Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Sunday Morning at Cornerstone

 Cornerstone Sonoma is located on  busy highway 121, a well traveled back road that brings visitors into the wine country and connects Sonoma and Napa County . Cornerstone is a  unique venue, featuring upscale shops with an emphasis on outdoor living, restaurants, wine tasting, art installations, display gardens and event spaces. This year the iconic west coast publication Sunset Magazine moved its' outdoor test kitchen and display gardens to Cornerstone from their campus in Menlo park, a 7 acre site they have occupied since 1951. Though Sunsets' magazine  content has dwindled over the last several years, I still subscribe as I have since the 70's. I could do a whole post on Sunset and its decades long  influence on west coast gardeners .

 Several of the gardens at Cornerstone were removed to make way for both the Sunset test gardens, the large outdoor kitchen space and the event area which has enlarged significantly since the last time I was there. Some of the remaining gardens could use a refresh, and some open areas hinted at new gardens to come.

  John Greenlees' garden has always been one of my favorites, but the morning was overcast and the grasses were not in their magical back-lit mode.

 White Cloud by Andy Cao and Xavier Perot is another I enjoy. It's not  anything I would replicate in my garden, it is in fact an art installation, not a garden per se.. More sun is really needed to view this at it's best.

 The Van Sweden-Sheilah Brady 'Garden of Contrast ' has matured perhaps a bit too much. The Olive trees that were small and ornamental when the garden was newly installed have become large and dense -deep shade is not too far off. The Agaves have grown  and  are starting to overwhelm the space  and I can certainly speak to what happens with Rosemary-it is vigorous in our climate.

 The Raiche-McCrory Garden is a prime example of the Berkeley-East Bay garden style for which I hold unattractive envy. I would have given them twice the space, for this is  another garden that is being overcome by shade.

 The Sunset Gardens were well done, and hopefully set up to evolve. This photo looks from the Cocktail Garden (now we're talkin) into the Edible Garden with it's pavilion anchor. In the foreground is the most gigantic stand of African Blue Basil I have ever seen.

 The compost bin, with Bamboo Muhly (I have murdered this one twice) and Muhlenbergia capillaris.

 Not much chance I would ever have the space for something this cool in my garden .

 The gardens were themed by use--this is the flower test garden.

On the left, a wall of peppermint scented Pelargonium.

 This garden is the Gathering Space , and what great plant combinations are featured here ! I hope this is dynamic; subject to change and redesign.

The test kitchen event space 

Peeking into the wedding prep..