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Nurseries to Gardens, a Sonoma County Curated Tour

  • May 20, 2023
  • 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Sonoma County
  • 0


  • Current CGLHS Members may register one guest at the member rate.
  • Available to the general public

Registration is closed

Hidden Forest Nursery

Western Hills Pond with Rowboat. Photo by Hadley Dynak, Western Hills Garden

*Please note that tickets for this event have sold out but you may join the waitlist. Questions? Email organizer Janet at

Visit iconic gardens that are being restored for long-term sustainability

Sonoma County has two fantastic gardens that are transitioning from historic nurseries to gardens. Each property has extensive collections of unusual plants and have been influential nurseries. The California Garden and Landscape History Society will visit them on Saturday, May 20th, 2023.


  • 10:00 - Meet at Western Hills Garden for check-in and coffee, followed by a talk and tour. 
  • 12:00 - Lunch in the Western Hills picnic area - a light lunch will be provided for registrants
  • 1:00 - Drive to Hidden Forest Nursery
  • 1:45 - Hidden Forest talk and tour
  • 3:15 - End of the event 

Western Hills Garden, located outside Occidental, was founded in 1959 by the renowned horticulturalists Lester Hawkins and Marshall Olbrich. The property has a long and rich history as a nursery and was purchased in 2021 by Hadley Dynak and Kent Strader who are running it as a nonprofit public garden.

Hadley will share an overview of the nursery history, then we’ll spend some time exploring the extensive grounds and the collection of unusual plants. The garden is currently only open to the public for limited hours. This program is a great opportunity to visit this singular place. 

Hidden Forest Nursery, formerly Sonoma Horticultural Nursery, is in Southern Sebastopol. Mike Boss purchased the property in 2017 from a real estate developer, thereby keeping it open to the public. He will greet us and give us an overview of what makes the place special.

The nursery and garden were started in 1964. Over the 7.5-acre property, the large nursery is set in an arboretum-like forest and houses a charming lake, a creek, a wetland and many uncommon trees and shrubsincluding a large collection of Dawn Redwoods, Magnolias, and one of the largest Chinese Swamp Cypresses in the country. Mike is currently introducing long-lived edible plants and he continues to feature a great selection of shade-loving plants, available for purchase.

Please join us while we hear about the history of these wonderful gardens and plans for their preservation. CGLHS will be sharing the profit from the day with each garden. 

Additional information about the garden may be found at:


Please bring a water bottle - we can refill it for you. Surfaces will be uneven. Please carpool if possible. 

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