Saturday, June 4, 2016

Palo Alto's Secret Garden

Tucked away from the rest of Stanford University's main tourist attractions, an eccentric and whimsical garden sits on the far northern tip of campus. Surrounded by a grove of oak and eucalyptus trees, its densely tangled prickly pear plants and towering yucca trees stand out starkly to passersby, leaving many curious about how a plot of land straight out of the Sonoran desert came to exist just yards away from the Stanford Mausoleum. Unbeknownst to many students and visitors, the Arizona Cactus Garden is one of Stanford's oldest living attractions, with roots reaching back to the late 1800s. Boasting over 17,000 square feet of green space, the quadrilaterally symmetrical and American West-inspired garden was designed by acclaimed landscape gardener Rudolph Ulrich between 1881 and 1883. The Arizona Garden was an unusual sight even by the standards of its time in the Gilded Age, a period that was marked by ostentatious wealth. In its heyday, it included thousands of varieties of cacti and succulents that rarely, if ever, grew naturally in the Bay Area. More

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