Citrus exhibit, trail opening at Sonoma Botanical Garden

The Sonoma Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen is promoting two new attractions this fall. The garden, which opens Nov. 5, unveils a “stunning” new California trail on a piece of the property that was formerly closed.

Second, SBG is presenting its first indoor botanical exhibit, “From East to Zest,” which will transform the garden’s greenhouse into a cornucopia of living citrus trees.

‘From East to Zest’ is an original, living exhibition that, according to one description of the exhibition, illustrates the ‘colorful journey of citrus around the globe’. “Immersed in scent and color, visitors will learn fun facts as they stroll along, from the myth of the Meyer lemon to the cause of the grapefruit effect.”

Almost all citrus fruits come from Southeast Asia, the description goes on, but are now deeply rooted in American cuisines and cultures. “Imagine Peruvian cuisine without lemons or Mexican cuisine without limes.”

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In 2021, the Sonoma Botanical Garden announced it had a new name and an expanded mission — one that reflects its commitment not only to East Asia’s rare and endangered plants, but also to California’s unique flora.

Both new public displays are the nonprofit organization’s next step in its mission to “connect East with West” at the garden, which has long been home to a 25-acre Asian woodland garden and is now a showcase for California’s unique flora. It’s an opportunity for the public to learn “intriguing stories about plants that have traveled around the world from Asia, like citrus,” garden officials said in a press release.

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“Since the name change, the staff have worked tirelessly to bring the garden to a new level of excellence – in both the Asian and California forests,” said Scot Medbury, executive director of the nonprofit organization, in the press release. “The opening of ‘From East to Zest’ and the California Trail is an exciting next step in the Garden’s journey to celebrate two biodiversity hotspots.”

The new California Trail takes visitors through the southernmost portion of the property, a 22-acre California oak savannah bordering the Asiatic Forest.

The California-facing property was added to the garden in 1998 and is notable for its oak woodland and oak savannah plant communities. Visitors are invited to watch as garden workers use ecological restoration techniques over the next few years to make room for the existing native seed bank to germinate and establish populations throughout the ecosystem, SBG officials said.

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Both the California Trail and the From East to Zest exhibit, which runs November 5 through March 5, are free with regular admission.

The Sonoma Botanical Garden is open Wednesday through Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $12 general, $10 seniors, $8 youth, students and active military. Children under 12 are free. Groups of eight or more should reserve in advance. Located at 12841 Highway 12, Glen Ellen. Call 707-996-3166 or email [email protected]

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