By Nicole Newell, Sustainable Landscaping Manager

It seems like everyone I speak with is facing a fire of some sort in their life. This Sunday I needed a moment of peace in nature to prepare for the week ahead. I took a drive on Highway 12 by myself. There are no words to describe the fire damage to the homes, only emotion. Notes of gratitude for the first responders were all along the road.

I was told about a hidden gem in Sonoma called Quarryhill Botanical Gardens. I decided to visit the gardens located on Highway 12. This sacred space had fire damage surrounding it, yet the gardens survived. In reaction to being spared the
fire destruction, Quarryhill responded in gratitude by opening the gardens to the public free of charge until the end of this year. I was very emotional seeing the fire damage surrounding this 25-acre Asian woodland garden. A mix of emotions; awe at the Fall colors, laughter at the frogs hopping in the pond, tears of serenity at the waterfalls and reverence overlooking the views of the Sonoma Valley.

When I got to the top of the gardens, the prayer flags were surrounded by the fire damage but were not touched by the fire. I spoke with Amy, a young lady working the gift shop. She reminded me that not only did people lose their homes the animals did as well. Quarryhill has become a sanctuary for birds to find food in this area and for people to find tranquility. The prayers survived and this resilient community will rebuild and find peace again.