With the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe displaying its quiet splendor mere blocks away, the artifice and forced glamor of the casinos just on the Nevada side of the border are set in stronger contrast than I’ve ever seen elsewhere. At least in Las Vegas, you’re so surrounded by casinos and flashing lights that it’s […]
As a second-cousin-thrice-removed (or some such) of Luther Burbank’s, it’s possible I’m a little biased when it comes to the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens in Santa Rosa. The connection is distant enough — and my own connection to that connection is weak enough, as you can tell from my utter lack of certainty of how exactly we’re related — that I doubt it’s to blame. But having also been to the Heirloom Expo, no reason not to stop by Luther’s House.
In case you’re not familiar with him, Luther Burbank was a horticulturist who developed nearly a thousand new plant varieties in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In fact, he’s responsible for creating the Russet Burbank potato, which you may not recognize by name but would doubtless recognize by sight, as they’re the most common potato in North America.
His former home is located in Santa Rosa. These days, it’s open to the public for tours, as are the surrounding gardens. In those gardens (which honestly are the more interesting part, unless you’re particularly fascinated by the history aspect) grow dozens of plants he bred, including a lovely assortment of roses. Don’t trust what anyone says about the spineless cactus, though. It isn’t worth testing the name.
With all the current controversy surrounding GMOs, it’s fascinating (no matter which side you fall on) to take a step back into a more wholesome and simpler time of agricultural enhancement.