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Tucked behind a mature vineyard of cabernet sauvignon grapes, just off Highway 12 in Glen Ellen, lies one of the most exotic and biologically diverse places in Sonoma Valley.
Sonoma Botanical Garden is not your typical garden. 25-acres of the property is dedicated to a wild-collected Asian woodland garden, the closest that most people will come to visiting the wilds of Asia and home to one of the largest collections of scientifically documented, wild-sourced Asian plants in North America and Europe. Ancestors of garden favorites like roses, camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias, dogwoods, maples, birches, and lilies, create a living museum of temperate Asian plants, all of which were started from wild-collected seed planted in 1990.
Three Springs Ranch, a 22-acre parcel added to the Garden in 1998, vastly increases the Garden's potential for environmental education and compliments the Asian garden by bringing the mission of conservation home. The native oak savannah and chaparral is a conservation opportunity for both plant and animal species native to California. On top of a multitude of unique species, California is home to some of the same genera that are quintessential to East Asia (maples, roses, rhododendrons, oaks, and more).
These two complimentary plots not only serve as the foundation of Sonoma Botanical Garden's mission but also create a serene, beautiful garden. Gravel paths wind through glades of flowering shrubs, under shading branches of exotic trees, past tranquil ponds, and over and down rolling knolls. Vistas of the Valley take your breath away while hidden benches allow you to take a moment to breath. Although only the Asian woodland is open to the public, it's a place of varying beauty throughout the seasons, a locals’ getaway or easy day trip for walks, hikes, birding, photography, or the perfect picnic spot away from the crowds.