looked in a brochure to find the name. Squirrels chewed the signs to sharpen their teeth, and the wooden posts rotted.

The new engraved signs were installed by volunteers, thanks to a grant from The Rotary Club of Sebastopol and with consultation by professor Richard Whitkus of the biology department at Sonoma State University.

Here’s a video about the farm:

(Photo and video courtesy of Western Sonoma County Historical Society)

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