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A Salvia Garden in Sonoma

Articles: A Salvia Garden in Sonoma

Decomposed granitic paths are broad and gracious and can accommodate the luxurious, sometimes unruly, growth of the salvias. The only artwork in the garden, a bronze apple, has been placed in this wide path. It is conspicuous in sunlight but almost disappears as early and late shadows fall across it. Photograph by Bart O’Brien
"A sweet land," he muttered, "an almighty sweet land."
Jack London, Burning Daylight, On Sonoma Mountain

In 1961, Willa and Ned Mundell purchased their home on East Napa Street in the town of Sonoma. A few blocks away from their spacious property lies the center of town, where the county courthouse stands in solitary splendor. It is the focal point of the handsome plaza that predates the Mundell house by several years. Around 1850, approximately sixty acres of land was given by General Vallejo, the town's alcalde (mayor), to William Steven Shaw, a well-known Californian who painted portraits of the famous "railroad boys"—Huntington, Stanford, Hopkins, and Crocker. Construction began on the Shaw, now the Mundell, house in 1850 but was not completed for about ten years. Of gracious pro...

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