Sunday, June 29, 2008

Visit & Volunteer: Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden

ABSTRACT: Welcome to the Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden adjacent to the National Register of Historic Places Flanders Mansion in Mission Trail Nature Preserve. The Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden brochure is transcribed, including the following sections; Lester Rowntree (1878-1978), The Garden, Be a Volunteeer/Donor and Directions to the Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden. MORE INFORMATION, including information from the California Native Plant Society Monterey Bay Chapter and a hyperlink to the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) Website, is provided.

Gate to the Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden

Clope-Up View of Gate

Birdbath Garden, Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden

Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden
25800 Hatton Road
Carmel, California

Lester Rowntree 1879-1979
Gertrude Ellen Lester Rowntree, a long-time Carmel resident, was a renowned lecturer, naturalist, and gardener. She fell in love with the native plants when she immigrated to southern California from Penrith England in 1887 with her Quaker family, the Edward Lesters. Her extensive writings, field notes, and photographs are in the archives of the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and in the Bancroft Library in Berkeley. Her two books published in the 1930’s are classics.

Lester’s famous Carmel Highlands garden was a testing ground for the seeds and cuttings of natives that she collected throughout California. She traveled by burro and jalopy, hiking and camping. Her success in propagating and adapting these plants have made a tremendous impact on the cultivated garden.

Lester’s son Cedric, with his wife Harriette, carried on the Rowntree passion for preserving the environment. In 1980, after Lester’s death at the age of 100, the California Native Plant Society, using funds given in Lester’s honor, created this small native plant garden.

Harriette and Cedric were instrumental in the funding and maintenance of the Garden and Harriette was particularly active, keeping her loyal volunteers jumping.

The Garden
The Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden was created to display for public enjoyment California native trees, shrubs, and plants that are adaptable to cultivated gardens. This garden enhances the natural beauty of the area while maintaining its quiet woodland character.

The gate on your left as your enter from Hatton Road was forged by John Hudson and designed by Annette Corcoran, one of our talented volunteers. The Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club generously donated funds for this project. The dedication of the gate was held in 1992. As you pass through the gate, on your right is a small birdbath garden attracting chickadees, juncos, hummingbirds, and many other birds. Elsa Uppman Knoll, a renowned horticulturist and editor at Sunset magazine, volunteered her time and expertise to help create this special area.

Although just over an acre, this garden contains a great variety of California native plants. Mature trees and shrubs are the backbone, with annuals, perennials, bulbs and succulents displaying in spring and early summer. A special bulb garden brightens the paths towards the house. Arctostaphylos and Ceanothus are well represented with many species and cultivars. Over 100 informative plant labels are in place throughout the garden.

In any season visitors can enjoy beautiful vistas towards the Carmel Mission and Point Lobos. Numerous benches and easy walking trails add to the pleasure of this tranquil garden.

Be a Volunteer/Donor
The 1+ acre Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden belongs to the city of Carmel, and is supported by the City in many ways. The Garden is also one of the activities of the Monterey Chapter of California Native Plant Society. Volunteers do the planning and planting.

New volunteers are very important to our small group of native plant enthusiasts. If you have one day a month to work and learn about California natives we would like to welcome you.

Please call and get acquainted:
Gary Girard (831) 625-1098
Marge Adams (831) 624-3386

Directions to the Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden
Flanders House is to the southwest of the Garden. It was built by Paul Flanders in 1924, and it is now on the National and State Register of Historic Places. The City of Carmel purchased the house and adjoining 14+ acres in 1972. Part of this property is now the Native Plant Garden.

The Garden is open dawn to dusk everyday.
Come visit!

Mailing Address:
Native Plant Garden
P.O. Box 221033
Carmel, CA. 93922

(Source: Native Plant Garden Brochure, available at the Garden)

California Native Plant Society
Monterey Bay Chapter

Rowntree Garden
"We are a small, dedicated group that has tended an acre plus of land from the City of Carmel as a demonstration garden for California native plants for 25 years. Monthly meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at the home of Connie Stroud, 26407 Carmelo Street, Carmel. Our group is always glad to have new members!"
Call Gary Girard at (831) 625-1098 with questions. Garden workdays on the Saturday following the monthly meeting at the garden.
The garden is located at 28500 Hatton Road, Carmel.

June-August Newsletter

Field Trips of the Monterey Bay Chapter of CNPS

Membership Information

California Native Plant Society (CNPS) Website


Anonymous said...

I have visited recently and it looks like the volunteers are in the process of planting new drought tolerant plants near the birdbath garden, up around the gate entrance area and along the driveway down to the Mansion. Holes are dug and waiting for plants.
The arboretum/native plant garden is a tranquil space to appreciate the quiet and wonder of the out-of-doors. Just sit on a nearby bench and listen to the wind in the trees.

Anonymous said...

We visited the garden on 10/6/13 and many of the plants seemed to be in need of care. The birdbath is full of pine needles and the clover at the base is wilted. I was so tempted to grab one of the hoses and water them. This is such a beautiful setting, it is a shame that many of the plants seemed to be on their last legs.