The Goleta Valley Historical Society completed its Arboretum Restoration Project at Rancho La Patera in 2014. The largest phase included complete restoration of the gardens, trees and pathways surrounding the Stow House.
Rancho La Patera is one of only a few remaining properties in the region that has maintained the ambiance and integrity of a late 19th/early 20th century specimen garden. In recognition of their historical significance the gardens have been nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for Cultural Landscapes.
The gardens adjacent to the Stow family residence reflect the Stow’s passion for interesting horticulture and experimentation, typical of the late 19th century. Drawing from the European model of “display” or specimen garden, Sherman and Ida (Hollister) Stow began their garden collection focused on the exotic and unusual.
Some of the oldest trees in the garden include the “Cow Itch Tree” (Lagunaria), Star Pine (Araucaria heterophylla), Eugenia, Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea chilensis), Bunya-Bunya (Araucaria bidwillii), Spanish Fir (Abies pinsapo), Giant Bamboo, Moreton Bay Chesnut (Castanospermum australe), and Victorian Box (Pittosporum undulatum).
In addition to the exotic collection are the beautiful Coast Live Oaks (Quercus agrifolia) and a single Redwood tree (Sequoia). Now tall and stately, the Redwood began as a mere seedling in a coffee can. The seedling was presented to Ida as a gift from her husband on their first anniversary (1874). Planted outside their bedroom window, it symbolized to her the “growth of their family.”
A Redwood grove was also planted by Edgar Stow in the 1930s as a picnic area at what is now known as Stow Grove Park. Stow Grove currently has 300 Coast Redwood trees, some standing as tall as 130 feet. The two benches seen on Rancho La Patera are made from some of the original Redwoods planted by Mr. Stow. Unfortunately, drought has led to the death of several of these Redwood trees in recent years.
Photos In Slider Generously Provided By: Jocelyn & Spencer Photography
ARBORETUM RESTORATION PROJECT
The Goleta Valley Historical Society completed the first phase of its Arboretum Restoration Project at Rancho La Patera. The first and largest phase included complete restoration of the gardens, trees and pathways surrounding the Stow House.
When the project is completed the ranch will be one of only a few remaining properties in the region that has maintained the ambiance and integrity of a late 19th/early 20th century specimen garden. In recognition of their historical significance the gardens will eventually be eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for cultural landscapes.
The grounds surrounding the Stow House are landscaped with exotic trees from around the world such as palms from South America, Mexico, Asia, and the Canary Islands, as well as Eugenia, Star Pine, and Bunya Bunya trees from Australia.
Several years of meticulous inventory, documentation, and landscape studies were conducted prior to the implementation of the project. Historians Dr. Pamela Post and Timothy Hazeltine and landscape architect Sydney Baumgartner created a plan taking into account the property’s history and significance as well as current and future uses.The studies and
The studies and first phase of the Arboretum Restoration Project have been funded through grants from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment, Hind Foundation, the Goleta Valley Land Trust, the Maria Ealand Fund and individual donations. The Society is grateful for the support and cooperation from the City of Goleta as we continue to fundraise for the remaining phases.
Phase I of the Arboretum Restoration Project was completed by Arroyo Seco Construction, under the supervision of owner, Adam Graham.