Far Out Flora

CornerStone Chic

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Mark Rios, Cornerstone Sonoma, CA

Mark Rios, Cornerstone Sonoma, CA

Everybody has their special spot to wet their creative juices.  CornerStone is one of our Go To places that always pulls us out of a garden rut…and a great stop while heading up to Sonoma CA for a little wine tasting.  CornerStone attracts designers from around the world to install Avant-garde styles into the landscape.  Sitting on 9 acres, their 27 garden plots has something for all.  Oh Bonus! it’s free to visit.

Blue Tree by Claude Cormier

Claude Cormier - Blue Tree

Probably one of most iconic sites at CornerStone has been this large tree covered with blue balls.  Canadian landscape architect, Claude Cormier, installed Blue Tree back in 2004.  The tree was diseased and slated for removal.  Instead of chopping it down, it was covered with 75,000 sky blue balls.  However during our last visit, we couldn’t help notice that the tree has been heavily pruned and basically just a very tall stump at the moment.  We did find some amazing pics of Blue Tree on Claude Cormier’s site if you want to get a taste of how it looked back in the heyday.

CornerStone - Sonoma CA

Topher Delaney - Garden Play

San Francisco artist, Topher Delaney, is behind Garden Play.  This minimalist space plays with shape and scale.  There are a handful of over-sized rope balls sitting amongst a small stand of birch trees.  Great garden to view especially if you can find a moment to have it all to yourself.

Artichoke - Cynara

Artichoke - Cynara

When we were there in June (man…where is summer going?) the Artichokes were going crazy.

Small Tribute to Immigrant Workers by Mario Schjetnan - Cornerstone Sonoma, CA

Small Tribute to Immigrant Workers by Mario Schjetnan - Cornerstone Sonoma, CA

Tucked within Mario Schjetnan’s garden design called Small Tribute to Immigrant Workers, this space was one of our fave artichoke patches.

Artichoke flower - Cynara

Artichoke flower - Cynara

Frankly, I never saw one in flower until seeing them here.  Who knew that artichoke blooms were immense…were talking as big as your head huge.

Smoke Bush - Cotinus species

Smoke Bush - Cotinus species

Here’s a gorgeous ornamental that is an eye catcher, Cotinus…aka the Smoke Bush.  I’m not sure how well it would do in our foggy garden.  I seem to only recall them going in a little more heated areas.  I see that Rancho Reubidoux has a great photo of Cotinus.  Anybody have one growing in your garden?

Daisy Border by Ken Smith

Daisy Border by Ken Smith

As Blue Tree is coming to the end of its life, this garden installation is rising on our charts.  Daisy Border is the conception of Ken Smith.  Filled with a ton of daisy like windmills, it creates a fun play on wind and light bouncing off the blades.  Want some more CornerStone Garden action?  My Back 40 (Feet) has some amazing pics of the installations and some of the shops there too.

– Far Out Flora

7 Comments

  1. We went and visited this week too and it was just right…I needed the inspiration. Beautiful pics!

    I have had grown Cotinus in hotter summer climates than yours in the Outer Sunset–I love it, and I had started to wonder if I wasn’t too reliant on it as a designer–it’s just hard to beat. I think you’d have a harder time with a hybrid like ‘Grace’ than you would with just the straight species, as Grace is crossed with C. obovatus. I believe C. obovatus wouldn’t be showy in the cool fog at all, but C. coggyria would be a better bet–even if it doesn’t flower profusely, it would still be a great form and texture in your garden.

    • Nice info Kristin. Yeah, I thought that it may need a little heat. Glad you were up in CornerStone. We really do love that place. I think it was the big blue chairs and the blue tree that caught our attention the first time we made it up to Sonoma. Chat soon. Matti

  2. Very cool!

  3. I’ve seen pics of this place online, it’s awesome you live close enough to visit… I’m green with envy! Love the hipstamatics, too … I’m inspired!

  4. Hey was that your house in the Sunset Magazine Sept. looked
    like your new place & your plant collection ?
    Nice.

  5. i love the rock wall at cornerstone… simple and perfect for almost any landscape.

  6. That smoke tree is really cool! And artichoke plants are very interesting and I love the blooms. Very pretty color. Looks like a great place to visit, thanks for taking us.

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