Staying at the inn includes wandering through the gardens, recognizing plants you may have seen in your grandparents' garden, and discovering varieties you've not seen before. Be sure to note the Northern California native plants first planted by the Gold Rush Locke family.
The most vivid memory of my first visit to the Locke House is of the gardens. I could not believe the beauty and variety of the flowers, shrubs and trees that surround the grand old house.
Kay Thorp began the renewal and expansion of the Locke House gardens in the 1960s. Her goal was to preserve the heirloom flowers, trees and shrubbery, while incorporating plants that caught her fancy. She grew vegetables, fruit and herbs and shared many seedlings with fellow gardeners. Kay lived with us during the first five years of the restoration. During that time she gifted us with her love of gardening and passion for the heritage plants on the property.
Now for us, every season in the gardens is a revelation. Papery white Matilija poppies, delicate pink ancient peonies, rose campion, geraniums of many hues and scents, calla lilies, dahlias, four o'clocks, feverfew, English daisies, gladiolas, iris and roses of all hues are only a few of the floral treasures that delight the eye during the unfolding of the year.
An assortment of evergreens, native and ornamental trees such as Canary Island pine, Fremontia, Italian cypress, blue oaks, valley oaks, locust, and dogwood provide shady spots to sit and view the changing landscape.
Exotic, flowering, fragrant trees and shrubbery evoke images of 19th century girls cutting branches to weave flower crowns for their hair.
In addition to some vegetables, we cultivate edible flowers and herbs, walnuts, almonds, figs, persimmons, oranges, lemons, Meyer lemons, grapefruit, apples and grapes for use in our recipes.